World Congress of Religions 2012 delivers a Message of Harmony through Religious Amity

Dec 03, 2012, 15:34 ET from World Congress of Religions 2012

The Power of the Interfaith Movement

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- World Congress of Religions 2012 was concluded on 2 December 2012 with a message of peace and harmony for the peoples and nations of the world. Addressed by prominent keynote speakers like Martin Luther King III, Dr. Condoleezza Rice and Congresswoman-elect Tulsi Gabbard, the conference also heard nineteen other respected speakers of different faiths.

Martin Luther King III addressed the World Congress of Religions 2012 as the first Keynote speaker on 30 November 2012 in the Marriott Wardman in Washington DC. Speaking on "Vedanta and Interfaith Teachings" he encouraged the conference to follow the example of Swami Vivekananda, reject violence and adopt peaceful ways to counter anger. He emphasized the importance of literacy of non-violence for any sort of conflict resolution.

The conference was addressed by Dr. Condoleezza Rice, the former Secretary of State the following day. In her keynote speech Dr. Rice offered her thoughts on the role of people of faith in making our world a better place for all. She said, "The forward march of freedom and democracy is a moral issue. Democracy is the enshrinement of freedom, which must include all and must include protection from the tyranny of the majority. It is people of faith who often make sure that none are excluded". Dr. Rice emphasized that "governments cannot directly deliver compassion; that is the work of individuals and communities of faith". She was applauded as an example of a woman's achievement in one of the highest offices in government, as well as in a successful teaching career.

Tulsi Gabbard, the Congresswoman-elect from Hawaii who was also a keynote speaker, underlined the importance of a common effort by people of all faiths and communities to build a harmonious environment for all to share. She said, "The time has come for change. It is up to us, those striving towards the ideal of being servant-leaders in all that we do, to put an end to persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and work towards spreading the all-inclusive message of respect, love, compassion, and service." Her message that politicians should be 'servant leaders' for their constituents and that 'respect, love, compassion, and service' was especially poignant given that she is a war veteran. This statement drew well-deserved applause from the audience.

Dr. Pradip K. Ghosh, the convener of the conference and the main force behind it said, "After hearing from so many intellectuals and sages of diverse beliefs, I am hopeful that world peace can be achieved only with the combined efforts of all of us. While we share our faith with only a small number of people we share the planet with over seven billion human beings, no matter of what denomination". He further stated that, "Swami Vivekananda, whose 150th birth anniversary has bestowed upon us this opportunity, had worked towards this goal over a century ahead of us. He strove and preached extensively for world peace through observance of equal rights for all human beings, eradication of poverty and empowerment of women whom he believed to be at the root of the development of the society. I thank all the speakers for their wisdom and the attendees for making the conference successful".

About World Congress of Religions 2012 (WCR2012):

WCR2012 ( is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. The World Congress of Religions 2012 explored the relevance of religion and spirituality in addressing the critical issues of poverty, the empowerment of women, human rights and peacemaking. The event was inspired by the message of the religious and social visionary, Swami Vivekananda, on the 150th anniversary of his birth. The event was held at Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, 2660 Woodley Road NW, Washington DC 20008, from November 30 to December 02, 2012. For more information, please email or call 410-564-8128.

SOURCE World Congress of Religions 2012