World Peace Summit
The first Peace Summit in Croatia, Sri Swami Madhavananda World Peace Summit and the Message of Mahatma Gandhi, organised by Croatian Union of "Yoga In Daily Life", took place on October 9, 2005 in Croatia's capital Zagreb, in their biggest hall, Vatroslav Lisinski.
The event commenced with the ceremony of lighting "peace–candles", carried out by representatives of several participating religions. His Holiness Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Sri Swami Maheshwarananda, the initiator of the Peace Summit and its guest of honour, was joined in a prayer for peace by the representative of the Zagreb mayor, Mrs. Ljiljana Kuhta Jelicic; Muslim leader, the Imam of Zagreb Mirza Efendija Mesic; representative of the Dalai Lama, His Holiness Lama Shenpen Ripoche; Tao Master Liang-Meng Lin; theologist Mr. Augustin Basic; and His Holiness Sacinandana Swami.
"Peace is one of the most beautiful words in the world, but there are only a few of those who would with their own life testify the striving for world peace. I believe that this Summit will contribute to the strengthening of the understanding of peace, especially to us in politics", said the representative of the Zagreb mayor, Mrs. Ljiljana Kuhta Jelicic, during the opening ceremony. Before the working part of the Summit, deputies read letters of support of Croatian President Mr. Stjepan Mesic, Slovenian President Mr. Janez Drnovsek, the Vice President of India, Mr. Bhairon Singh Shekwat and Premier of South Australia, Mr. Mike Rann. Monsignor David Cappo, the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Adelaide addressed the Summit through a video message.
The first speaker was the Summit patron, His Holiness Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Sri Swami Maheshwarananda, author of the system "Yoga in Daily Life". His Holiness Swamiji began by leading all participants in one minute of silent prayer for all victims of earthquake that had struck Pakistan and India the previous day. "There have never been so many catastrophes following one another. Why? Definitely people are the guilty ones. Millions of people have lost their lives since the Second World War, which means that the wars have never stopped. This is all because of human greed; it is the cause of the destruction of our planet. All these problems can be solved only through education, but not as it is today. We have to learn how to live in balance with nature, in the way our ancestors have lived. With us here today are much-respected scientists and speakers that will speak about world peace, environmental protection, human rights and tolerance. I hope that this Summit will shine through your country like the sun", His Holiness Swamiji accentuated in his speech. He recalled the two great Indian personalities whose wisdom and message of peace have permanently inspired the whole world – Swamiji’s own spiritual Master, His Holiness Sri Swami Madhavananda and India's "great soul" Mahatma Gandhi.
More than 30 speakers from all over Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and India spoke at the Summit on topics of multireligion and multiculture, peace, education, environment and water protection, ecology and sustainable development. They all urged for greater awareness of the need for peace and called upon all people of good will for action and a personal contribution to the state of peace, to whatever extent possible.
During the interval break of the Summit, more than one thousand people gathered in a park in front the Zagreb City Hall for the planting of a Peace Tree. "This tree has been planted as a sign of appreciation towards all Croatian fighters for peace and freedom. I wish that the roots of this peace tree will encompass the entire Earth", said His Holiness Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda. All Summit speakers gathered around the tree, joined by the representative of the Zagreb mayor, Mrs. Ljiljana Kuhta Jelicic, the governors of Varazdin and Medjimurje counties, Mr. Radimir Cacic and Mr. Josip Posavec, the envoys of Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, Mr. Hrvoje Cvitanovic and Mrs. Stefanija Balog, the Ambassador of Republic of Slovenia to Croatia, the Attaché of the Republic of India to Croatia, as well as representatives of the Catholic Church and Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim religions.
The afternoon session of the first Peace Summit in Croatia ended with submission of the Summit Resolution, in which all participants expressed their dedication to the realisation of the values and aims of the Earth Charter and Millennium Development Goals of the UN – respect for life in all its diversity; sustainable ecology; social and economical justice; promotion of the culture of tolerance, non-violence and peace, in accordance with the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi; and an addiction-free society.
This was already the fourth peace conference organised by "Yoga in Daily Life". After Vienna, Sydney, Brno and Zagreb, the next "World Peace Summit" will be held in Ljubljana in 2006, with the main topic being "Ethics in the Service of World Peace".
At the end of the Summit a humanitarian concert with prominent Croatian performers was presented and the entire proceeds were dedicated to the "Union of Civil Victims of the Croatian War of Independence", for purchasing of orthopaedic tools for their members.