Another little person is born on Earth… He may be white, yellow, or swarthy, but he must be protected from wars, extermination, rabid fanaticism, famine, and destruction.
For him, peace, health, and well-being will be asked from Allah, Christ, Buddha, and other saints – the One Creator, the path to whom is strewn with prayers, wishes, tears of happiness, and sadness in hundreds of the world’s languages.
The understanding of the need to unite efforts in joint actions to create a harmonious world, a world without wars and conflicts has matured precisely in Kazakhstan, whose boundless steppes are silent witnesses to the history of formation, development, transformation, and disappearance of many states with different cultures.
All this rich layer of invaluable heritage, with unique diversity, has genetically affected the Kazakh people. A people who are inherently tolerant.
The Great Silk Road, the embodiment not only of trade, and craftsmanship but also of bold scientific and creative thoughts, gave impetus to the mutual enrichment of cultures, including the promotion of various religions of the world.
Certainly, it is not yet time to talk about the total understanding and harmony of all religions of the world. Along with positive changes, there are cardinal confrontations, non-acceptance of others, and unwillingness of substantive dialog.
Today, Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, as the successor of nomadic civilizations, is associated in the world not only as a city that grew up in the middle of the steppe but also as a recognizable geographical point of the earth, striving to find common points of contact between different cultures.
With its tolerance for more than 130 ethnicities living in Kazakhstan, all the power of Eurasian architecture, high-status events, and a worthy niche in the international community, Astana declares its desire for peace and openness to the world and rightfully deserves the high title of “City of Peace” by UNESCO decision in 1999.
And to this day it is a city that generates positive ideas, the meaning of which finds a place in the heart of every peace-loving person.
Being at the crossroads of Asia and Europe, ancient transport routes, Kazakhstan in the XXI century was destined to once again connect north and south, west and east, to gather and put at the negotiating table representatives of religions who could not imagine that such a thing was possible.
The First Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions is being held in Astana, in the Reception House “Saltanat Sarayy”.
A common prayer to God is offered by representatives of 17 religious confessions at the foot of the symbol of Astana – the “Baiterek” monument.
A Declaration is adopted, with a call for real action and a hope for peace: “…we must strengthen cooperation in promoting spiritual values and a culture of dialogue to provide peace in the new millennium… May our commitments be blessed and may justice, peace, and prosperity be granted to all peoples.”
II Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. According to the project of a famous British architect, the Palace for holding the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions – the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation was built.
The number of participants is growing, there are 29 confessional delegations. The agenda of the event is topical: religious freedom, international security and the role of leaders in strengthening international security, issues of religion and society, and principles of interreligious dialogue.
III Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. The main topic is “The role of religious leaders in building a world based on tolerance, mutual respect, and cooperation.”
Participants – 77 confessional delegations. The result of the Congress was an Appeal that every Citizen of the world can take personally “We appeal to religious and political leaders, public figures, scientists, mass media and the world community with an appeal:… to counteract the destructive use of religions or religious differences for political purposes in order to preserve the unity of society based on respect for legitimate differences..
To show great moral and spiritual strength and true solidarity in the search for just solutions to the economic, financial, social and environmental problems existing in the global world….”.
IV Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions with the topic “Peace and Harmony as the Choice of Mankind”. 85 confessional delegations. The address of Congress has a high spiritual implication, making us, think how fragile our world is: ”
We are worried about chronic wars, ethnic strife, an increase in crime, a manifestation of religious intolerance, and radicalism leading us to violence in different parts of the world.
In respect of our religious traditions, we condemn the threat or any use of force and call all states to make joint efforts for the resolution of these problems through dialogue.
We are convinced the only way to create a secure world is a dialogue based on the principles of mutual respect and understanding, compassion and forgiveness, justice and solidarity, peace and harmony…”
V Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. The topic: “Dialogue of Religious Leaders and Politicians in the Name of Peace and Development”. 80 confessional delegations.
One of the most important points of the Address of the Congress participants is: “… call on the political leaders of all major powers to stop the widening chasm of mistrust in today’s world, stop mutual sanctions and use the mechanisms of the United Nations and other international organizations to resolve contradictions in accordance with international law in the name of establishing peace and safety…”
VI Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. The topic: “Religious Leaders for a Safe World”. 82 confessional delegations.
As in last years, the Declaration convincingly urges to “promote the rapprochement of different civilizations and religions as a basis of human coexistence…
Maintain all the efforts of the world community for suppression of attempts to divide society along religious, racial or ethnic lines…”
VII Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. Mankind has crossed the thin line between life and death – a pandemic that claimed millions of lives on earth.
The topic is relevant: “The role of leaders of world and traditional religions in the spiritual and social development of mankind in the post-pandemic period.”
The tragedy makes us look for new ways of cooperation, and new approaches to the solution of overdue issues, having gathered in Astana more than 100 confessional delegations.
The Declaration adopted at the end of the Congress is imbued with the desire to unite the experience: “We call on all people of faith and goodwill to unite in this difficult time and contribute to ensuring security and harmony in our society – planet Earth… We reaffirm the role of the Republic of Kazakhstan as an authoritative and global center of inter-civilizational, inter-religious, and interfaith dialogue.”
The Congress is over, and the guests have left. Until the next convention… The world is full of new challenges waiting to be solved…
The Palace of Peace and Reconciliation – the Pyramid – is the most stable figure in geometry, in the view of many peoples it is a sacral form connected with the world order, but combined with a strong filling it is a colossal energy that gives direction to mankind.
After each meeting of such different confessions, the walls of the Pyramid absorb the energy of creative power of good and unrestrained desire to act in the name of peace and harmony.
Children’s feet stomp on the steps of the Pyramid, breathless, eyes wide open, listening to the guide about peace, friendship, and harmony and according to the legend at the very center of the Pyramid where positive energy is accumulated, they quietly make their innermost wishes, sincerely believing in their fulfillment. Be happy, Child of man, born on planet Earth!
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The writer is the Director of the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, Kazakhstan
**The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Diplomatic Insight. The organization neither endorses nor assumes any responsibility for the content of this article.