The quest for sustainable pathways to development and peace has dominated the trajectory of development thought and practice for over six decades. Soon after the end of colonial rules, with the onset of nation-building, the development community embarked on capital-intensive projects and programmes aimed at modernization and industrialization with the objective of bringing prosperity to humanity that had been impoverished by the devastations of the World War 2. With economic growth as the overriding aim, the development experts then moved on to modernization in the field of agriculture, bringing innovations in technology such as the Green Revolution and the White Revolution, which resulted in enhanced agricultural and dairy productions saving millions from hunger and starvation. Though successful to some extent, the gap between the rich and the poor continued unabated. Youth from rural areas migrated to urban settlements resulting in break-down of social cohesion. The analysis of these measures moved the development community towards more direct attempts made at poverty alleviation and participatory development involving community action. Many lessons were learnt, some improvements were made. Yet the stark reality of development was that in spite of all methods, approaches, strategies, research and analysis the goal of bringing some level of material prosperity to the vast majority of human beings remained elusive.
It is becoming increasingly clear that passage to the culminating stage in the millennia long process of the organization of the planet as one home for the entire human family cannot be accomplished in a spiritual vacuum. Religion, the Baha'i Scriptures aver, "is the source of illumination, the cause of development and the animating impulse of all human advancement" and "has been the basis of all civilization and progress in the history of mankind." It is the source of meaning and hope for the vast majority of the planet's inhabitants, and it has a limitless power to inspire sacrifice, change and long-term commitment in its followers. It is, therefore, inconceivable that a peaceful and prosperous global society - a society which nourishes a spectacular diversity of cultures and nations - can be established and sustained without directly and substantively involving the world's great religions in its design and support.
Moving Beyond Religious Co-existence – Towards an Inclusive, Transformed Society
A report of the 6th International Interfaith Conference of CMS – August 2016
The participants of the 6th International Interfaith Conference, gathered in City Montessori School, Lucknow, from 11-13 August 2016 and focused their deliberations on four themes in order to contribute to the burgeoning discourse on the role of religion in the establishment of inclusive, transformed societies:
Distinguished speakers shared their thoughts at the inaugural and during the twelve sessions of the conference. They included among others Hon’ble Minister for Minority Affairs of the State of Uttar Pradesh, Jinab Azam Khan, Hon’ble Justice (Dr.) Adel Omar Sherif, the Deputy Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court of Egypt and the Chief Advisor of the Conference, Hon’ble Justice Graciela J. Dixon, Former Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Justice, Panama, Ambassador Michel De Salaberry, Former Ambassador, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Canada; Ambassador Ashok Sajjanhar, Former Ambassador, Indian Foreign Service, India; Prof. Amitabh Kundu, Former member, National Statistical Commission of the Government of India, Padamshree Dr. Janak Palta McGiliigan, Social Worker, Indore, India, Mrs. Zena Sorabjee, Vice-Chairperson, National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahais of India; Ms Naznene Rowhani, Member, National Assembly of the Bahais of India, Ms Jannatual Maoa, Department of World Religions and Culture, Dhaka University, Bangladesh; Ms Hadiseh Bateni, from Iran; Dr Jagdish Gandhi and Dr Bharti Gandhi, the Founders of City Montessori School, Lucknow, CMS President and COO, Professor Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, and several others whose wisdom and sagacity made the deliberations extremely fruitful. Student animators from various branches of CMS as well as teachers coordinating Face to Faith activities made presentations.
First of all we wish to congratulate Mrs Aditi Sharma for organizing the International Interfaith Conference for bringing unity of religions with a view to create permanent cordiality and understanding between people of different faiths.
It is puzzling and paradoxical that religion – whose whole existence is meant to promote care for others – has become today one of the most formidable obstacles to peace because it is now identified as an important source of unrest and violence in the world.
As believers, we all have an opportunity and moral obligation to recognize our spiritual common ground; to rise above our differences; to combat prejudice and intolerance.
It is with great pleasure that I am sending out this message, on the occasion of hosting the 7th International Interfaith Conference (IIC), on the “Role of Religion in Development”, by the City Montessori School, Lucknow.
We take great pleasure in inviting you to participate in the 7th International Interfaith Conference, 2017 on The Role of Religion in Development being organized by City Montessori School, Asharfabad Campus, Lucknow, India from 12th August 2017 to 14th August 2017
We take immense pleasure in inviting you to participate in the 7th InternationalInterfaith Conference, 2017 on The Role of Religion in Development being organized by CMS, Asharfabad Campus and Head Office, Lucknow, India from 12th August 2017 to 14th August 2017
The changes taking place in every aspect of life on this planet are such that no previous era has ever witnessed. Hitherto undreamt of possibilities are becoming the basic requirements of life today. These changes and crises afflicting the world arise out of humanity’s collective growth.
Students of CMS Asharfabad Campus will present a cultural programme in the evening in honour of all eminent guests.
Conference consultations on the above themes.
Conference consultations on the above themes.
Dr. Dr. h.c. Adel Omar Sherif is the Deputy Chief Justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt and a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at Dedman School of Law, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. He also serves as a Vice President of the International Judicial Academy in Washington, D.C. USA.
Ms Zena Sorabjee currently serves as the Vice-Chairperson of the elected Governing Body of the two million strong Bahá'ís community.She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Barli Development Institute for Rural Women in Madhya Pradesh.
Geeta Gandhi Kingdon is Professor at the Institute of Education, University College London, where she holdstheChair of Education Economics and International Development. Prior to this, she was Research Fellow for 11 years at the Department of Economics, University of Oxford.
Nathan Brown received his B.A. in political science from the University of Chicago and his M.A. and Ph.D. in politics and Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University. He teaches courses on Middle Eastern politics, as well as more general courses on comparative politics and international relations.
Since 6/2015, Siraj Khan is Country Manager, Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law. Before 2015, he served there as a Research Fellow.
From 2011 to 2013, he served as Board Member – Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, SLCC, Scotland (United Kingdom)
Graduate of University of Cape Town (UCT) and holds Phd in Economics from Simon Fraser University, Canada. He taught at UCT for over 18 Years and was Professor of Economics at UCT before joining Standard Bank as Group Chief Economist in 2000.
Tahirih Danesh is a Human Rights Researcher and Documenter specialising in the case of minorities in Iran and women throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
Muin Afnani, along with his wife Soheila and their children live in northern California.
His professional career is in the field of Electronics Engineering with graduate studies and years of management focused on Semiconductor technology and Nano-technology development.
Ambassador Ashok Sajjanhar, a Postgraduate in Physics from Delhi University and a career diplomat, has served as Ambassador of India to Kazakhstan, Sweden and Latvia.
A social worker, social scientist and a committed environmentalist has served more than 1000 rural communities of India for more than last 31 years.
Tahir Mahmood is an Indian legal scholar and author of a large number of books frequently cited in the judgments of the Supreme Court of India and numerous High Courts. He had his higher legal education in Aligarh and London and has over fifty years of academic experience.
Dr. John Dayal is one of India’s foremost voices on human rights and particularly the situation of religious minorities. He is a member of several governmental bodies, including the National Integration Council.
Since 1996 Farida Vahedi has been focusing on the empowerment of youth and women for social transformation and community building through formal educational institutions, development organizations as well as in neighbourhoods and communities in both urban and rural settings.