Ohrid, Macedonia—ISKCON’s Minister of Communications, as well as Krishna representatives from Bulgaria and Macedonia, were invited by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia, a small, yet historically significant balkan state north of Greece, to participate in the “World Conference on Dialogue Among Religions and Civilizations,” held October 26-28.
The Conference was attended by almost 300 religious leaders, government officials, and scholars from around the world. Several Catholic Cardinals were in attendance, as were many Orthodox Bishops, and leading Imams from Europe and Asia.
The Conference included plenary sessions on, “There Will Not Be Peace Until There is Peace Between Religions,” and “Religion in Education and Its Role in the Transformation of Society.”
Anuttama Dasa, ISKCON’s Washington, D.C., based Minister of Communications and a member of the Governing Body Commission (GBC), was invited to speak on the second topic, the role of education in social transformation. He shared the panel dais with Catholic and Protestant scholars, as well an officer of USAID, an American government relief agency active in the Balkans.
“The setting of the Conference in the Balkans--historically a center of religious conflict-- as well as the diversity of religions leaders present at this conference, made it unique,” said Anuttama. “It was important for the Vaishnava community to contribute to the dialogue, especially regarding the need for personal transformation in the search for peace among religions and nations.”
Radha Vinode Dasa, and Atmarama Dasa, from Bulgaria and Macedonia, respectively, rounded out the ISKCON contingent. Radha Vinode is Communications Director for Bulgaria, and Atmarama is a philosophy scholar.
The event was organized by the Macedonian government, with support from UNESCO, the World Islamic League, and the World Conference of Religions for Peace. A follow-up event is planned for 2010. Anuttama Dasa was elected to the organizing committee for the 2010 Conference.
Remarks made to the conference by Anuttama can be read here.