The Official Opening of ACRP’s 8th General Assembly: Unity and Harmony in Asia

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Once more the opening was blessed by a mesmerizing cultural performance displaying the traditional beauty of the “dopo” costumes. After which Dr. Sunggon Kim, the Secretary General of ACRP, welcomed the participants and delegates to the General Assembly and introduced this year’s theme: Unity and Harmony in Asia.

The 8th Assembly of ACRP received congratulatory videos and remarks from prominent religious and civil society leaders: Hon. Swami Suhitanandaji Maharaj, general secretary of Ramakrishna Mission, His Holiness Pope Francis, Hon. Phan Wannamethee, President, World Fellowship of Buddhist, Hon. Dr. Olav Fyske Tveit, General Secretary World Council of Churches, Hon. Dr. Maria Voce, President, FOcolare, Hon. Fethullah Gulen, Founder Fethullah Gulen Movement and Hon. Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary General.

Following the congratulatory address by Hon Dr. William Vendley and a short music presentation.

The keynote presentations started with Dr. Mir Nawaz Khan Marwat, Honorary President, ACRP President, Religions for Peace Pakistan, who described the general assembly as “very appropriate and is currently the need of the time.” Its significance is a powerful symbol of the unity among the religious leaders in Asia and, also, an exemplary expression of how natural diversity enriches human society.”

Reverend Nichino Niwano, President of the Rissho Kosei Kai, WCRP, Japan, expressed his deep feelings confronting the greatness and smallness in the infinite loneliness of a universe so vast that human beings have not companions near to reach for help in case of need. We should realize that hatred only foster hatred. The teachings of Buddhism may help us to break down the circle of hate. Asia with its rich experience could lead the world in this path of peace and this may be its great role in the world leading all sentient beings into peace and deliverance.

Imam Chen Guangyuan, Vice Chairman, CCRP, Chairman China Islamic Association. Also agreed on that fostering a spirit of unity and equality also promotes harmony in the cultural and environment of Asia pacific. Globalization transformed Asia pacific into a community of share destiniews and China’s experience through its history gives to the world an example of coexistence and a helpful platform to shared wisdom and experiences leading to a path of cooperation. In fact, the new leadership of the ACRP will keep the path of cooperation and harmony. The chapter’s jobs, whit its diversity of faiths and experiences shall consolidate this harmony and promote the mutual cooperation, unity and harmony in Asia.

Catholic delegate Most Rev. Boniface Cho Ki San, Bishop, Diocese of Incheon, Korea, with the deep impression of the recent visit of Francisco Pope still a fresh experience, Bishop Boniface saluted all members of the ACRP and expressed that the search for harmony and unity is not limited to the religious statement. It also include the political and social statements. How to make them to overcome the political struggle, territory disputes, economic development and the competitive race for natural resources that can lead to unimaginable consequences to all life in Asia and the planet and the extinction of all of us, could be addressed through interreligious dialogue. We may open our hearts and mind and start a sincere dialogue, enabling a space for goodness, peace and human dignity, asserting the way to peace. It is on the ACRP scope of action, to exhort us to investigate the Asian answers to transform Asia and the world in a place of peace and cooperation. Bishop Boniface Choi Ki-San, D.D. exhorted all the delegates on this general assembly to inquire and investigate “Asian answers” which contextualize our regional and cultural characters.”

In all these efforts, the overarching message of Swami Atmapriyananda, Vice Chancellor of Ramakrishna Mission, touched everybody’s spirit claiming for peace in everyone’s life so the light of peace that this assembly may kindled also may can bring peace and unity into the world.

After this we enjoyed a dazzling presentation of Buddhist dances and traditional drums. Mystic and mesmerizing at the same time, energetic and stimulating, it established the proper atmosphere fort the group photo with the magnificent background of the Songdo Convensia Center.

Songs of Peace was followed by Chair Prof. Dr. M. Din Syamsuddin, Indonesia, address who claim for our attention to the fact that we are living in a new environment and Asia is considered to be the continent of the 21 century. In this context, religion is an important instrument to improve life and destiny of human beings. Therefore, we need an ethical behavior framework, which could be helped by the long history on behavioral ethics in Asia.

Finally, we closed with the detailed financial report by Dr. Sunggon Kim, several reports regarding activities for the 8th Assembly: memberships; the Agenda; the draft Budget; Leadership; the appointment of nominating committees and the recommend list of GB and the candidates of Presidents, Secretary General and Honorary President.