On Friday 16 June 2000, H.E. George Sampaiao, President of the Republic of Portugal, received HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj at Palacio De Belem in Lisboa, Portugal. His Excellency, who is also at present the President of 'The European Economic Community' flew in specially from Espinho to meet Swamishri. His Excellency felt honored to meet Pramukh Swami Maharaj and was apprised of the socio-cultural and spiritual activities of the organization. The President was very pleased with the fact that Swamiji has inspired thousands to live a drug-free, violence-free, crime-free, honest life charged with the spirit of selfless service, dedication, devotion and discipline.
The President said that Portugal is a country which is pluralistic and respects and welcomes people from all faiths and ethnic groups. He added, "I am very happy that you have come here. You have my hearty good wishes in your efforts for peace and harmony."
The meeting lasted for half an hour. The President was very pleased to know of the Shree Swaminarayan Mandir, London, which is a wonder of the world. His Excellency was keen to learn of our socio-spiritual and cultural activities in Lisboa.
Swamishri prayed for peace, harmony and solidarity to prevail in Portugal. He also blessed the President for good health so that he could serve the nation for many years to come.
The President was accompanied by his Diplomatic and Cultural Advisor during the meeting. The Diplomatic Advisor, Carlos Pereira Marques said: "Pramukh Swami Maharaj is a delightful personality. He speaks very few words but his presence radiates divine feelings."