Along with representatives of HH The Pope and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Brahmaviharidas Swami, on behalf of HH Mahant Swami Maharaj and the BAPS Hindu Mandir, Abu Dhabi, addressed the Global Interfaith Summit, organized in collaboration by the governments of Italy and the UAE. The Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence of the UAE invited leading global religious leaders of all faiths to the Italian Pavilion at Expo 2020 to mark the International Day of Tolerance. The event was part of the Tolerance and Inclusivity Week at the World Expo.
The UAE launched The International Tolerance Alliance – a unique initiative, like the UN, that aims to bring together religious leaders, governments and people to promote peaceful coexistence. HE Sheikh Nahyan Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE’s Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, delivered the keynote address and expressed that the Interfaith Summit provides vital inspiration and energy to redouble efforts for a world of tolerance and peace. The event featured 10 prominent speakers, videos and the ‘Sallam mina Alemarat’ (Peace from UAE) that was sung by a choir of 219 people representing 150 countries participating at Expo 2020.
In his address, Brahmaviharidas Swami reflected upon Hindu teachings such as ‘Vasudhaiva kutumbakam’ (the world is one family) and ‘Yatra vishvam bhavati eka needam’ (the world is one nest) to explain the importance of interfaith unity. He spoke of the importance of personal transformation in order to achieve global transformation. He highlighted incidents from the life of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, such as Swamishri’s deep friendship with President Abdul Kalam and his universal prayers at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem to explain how interfaith harmony can be a catalyst for global peace.
Other dignitaries present at the event included: Marina Sereni – Italian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; Dr. Muhammad Al Duwaini – Al Azhar Deputy of the Grand Imam; Bishop Paul Hinder – Vicar Apostolic for Southern Arabia; Albrecht Freiherr Von Boeselager – Grand Chancellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Sovereign Order of Malta; Rabbi David Shlomo Rosen KSG CBE – American Jewish Committee’s International Director of Interreligous Affairs; Miguel Angel Moratinos – High Representative for the U.N. Alliance of Civilizations; Surender Singh Kandhari – Chairman, Guru Nanak Darbar Sikh Temple, Dubai; and Imam Yahya Sergio Yahe Pallavicini – President, COREIS (Islamic Religious Community of Italy).