A unique talk on Interfaith Development was organized at the Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidyalaya, Haridwar under the Chairmanship of Dr. Chinmay Pandya, the Pro Vice Chancellor of the university. The chief guest of this talk was Rev. Douglas Leonard from the United States of America who was on a 5 day visit to DSVV.
Rev. Leonard is a minister of the Reformed Church in America (RCA) and the Executive Director of Al Amana Centre, an academy for the study of global Muslim-Christian relations and diplomacy based in the Sultanate of Oman. He serves as an advisor to the Omani government; trains and advises UN negotiators working on cease fire agreements in North Africa and the Middle East about involving religious leaders in mediation processes, constitution-making, community reconciliation, and natural resource negotiations, and most importantly serves on a working group for religion and conflict mitigation for Secretary of State John Kerry.
The talk was an outcome of the Interfaith Covenant organized by the United Nations in 2015 at Jordan where Rev. Leonard and Dr. Pandya first met and were representing America and South Asia respectively. In his talk, Rev. Leonard shared his concern for the increase of the criminal psyche, extremism, corruption, terrorism, diseases etc. on the global platform. “But at the same time”, he said, “there is an increase in the belief in the value systems, in the efforts to gain peace and unity at a global level. In order to give pace to these efforts, it is required that common points of mutual trusts are identified and a way of communication be established between various ideologies. Through this, the humanity can be spared from crisis and peace can prevail.”
During his visit, Prof. Leonard met the Head of All World Gayatri Pariwar (AWGP), H. H. Pranav Pandya Ji and the Managing Trustee Shraddheyaa Shail Jiji and observed closely the activities of Shantikunj and AWGP. He hailed the austere life of Pt. Shri Ram Sharma Acharya and the movements run by AWGP. He said that the efforts of AWGP are reformatory especially because of their work in Women Empowerment and in promoting & practicing Scientific Spirituality.
During the talk, the faculty members of DSVV very curiously asked important questions related to the work being done by Rev. Leonard. Dr. Chinmay Pandya said that this is an important mile stone in the history of DSVV as it got the opportunity to host Rev. Douglas during his first visit to India. He also conveyed that the visit of Rev. Douglas proves that in spite of all the difference that various cultures and religions of the nation carry, the ancient thinking of Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam (the world is one family) from the Upanishads is still significantly inspiring people around the globe.