5th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in Kazakhstan 

Dialogue of Religious Leaders and Politicians for Peace and Development at the 5th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in Kazakhstan.

Today Astana is not merely a representation of exquisite architecture, but a cultural and intellectual center of Eurasia, as Kazakhstan has become a symbol of independence and a global success of a young republic in a very short period of time. Over the last couple of years the international community has been largely focused on Kazakhstan, since various forums, congresses and events of international importance like OSCE, SCO and OIC summits are held in the country. The capital has friendly ties with more than twenty cities in the world and was awarded the UNESCO “City of Peace” prize in 1999. In 2011, it hosted participants and guests of the 7th Asian Winter Games and currently is among the favorites in the competition for hosting the International EXPO-2017 exhibition.

Among others, at the initiative of the President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Astana hosts an important event: the Congress of Leaders of the World and Traditional Religions, the participants of which demonstrate that dialogue, mutual understanding and respect are a powerful creative force capable of ensuring the well-being and peaceful coexistence of people of different cultures and religions. Dialogue of Religious Leaders and Politicians for Peace and Development was the theme of the fifth congress held on 10-11th June, 2015. The growing importance of the forum has been proven by the confirmed participation of 80 delegations from 42 countries. There were two plenary and four breakout sessions held with the participation of leaders. Throughout the framework, the President of Kazakhstan had an official meeting with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The session was accompanied by speeches delivered by H.E. Mr. N. Al-Nasser, the UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, Metropolitan of Minsk and Zaslavsky, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus Paul, OSCE Secretary General L. Zannier, the Bishop of Bedford, representative of the Anglican Church R. Atkinson, Managing Director of the Association of Shinto Shrines “Jinja Honcho” T. Terai, the ISESCO Director General A. O. Altwaijri, the President Bishop of World Lutheran Federation Dr. M. Younan and many others.

“Another step has been taken towards each other, towards mutual understanding of the crucial importance that peace and harmony among religions, nations and countries carries,” said President Nazarbayev. “Honest dialogue on the interaction of religions and their role in global development has been continued. A deep, shared interest in cooperation for the stability and security in the world community has been demonstrated. The Declaration of the Congress, reflecting common or similar approaches of all the participants toward the issues regarding our existence on earth, has been agreed and adopted. Although said in different languages and deriving from different traditions, substantially, a common prayer could be heard for two days from the capital of Kazakhstan: for peace, harmony, justice, forgiveness and love towards our neighbors.”

In his speech, the President paid attention to the participation of Jordan’s King Abdullah II in the meeting, and the consonance of the “Amman Message” initiated by him, as well as the importance of the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions serving as platforms for the development of a constructive dialogue between civilizations and religions. The President of Kazakhstan thanked all the participants for the fruitful work of the Congress.

“I express my gratitude to all the ministers of different religions, because in your appeals to God, you asked about the prosperity and happiness of our Kazakhstan. I sincerely appreciate all the secular guests of the Congress - politicians, public figures, experts and journalists - for their invaluable contribution to its success and the promotion of our ideas,” President Nazarbayev told the Congress. “There is nothing stronger than the truth, which unites faith and reason. Congresses of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions are held in the format of a dialogue between religious leaders and politicians. Hence, we strive to ensure that the force of morality and spirituality strengthens righteousness of actions in matters of peace and harmony between people. I urge all members of the Congress to bring this good and peaceful atmosphere to your followers and adherents.”

The Head of State stressed that the 5th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions once again clearly demonstrated the relevance and increased demand for a global dialogue.

“The word and speech, communication and dialogue is a divine gift to humankind. And it is our duty to make full use of its power in peacekeeping and resolution. Today, at the fifth Congress we took another step towards an era of universal peace and consideration, justice and spiritual harmony. We have proved that in the period of global distrust, only through talking to each other, can we find hope and confidence in the future,” said the President of Kazakhstan.

He also noted the importance of encouraging people to promote dialogue among religions and cultures. In this regard, the Head of State proposed to establish a prize “For contribution to the development and strengthening of spiritual peace and harmony” and that it could be awarded at the decision of the Board of religious leaders and presented at the plenary sessions of the Congress. Furthermore, the President stressed that the work of this two-day Congress has enriched the world with the hope to avoid the development of worse scenarios, with faith in the wisdom and responsibility of Mankind.

“Our Congress has a rich history. We have accumulated solid experience in direct dialogue. We have established a tradition of dialogue and mutual understanding. Other sites of interaction of religions and civilizations are being formed. Therefore, I propose the creation of a Museum of Peace and Accord in Astana. Such a good attitude to the history of our congresses, generalizing the experience of consolidated decisions on issues of human development, will be important for the strengthening of peace and mutual understanding among religions and peoples. The Museum of Peace and Accord will be, at the same time, a scientific institution under the Congress, studying the history of dialogue between religions and cultures,” – said President Nazabayev.

In his concluding speech, the Chairman of the Senate Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev cited the statement of the President of Kazakhstan N. Nazarbayev: “‘The Congresses have contributed a lot to the fact that the world did not fall into an abyss of “clash of civilizations”’. The balance in the world largely depends on dialogue and harmony between people. Therefore, we pose a dialogue of religions, culture of spiritual unity and the accord of the Mankind against hostility and hatred on religious grounds. And let good luck be with us in this noble cause,” said the Chairman.

22 October 2015 22:37