Representing BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, Brahmaviharidas Swami was personally received by HE Dr. Sheikh Khalid Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa (Chairman of the Board of Trustees of King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence) at the European-Bahrain (EU-BAHRAIN) Conference on ‘Broadening the Tent: Freedom of Religion and Belief’ FORB at the Gulf Convention Centre in Bahrain. This was an international conference to discuss current affairs and global challenges faced by different faiths across Europe and worldwide. It also focused upon peaceful coexistence and the way forward. Ambassadors and representatives of all 27 EU countries and 6 GCC countries, as well as scholars and faith leaders participated in presentations, discussions and interactive sessions.
Under the Royal Patronage of His Majesty King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa of The Kingdom of Bahrain, The King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence won global accolades for organizing this first ever conference between the European Union and Bahrain, which will serve as a key driver for religious harmony across Europe and the Gulf region.
On behalf of BAPS, Brahmaviharidas Swami addressed the dignitaries and delegates at the conference on the idea of Religion, Humanity and Harmony. He spoke of celebrating not just the similarities, but also the dissimilarities between different faiths and religions. The Hindu ideal of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – The Whole World is One Family’ inspires us to accept and respect each other despite our differences. He emphasized that just as love helps us humans connect and coexist with birds and animals despite our physical and existential differences, true spiritual love, as revealed by enlightened spiritual leaders like HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj and HH Mahant Swami Maharaj, help us transcend our differences to coexist in harmony. God has created this world not so that we perish in disharmony but so that we flourish in harmony. This message of universal love and global harmony was greatly appreciated by all, especially by HE Dr. Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa and also by the Chairperson of ‘This is Bahrain Society’ Ms Betsy Mathieson, who remarked, “Swamiji’s lecture was a game changer. He gave a completely new perspective. Before his speech, delegates were focused on intellectual commonalities and now the focus has shifted to inspirational human element, heart to heart connectivity.”
Both the Chairman and the Secretary-General of King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence personally guided Brahmaviharidas Swami and the BAPS delegation, which included Dr. Praful Vaidya, Ramesh Patidar and community leaders, through the ‘This is Bahrain’ exhibition which displayed the values of harmony and peaceful coexistence in Bahrain.
On behalf of BAPS, Brahmaviharidas Swami thanked the Chairman and the organizers for holding this path-breaking conference and appreciated the generosity, inclusivity and hospitality extended by the officials and the royal leadership of Bahrain.