An International Conference on ‘Interfaith Harmony for Peace & Freedom’ was organised by Ramakrishna Ashrama, Rajkot on 18 June 2023 as a part of 125th anniversary of Ramakrishna Mission. This event was organised as a prelude to the Parliament of the World’s Religions to be held in Chicago from August 14 to 18, 2023. This was approved as a Pre-Parliament event by the Board of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, Chicago. The programme consisted of speeches by representatives of different faiths, audio-visual presentations etc. The feedback received through feedback forms was excellent. The coverage of the event by the print media was also excellent. About 400 persons from 27 countries participated in the conference.
The conference started with prayers by the followers of 7 faiths, viz. Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism. Chief Guest of the conference Swami Balabhadranandaji Maharaj, Asst. General Secretary of Ramakrishna Math & Ramakrishna Mission inaugurated the event by lighting the lamp. He also delivered the inaugural address.
Shri Nitin Ajmera, Chair of the Board of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, Chicago joined online from USA. He gave information about the upcoming Parliament of the World’s Religions to be held in Chicago. Swami Ishatmananda, Minister-in-charge of Vivekananda Vedanta Society of Chicago from USA also joined online and spoke on ‘Swami Vivekananda and Chicago’.
Representatives of seven faiths delivered their speeches on the theme of the conference ‘Interfaith Harmony for Peace & Freedom’ from the viewpoints of their respective faiths.
- Hinduism by Swami Vedanishthanand, (Designated) Spiritual Head of Centre Vedantique of Geneva, Switzerland
- Islam by Dr. Abdul Sami Bubere, President of World Peace Council (India Chapter), Mumbai
- Christianity by Archbishop Thomas I Macwan, Gandhinagar
- Buddhism by Dr. Varasambodhi Bhikkhu, Vice President of Mahabodhi Society of India, Bodhgaya
- Jainism by Panyas Shri Hrimkarsundar Vijayji Saheb, an eminent Jain Monk, Rajkot
- Sikkhism by Shri Gurdial Singh Khaira, Honorary General Secretary, Historical Gurdwara Nankawadi Singh Sabha, Vadodara
- Zoroastrianism by Ervad Hormuz Dadachanji, Mazdayasni Zoroastrian Priest, Mumbai
Besides this, Swami Guneshananda, Spiritual Director of Ramakrishna Vedanta Centre, Lusaka spoke on Interfaith Harmony and Ramakrishna Mission.