President Khatami had important guests in Tehran, this week. The fifth in a series of workshops in Tehran , Oslo and Geneva, this Conference on Religion in A Modern World was the final sum up of dialogue between religious, academic and political leaders from various cultures and religions. Held on October 13-14 in Tehran, this event was assessed as a major breakthrough for the moderate supporters of dialogue, at a time when Americans are still taking aggressive positions against Iran and in light of the up-comming Presidential elections in both the US and Iran.
Kjell Bondevik the former Norwegian Prime Minister, Sadiq Al Mahdi former Prime Minister of Sudan, Kofi Annan the former UNSG, Joseph Deiss the former President of the Switzerland, Lionel Jospin the former Prime Minister of France, Mrs Chandrika Kumaratunga the former President of Sri Lanka , Zlatko Laumdzija the former Prime Minister of Bosnia, Romano Prodi the former Prime Minster of Italy, Mary Robinson the former President of Ireland and Jorge De Sampio the former President of Portugal , Dr Abdullah the former Afghan Foreign Minister ,Professor John Esposito from Georgetown University and the Right Reverend John Chane were all here yesterday and today. Also many other scholars and academicians from different countries attended the Conference.
There was a highly publicised opening ceremony yesterday and many members of the media, Ambassador and high level politicians attended the ceremony. President Khatami mentioned the importance of dialogue as a means to confront radicalism and violence in today's world.
Before the panel began Mr Doaee a former MP and close associate of Mr. Khatami presented him with 65 rose flowers on the occaision of his birthday. The President thanked everyone but insisted that the coincidence was purely incidental.
After the opening ceremony the first session was a Panel on Religion, modernity , globalization and dialogue. Professor Esposito moderated the session while Dr. Deiss and I were the Keynote speakers. Dr Deiss spoke on dialogue as an imperative and the importance of achieving a common understanding and strategy. I spoke on Religion and the Lost Anima in a Globalising World. I stressed on the importance of good governance and sound leadership in today's world. How can leaders who have no peace of mind and heart and cannot transcend to connect with the higher levels of spiritual life, lead and inspire the world for advancment and peace?
There is much more share about the sessions and the dialogues we had on the sidelines. I will try to write more about the event.