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South Asia Peace Initiative

Cochin Conference Calls for Ending Corruption

India-2008-08-02-Cochin Conference Calls for Ending Corruption

Cochin, India - The Universal Peace Federation of India organized an International Leadership Conference under the theme, “A New Paradigm of Leadership and Good Governance” at the Hotel ABAD Plaza, in Cochin, Kerala, on August 2, 2008.

The conference was honored to have Justice Jacob Benjamin Koshy, the most senior judge of the Kerala High Court and Chairman of the Kerala State Legal Services Authority, as Chief Guest. Justice Koshy delivered a thought-provoking Inaugural Address deploring the spread of corruption in practically every sphere of activity, including political, administrative, judicial, and even religious. The constitution guaranteed equality before the law, but this was observed mainly in the breach. Practices like child labor and untouchability still persist, and there was little equality of opportunity for marginalized groups. He praised the UPF approach, which he felt would be of great importance in training leaders for the challenges of our times, including the need for good governance, poverty eradication, and character development.

Prof. K.V. Thomas, M.L.A. Ernakulam, shared his personal experiences which had encouraged his belief in UPF ideals and stressed the importance of universal belief in a nonsectarian God.

The conference discussed major issues relating to development of a new paradigm of leadership and good governance. It endorsed the principles of enlightened leadership defined in the ancient scriptures of India by Swami Sachidananda Bharathi, Founder of Dharmabharati Ashram:

  • Prarthana (Prayer/spiritual basis)
  • Patna (Self-study/continuous learning)
  • Pravarthan (Action for change/social action)
  • Prabodhana (Teaching/Instructing others)
  • Protsahana (Encouragement/Appreciation of truth, goodness and beauty in others and their work)

It shared the concern expressed by Rev. Abraham Vellamthadathil regarding the erosion of values in systems of governance and suggested that an empowered civil society working in close partnership with government while also closely monitoring its performance was the best solution.

UPF's service projects in various parts of the country, including Kerala, were also deeply appreciated.

The conference agreed on the urgent need to revise and expand education syllabi to incorporate character education as a means to inculcate the values of love, responsibility, respect for diversity, and peaceful means for resolving differences among the youth. It strongly endorsed the UPF emphasis on “the family as a school of love and peace.” It urged the media to fulfill its potential role in peacebuilding and deeply appreciated the basis of peace and good governance as defined by the UPF. It also urged religious and spiritual leaders, civil society leaders, and policy makers to harness the power of religion and spirituality in promoting inclusive development and sustainable peace.

On India's southwest coast, Cochin (also known as Kochi) is growing center of information technology, tourism, and international trade. Successive waves of migration over the course of several millennia have made the area a cultural melting pot.

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