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D.M. Jayaratne: Address to World Summit 2013

I am quite happy to speak to you on the theme of this World Summit “Peace, Security and Human Development.” It is because of my strong belief in peace and security which is essential for the human and economic development of a country.

Sri Lanka gained the long-awaited peace and security recently, under the leadership of H.E. the President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa, after defeating the terrorism which had lasted three decades. Since then, Sri Lanka has become one of the safest places in the region with a rapid economic growth.

As a firm believer and an advocate of religious harmony, I attempted to create in my Gampola constituency a center for all religions to be respected and honored. It is called Ambuluvawa. I wanted people to be able to visualize the ideals of religious harmony and not just talk about it, but actually see it, feel it and touch it.

In this interfaith peace park there is a Buddhist temple, a Christian church, a Hindu kovil, and a Muslim mosque. The houses of worship of the four major world’s religions are there for people to see and experience.

They can enter the holy places and pray, sing, chant, or meditate. When I designed this Ambuluvawa, I made only one gate to the park. I did this on purpose. Everyone, whatever their faith or tradition, must walk through one gate to the park. In other words, our attitude must be to respect all faiths, because they have a common ideal, peace in ourselves and with our neighbors.

Father Moon shares this same vision. In his autobiography, he writes –

“A true life is a life in which we abandon our private desires and live for the public good. This is taught by all major religious leaders, past and present, East and West, whether it be Jesus, Buddha or the Prophet Mohammed.”

Because of UPF’s strong emphasis on interfaith harmony, I was happy to meet Dr. Yong, regional chair of UPF-Asia, in Sri Lanka last year. He later extended to me an invitation to come to this World Summit and I am grateful to him for this.

In conclusion, I would like to express my gratitude to UPF and its members for their commitment to Sri Lanka over the past several decades. UPF has done an outstanding job and has mainly focused on programs for youth, leadership conferences, character education that promotes family values, and international sporting competitions where Sri Lankan athletes have always honored their country on and off the field.

Thank you for allowing me to share my dream with you. Please come to Sri Lanka and visit Ambuluvawa. I am sure that you will never forget it.

For more information about World Summit 2013, click here.