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J. Birdi: Address to 32nd International Leadership Conference

Address to 32nd International Leadership Conference, Seoul, Korea, August 26–29, 2018


Peace, Development and the Role of Religious Leaders

By Jatinder Birdi, Chairperson, Warwick District Faiths Forum, United Kingdom

Dearly Respected Leaders,

I am truly humbled and honoured to be with you all at this very important International Leadership Conference, arranged by the Universal Peace Federation which is doing a phenomenal amount of work to bring peace to the world. I would like to convey the Sikh greeting to all of you: “Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ke Fateh.”

True peace and development can only be achieved if we all work towards this goal. This cannot be achieved by only a few people. Everyone has a crucial role to perform, including parliamentarians, and religious and faith leaders. This is due to the fact that people look up to them for guidance, advice and support.

If we see our children fighting or arguing amongst themselves, then we as parents are saddened and wish for them to settle and resolve their issues. If we see our property get damaged or destroyed, we are saddened. God has created all beings, including human beings, so if we hurt each other, will God be pleased with us? God has created the Earth and nature for our nourishment and wellbeing and for our very lives. If we damage this, will God be pleased with us?

We have a duty as human beings to look after and respect each other. Society makes us find differences in each other and say that we are different! Are we? We all have two eyes, two hands, two legs, etc. However, it is our choice as to what good or bad deeds we do with these. We have all travelled here, despite everyone being so busy, from all over the world because we believe that having peace in the world is so important. How different are we to each other?

Religious and faith leaders have a responsibility to tackle and raise awareness of the issues within society and it is necessary for them to talk about and condemn all types of abuse whether it be domestic abuse and violence, forced marriage, alcohol, drugs, knife or gun crimes, to mention a few.

If religious and faith leaders are seen talking to one another, sitting with one another and sharing a meal with one another, then that will have a very positive effect on members of their congregation and also on other people who see this happening. Cooperation amongst religious leaders is very important and has to take place at an international, national and local level for there to be peace at all these levels.

It is very important for peace and development, for religious and faith leaders to engage with all members of their community including young and old, men and women and boys and girls. The children and youth of today have to be involved as they are our future, and the actions we take will determine what society we leave them with. It is necessary for religious and faith leaders to be able to interpret and apply traditions and cultures to ensure that they are appropriate for the society we live in.

I have no authority to request anything, but I would like to pray to Waheguru, the Almighty God, that he continues, as you are already blessed, to bless you to carry on performing the great work that you do and give you the courage and strength to continue and do more for peace and development of society.

Thank you and God bless you all.



To go to the 32nd International Leadership Conference Schedule page, click here.