I was privileged to be invited as a keynote speaker at the 1st European Peace Summit at the prestigious newly built European Youth Centre in Budapest, Hungary, from 4 to 7 April, under the theme of ‘Connecting Minds – Unleashing Potential’. Well organised by the World Peace Initiative [WPI], it brought together over 100 delegates from across Europe, with an encouragingly large presence of youth and students.
Plenary sessions, workshops, exercises, meditation and panel discussions examined the theme. Some of the workshops explored the art of hosting in peacebuilding, meditation, inner conflicts transformation, conscious leadership and digital media, with very good ones on ‘Empathy and Consciousness’ and ‘Development and Social Change’.
My theme at the opening plenary was ‘Inner Peace to Global Peace’. Drawing on Hindu and Buddhist references, I defined the former as a “vibrant dynamic state of mind fostering vitality and energy. When fully present, it enables us to live in harmony with oneself and one’s surroundings, and to engage in actions in society.” I then asked: “So, if there is so much violence, turmoil and chaos across the world, how can we attain inner and global peace? The short answer is by love, forgiveness, compassion, tolerance, reconciliation and ongoing non-violent dialogue – such will lead to peace. If only 10% of the world’s people work for a non-violent compassionate society, then a domino-effect momentum will build up for it to happen.” I also shared themes from UfP’s Europe for Peace campaign, arousing much interest and met peace activists from around Europe.
Other key speakers were Jonathan Fritzler of Hawaii [Founder, EducationEnergy.net], Gareth Presch [World Health Innovation Summit] and Buddhist authority Ven. J. Paramai Dhanissaro.
Budapest Peace Summit was a truly inspiring event. I learned that although there is much pessimism around, the energy I encountered among the students and youth was phenomenal. They are so passionate to change the world – and will be the leaders of tomorrow. Shanti and I were also much inspired by discovering Budapest as a city rich in history and legend, kings, queens, poets and inventors, at the heart of Central Europe.
My praise to WPI Vice-President Ping Ping Worakate, Summit Coordinator Karolina Mazetyte, European Coordinator Anna Oleshkevych, Digital Strategist Anca Iorgulescu, Communication Manager Alejandra Sevilla and others who helped make the conference a resounding success.
Full Text of V.Mehta speech: www.europeforpeace.org.uk
Vijay Mehta [UfP Chair]