Saturday, November 5, 2011

Recent work in Luxembourg, October 2011

I recently returned from 10 days in Luxembourg.

While there my work transpired in three areas:
  1. I taught a small seminar on principles of conflict mediation 
  2. I met old and new friends and colleagues at diplomatic receptions and hosted events
  3. I taught a seminar on family life 
Here are some images from the Principles of Peace meeting:



Here are some images from meetings at receptions and events:
For these pictures to be meaningful it is necessary to go to this site (http://bit.ly/rKL4H3) to see in the captions the individuals pictured.


And here are images from the Family Life Seminar:




Also, I was blessed with time in the lovely Autumnal woods near the home where I stayed. I posted those images here: http://bit.ly/snEhBl

Friday, August 26, 2011

Wisdom Thinkers reflect on 9/11: Ten years after



is an international network of peace seekers, many at the top of their fields, committed to world change arising from the common ground of perennial wisdom found in the stories of sacred and secular tradition.

In recent years, good efforts have been made to advance the cause of peace through dialogue, but as time passes, the concept of bound communities talking across lines of separation is an insufficient starting point toward the outcome of a peaceful world. Wisdom in stories has proven to be the way to break the deadlock binding dialogue based peace efforts.

On Thursday, September 8, 2011, Wisdom Thinkers Network will sponsor an important conversation in New York, as part of the 92nd Street Y's decennial commemoration of 9/11, a series entitled: Searching For Answers In A Post-9/11 World.

Here is the program for this upcoming event. Please go to the site and register to attend.

Wisdom Thinkers Roundtable

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Clerical pedophilia – The next step

Clerical pedophilia – The next step

These horrors of abuse continue to haunt us with no signs of abating. But is the world of legal settlements sufficient to rescue us from our collective suffering?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Organizational efforts in Berlin

I recently spent a week in Berlin to support the management of a VIP hospitality team, and tend personally to key international guests at a major speech and performance there.


The last photo in the slides is with former President of Albania, Dr. Alfred Moisiu with his daughter Mirela

Christian - Muslim Dialogue in Washington DC

I recently spent an evening in Arlington, VA as the guest of Trac5 board members where I helped moderate a private conversation among American Christian leaders and leaders of the major Muslim and interreligious organizations in America (such as ISNA, IIIT, ICRD, and others).

The conversation was designed for those present to examine how best to respond to dramatic events in North Africa, the Middle East, Pakistan, and elsewhere, in ways that create the greatest likelihood of peaceful and positive directions and outcomes.



The encounter was warm of heart, but penetrating in content.

Video of Detroit Talk

A video of my discourse is at the bottom of this post.

It is a good quality video, but the center section of the address is disrupted by drilling in a part of the temple.

If you can endure the distraction for the minutes the drilling persists, it is possible to follow the talk throughout.



On Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011, I spoke by invitation at the Detroit-based Radha Krishna Ashta Shakthi Mandir on two popular Leelas of Lord Krishna, The Taming Of Kaliya, and Brahma's Delusion.


On the following day I could enjoy a morning of sight-seeing in Detroit with my beloved brother Acharya Shrivatsa Goswawmi ji, his wonderful wife Sandhya, and our delightful local hosts Pam and Sarita. Our pictures are at the GM Center on the Detroit River across from Windsor Canada





Thursday, May 5, 2011

Discourse on the Leelas of Lord Krishna



On Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011, I spoke by invitation at the Detroit-based Radha Krishna Ashta Shakthi Mandir on two popular Leelas of Lord Krishna, The Taming Of Kaliya, and Brahma's Delusion.


On the following day I could enjoy a morning of sight-seeing in Detroit with my beloved brother Acharya Shrivatsa Goswawmi ji, his wonderful wife Sandhya, and our delightful local hosts Pam and Sarita. Our pictures are at the GM Center on the Detroit River across from Windsor Canada

Friday, April 22, 2011

Nazis and German Catholics and Lutherans

Nazis and German Catholics and Lutherans

An article about Christian martyrs in Nazi Germany, and Catholic-Lutheran relations

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Is it possible to live with a clear conscience

Quora is a forum for questions and answers

Here is a response I gave to a member who asked:

Is it possible to live with a clear conscience in a modern industrial society?

Yes it is possible, but extremely difficult.

Attaining this status is done one decision at a time, thousands of times a day, every day, all day. Eventually it will need to be pursued even in sleep.

The continuous and uninterrupted stream of "choice" should not be seen nor felt as a burden, but rather as incessant opportunity.

The key is to know yourself as "author," and most importantly the author of "you." Who you are is what you have created in your relationship with the voice of your conscience.

Your conscience is a friend and a reliable guide. It is patient, forgiving, and faithful. It will never leave you nor abandon you.

Most people give the right of authorship to the random flux of circumstances. This is an error. Circumstances are merely the environment in which authorship unfolds.

Finally, (so as to avoid a major treatise) there is no such thing as a small or insignificant rejection or violation of conscience. Every yes to conscience counts, just as every rejection or violation of the voice of conscience counts.

A clear conscience is the sweetest of all things,and worth the battle. Don't compromise, don't cheat, don't shade, don't mislead. Be courageous. No threat should be seen as sufficiently terrifying, no opportunity should be seen as sufficiently enticing, that you would chose to violate or reject the voice of your conscience, even in the tiniest way.

If you can go this way, you will be as free as God.

Two State Solution

Quora is a forum for questions and answers

Here is my response to a member asking about the "two-state solution."

If the two state solution is dead, what is the future for Palestinians?

The Palestine Papers indicate that the Israeli government refused huge concessions. Does that mean that they believe they can inch the Palestinians out, one settlement at a time?


Answer Summary

The pursuit of two states is misguided to begin with

The problem is not technically that "the two-state solution is dead" so much as that the phrase is an oxymoron. Two states is not a solution.

It both disappoints, and confuses me that intelligent and well meaning people pursue this. The fact is obviously that even a most perfectly and seamlessly crafted and implemented "two-state" arrangement would solve next to nothing.

As best I can see, "a two-state solution" is something of a nickname for "a slightly smaller Israel, with a new hostile neighbor." Presently Israel is size X, and has as its neighbors, Lebanon, Syriah, Jordon, kind of somehow Saudi Arabia (a stone's skip or two across the puddle), and Egypt.

What is called "a two state solution," would make Israel size X minus, add a new "country" (Palestine?) into the geography, while doing flat zero to solve ANY of the deeply tragic difficulties and suffering born by all people trapped in this sad and complicated relationsip.

The solution the region needs is a growing integration; fewer and fewer boundaries, not more and more of them, ever more irremovable, cynically politicized, and grotesquely militarized.

The costly (in all ways) effort to establish "two states" no matter how on earth it could be designed still leaves the horrific reality that each side would continue with madness and zeal to desire and seek by all means treasure held by the other (family property, access to sacred sites and more)

Calcifying division, enmity, and distrust into political structures (that automatically implies military defense of the political) should never be bound in the same sentence with the sweet, liberating world solution.

More bonds, more trust, more rights, more freedoms, more understanding, greater integration, expanding cooperation characterize the essential impulse that should appear in sentences with the word solution.

Link

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bibles released in Malaysia

Bibles released in Malaysia

The government of Malaysia confirmed Saturday that the proposed 10-point solution has paved successfully the way for the release of the 35,100 Bibles in Bahasa Malaysia, which were impounded in Port Klang and Kuching.

While attracting relatively little attention worldwide, Malaysia has been wrestling with a matter of global significance now in its third year. Political tensions arose related to the question of permitting use of the term Allah in Bible translations. The issue is serious, and not easily solved.

Read more here

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Religion and the exploitation of religion in Cote D'Ivoire

Religion and the exploitation of religion in Cote D'Ivoire

The horrific violence in Ivory Coast, stemming from Laurent Gbagbo's gross violation of election results, is degenerating into sectarian conflict involving religious identities of Ivorians typically divided north and south.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Commemoration of Sam Il Cheol

On March 12, 2011 the Korean Embassy, and the Korean Luxembourg Friendship Association welcomed veterans of the Korean War to commemorate Sam Il Cheol, the March 1, 1919 Korean independence movement from which Korea liberated itself from Japanese occupation:
Approximately 2,000,000 Koreans had participated in the more than 1,500 demonstrations, many who were massacred by the Japanese police force and army.

New President

A private dinner, hosted by Captain and Mrs. Jonjin Kim, defense attache of the embassy of the Republic of Korea in Brussels, to honor the incoming president of the Luxembourg Veterans of the Korean War, Mr. Gilbert Hauffels (far right)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Address to the United Nations Association of Luxembourg

On Monday, March 7, 2011, I addressed the United Nations Association of Luxembourg, on the topic "The Viability of the United Nations, elevating the conversation: Conservativism, national self interest, and the need for research into transcultural values"

The presentation covered the historical record of the UN, the history of the conservative response to the UN, the necessity of the UN, and the need for scholarly investment in exposing universal values across the cultural spheres of Western Democratic liberalism, Western Democratic conservativism, Islam, and Confucian based Asian thought.

From Andre Rollinger
Andre Rollinger, President, United Nations Association of Luxembourg

Honorary Consul from Pakistan to Luxembourg

On Wednesday, March 9, 2011 we visited the Pakistani consulate in Kehlen, Luxembourg. There we enjoyed a substantial visit with Honorary Consul, Mark Samuels.

Topics covered included disaster relief, political destabilization, minority rights, micro-lending, and values in knowledge and information.

From Mark Samuels
Honorary Consul General, Mark Samuels

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Peace Seminar - Luxembourg, March 5, 2011

Here are some images from the peace seminar presented in Luxembourg today, March 5, 2011. Topics included leadership, systems, structures, and dynamics for peace, UN support, and UN reform.

Here are some images from the seminar:

Friday, March 4, 2011

Peace Seminar - Luxembourg, 2011

Here is the invitation and the agenda for the 1 day peace seminar I will lead in Luxembourg this weekend:
Luxembourg Peace Seminar - March 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Universal Peace Federation Canada

On Monday, 22 February, 2011, I addressed the delegates of the Canada, Universal Peace Federation on the topic, "Interfaith Acceptance, and the Next Step."

The presentation examined the enduring causes for interreligious discord, the conditions that have increased the acceptance of interfaith activity and consciousness, and next steps, horizons, and responsibilities for activists.

Here are a couple of pictures from the program



One of the pictures is posed with UPF Secretary General of Canada, Franco Famularo, Rabbi Yaakov Levy, former Chief Rabbi of Geneva, and Resham Singh, head of the Sikh Community of Montreal.

Here is the official, brief report from the Secretary General of UPF, Canada:

“Acceptance of Interfaith – the Next Step”

UPF Montreal – February 21, 2011

In an effort to support the spirit of World Interfaith Harmony Week, UPF Montreal continued its series of monthly meetings, this time on February 21, 2011.

World Interfaith Harmony Week was proclaimed by UN General Assembly Resolution A/65/PV.34

. The proclamation “Encourages all states to support, on a voluntary basis, the spread of the message of interfaith harmony and goodwill in the world’s churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship during that week."

The keynote speaker for this event was Dr. Frank Kaufmann, an interfaith veteran of over 30 years. He currently serves on the board of Trac5, a prominent inter-religious organization devoted to Christian Muslim re-conciliation. (For more information on Trac 5 please visit their site at: http://www.trac5.org/

)

While in Montreal this time, he held several private meetings, conducted a number of larger meetings and seminars, and agreed to extend his stay an extra day so as to address this UPF, monthly meeting.

Participants at this meeting included leaders and representatives from Judaism, Islam, Sikhism, several Christian denominations, and members of other faiths. Of note were, Mr. Resham Singh, leader of Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar, the largest Sikh temple in Montreal, former Chief Rabbi of Geneva, Yaakov Levy, currently of Congr├ęgation S├ępharade Beth Rambam in Montreal, and Father Tibu Fernandez of the Roman Catholic St. Joseph Oratory in Montreal.

Dr. Kaufmann spoke on the “Acceptance of Interfaith – the Next Step”

In his talk, he presented the data that close to 70% of the world’s 6.8 Billion people live in countries with high restrictions on religion. He noted that interfaith collaboration has not been popular until recently, but there has been progress. Dr. Kaufmann recommended that this progress is attributable in part to to the following factors:

- increase in travel and population transfer

- secularization and decline of established religions

- questions concerning the effectiveness of the United Nations

- an increase in religious identification

- war and social destabilization

- globalization of the media and the advent of social media

- the presence of popular religious figures such as the Dalai Lama and Pope John Paul II

- the fall of communism.

The presentation was met with several questions, and lively discussion followed.

The next meeting of UPF Montreal on March 16 will feature a presentation by the Executive Director of the Canadian Center for Ecumenism, Mr. Anthony Mansour.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Canadian Center for Ecumenism

On Thursday, 17 February, I had the pleasure to meet with Anthony Mansour, executive director of the Canadian Center for Ecumemism in Montreal.

The center is an important institution serving the government, and social and religious institutions across Canada as a resource, providing needed information and understanding whenever transreligious, and cross-cultural forces should inform the development of decisions and programs.















Frank Kaufmann, Anthony Mansour, Franco Famularo

Thursday, February 17, 2011

59th National Prayer Breakfast

The Trac5 board timed our board of directors meeting to coincide with events at the 59th Annual Prayer Breakfast.












Trac5 founder Mark Siljander with two board members Frank Kaufmann (left) and Susan Pausky (right)
























The National Prayer Breakfast, primarily at the Washington Hilton, near Dupont Circle in Washington DC,

and the many events all week surrounding the breakfast itself (taking place Thursday, February 3) is spiritually rich and fascinating.










The National Prayer Breakfast is a yearly event held at the Washington Hilton on the first Thursday of February. The breakfast has taken place since 1953 under the Eisenhower Presidency. The founder of the event was the Norwegian-born Methodist Clergyman, Abraham Vereide. Among the nearly 3,500 guests are international invitees from over 100 countries. It is hosted by members of Congress and is organized by The Fellowship Foundation – a conservative Christian group often referred to as “The Family.” The breakfast was initially termed the Presidential Prayer Breakfast, but was officially changed to the National Prayer Breakfast in 1970.
Keynote speakers at the breakfast included Braveheart screenwriter Randall Wallace















And US President Barack Obama