The MIT-World Peace Dome, in collaboration with the G20 Interfaith Forum and the Interfaith Alliance for Safer Communities, successfully concluded the three-day G20 Interfaith Summit in Pune today. The baton has now been passed from India to Brazil, which will host the 2024 Summit. This historic gathering commenced with a moving tribute to the esteemed educator, Dr. Vishwanath Karad, marked by the unveiling of a magnificent bronze statue in his honor. The summit unfolded with a series of compelling breakout sessions led by illustrious dignitaries and revered spiritual leaders hailing from across the globe.
Over the course of three days, the summit bore witness to the fervent exchange of ideas, hosting a gathering of over 2,000 delegates and boasting a line-up of more than 100 esteemed speakers and presenters. Among them were government officials, international organization representatives, civil society advocates, scholars, and representatives from diverse religious communities.
The summit’s agenda spanned a wide spectrum of crucial topics, ranging from matters of religion, ethics, and technology, to the pressing challenges encapsulated in the “4 Cs” – COVID, Climate, Conflict, and Children. Additionally, it delved into themes of women’s empowerment, the Indian New Education Policy, healthcare, and the pursuit of global harmony, amongst others. All of these discussions converged under the overarching theme of the summit: “Shaping World Peace and Sustainable Development through Interfaith Harmony.”
In his address, Hon’ble Dr Deepak Mhaisekar Ji, Advisor to CM and Ex Divisional Commissioner Pune voiced a profound concern about gene manipulation in healthcare. He underscored the gravity of our current cloning and recombinant techniques, cautioning that “in our pursuit of manipulating genes, we tread the fine line between scientific advancement and the perils of playing God with the very building blocks of life—a risk we must tread with utmost care.”
Citing startling statistics from the World Health Organization, Dr. Michael Kay Young, 25th President of Texas A&M University, emphasized the intricate linkages among the ‘4 Cs’, with a specific focus on children. The data underscore the gravity of the situation: 60 million children lack access to primary school, 24 million have never experienced any form of education, 50 million have been uprooted due to climate-related events, and nearly 45 million children have been forcibly displaced due to conflict. These figures stresses the urgent call for worldwide efforts to safeguard the future of our children.
Dr. Vishwanath Karad, Visionary Educationist, UNESCO Chair Holder and Founder President of MIT World Peace University, expressed his gratitude to the dignitaries, participants and the dedicated team who collectively contributed to the success of this Summit. “Over the past three days, we have collectively witnessed a historic event. I express my sincere appreciation to Team Brazil, who have accepted the responsibility to host the G20 Interfaith Summit in 2024. I am confident that their conference will surpass even our own. The World Peace Dome stands as a spiritual and scientific laboratory, and I am elated to have hosted this event within its sacred confines,” Dr. Karad concluded.
Passing the baton from India to Brazil, which will be the host country for the 2024 G20 Interfaith Summit, Hon’ble W. Cole Durham Jr, Founding Director, International Center for Law and Religion Studies, commented, “This is a remarkable moment and we are delighted to have our friends from Brazil who accepted the handover with the statue of Mahatama Gandhi, a global proponent of peace.”
Roderigo Vitorino Souza Alves, Chair, 2024 G20 Interfaith Forum Local Organizing Committee, Brazil, expressed his gratitude, saying, “We are deeply thankful for this opportunity, recognizing the immense responsibility it entails. Drawing from the valuable lessons of IF2023, we are fully committed to dedicating unwavering effort and tireless work to ensure the resounding success of the IF24 summit, matching the standards set by its predecessor.”