10th International Conference on Millennium Development Goals of the UN by the Szent Istvan University,Hungary | The Art Of Living Global
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10th International Conference on Millennium Development Goals of the UN by the Szent Istvan University,Hungary

June 23, 2009

"The common man will need to participate in the Millennium Development Goals" - Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's keynote address on the occasion

Wise people set goals. Wiser people follow their goals. It is public participation which is most essential. In the past century, there have been partnerships for war and conflicts. We are in better era now. Today we are fortunate to have partnerships for development like the eight Millennium Development goals of the United Nations. Though these goals have been set by wise peoples from around the world, this can become a reality only when the common man participates in them. Otherwise goals will remain in books and as dreams.

So what is it that can inspire people to join in, to eradicate poverty, bring gender equality and educate people in every corner of our dear planet? We need to ponder over this. I would say that spirituality unites people and promotes people into doing something constructive for the world. These inspirations that come from within will enable us to act better. Faster and successful results will then come out of it. The common man will need to participate in this for the vision needs to be broadened. Confidence-building measures need to be taken, a sense of belongingness needs to be created among communities, among nations, even among age groups.

Today we find that the generation gap is widening day by day. I think it is a very good idea to have these conferences in universities where young minds are inspired to undertake goals and have a vision for sustainable development of our world.I see a galaxy of brilliant minds here, professors and doctors from various fields. You all are all going to discuss and come up with more ideas. I hope you will take those ideas and implement them as action plans involving the common man.

Education is the most important aspect of civilization. It is the lack of education or wrong education that has caused so much violence in today’s world. We see religious fanaticism in the name of ideology or politics. What is happening in Iran and India, especially in the Indian subcontinent is very saddening. Lots of lives have been lost, people are killing each other in the name of religion, political and party ideologies.

This has to come to an end. We live in the 21st century. We call ourselves as the most civilized society. Yet we still find primitive things happening. It is education that can eradicate not only poverty but also superstitions and narrow mindedness. People are engaged in selfish goals rather than having a broaden vision of a global family. It is very pertinent for today’s times that we broaden the vision of our young people and let them know that the world is with them.

I am happy that the UN Millennium Goals and officials of UN are taking a proactive step in this direction. As a gentleman here said that there are three things essential to transform society: education, education and education. Education to earn money, education to connect with people, relate with people, handle one’s own mind or emotions. It is professional and spiritual education which will build a strong and stable personality, which will be very productive for society.

With these words, I welcome you all for this conference and wish you all the best to come up with great ideas and plans to implement them. When you come for the 11th conference in the next term, you can present the achievements you have made. Our focus on achievement will definitely make a difference.

Sri Sri Tour Schedule  


Voices of World Leaders


"We need more than ever the contribution of men and women of faith who defend and promote the human values that bind us together.The values you (His Holiness) champion,including non-violence,compassion and the sanctity of all life,go to the heart of what the United Nations stands for."
United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon

"Through its manifold activities, The Art of Living Foundation has made important contributions to transmit Human Values across the globe."
Dr. Manmohan Singh, Hon. Prime Minister of India

"There are big powers who have big might, but they are not able unite the hearts and minds of people. This work can be done only by a spiritual leader."
Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al Maliki

"The Art of Living Foundation is one of India's stars. It has an incredible -- actually incredible -- following that cuts through all religions, cultures and backgrounds, a very, very difficult thing to do in today's world."
Vice-President, United States of America,Joe Biden

"The teachings of His Holiness provide the world with a road-map for love, justice and harmony. His spiritual and humanitarian actions are worthy of praise since it is rare to find people so dedicated to the human cause. His knowledge, service and unwavering commitment to peace, drive thousands of volunteers towards community service."
President, Mauritius,His Excellency Sir Anerood Jugnauth

"His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is seen as an international figure who has been spreading the message of peace and harmony throughout the world."
Former Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Hon. Ranil Wickramasinghe

"We welcome the delegation with open arms and hearts. We welcome you as our brother and we are ready to work hand in hand with you."
Shia leader of Iraq, Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Yaqubi

"Where ever The Art of Living Foundation builds- builds the world. With that simple message, if that’s something we can replicate in every community, in every country across the globe, this will be a peaceful and non-violent world to live in, for the benefit of all the future generations."
PA, United States, Congressman Jim Gerlac

"The Art of Living leads with an open mind to education, and that education leads to choice. It opened my eyes to how development could or would occur in the future."
Nobel laureate in Economic Sciences, Dr. Myron S. Scholes

"My NGO, Transparency International, is fighting corruption all over the world, and it has been energized, inspired, and strengthened by H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar."
Founder & Chairman of Advisory Board, Transparency International, Germany, Prof. Dr. Peter Eigen

"It is indeed imperative to initiate programs for re-establishing human values in society and enhancing ideas for global harmony. I extend my deep admiration and appreciation for your work."
Former Prime Minister of Norway, Mr. Thorbjørn Jagland

"I commend Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's emphasis on the inculcation of human values in all walks of life. Mere material progress, in the absence of concomitant development of the basic life-sustaining cultural and spiritual ideals, will not help our society in the long-run. The Art of Living Foundation is both an easy-to-understand philosophy and an easy-to-practice activity. "
Leader of Opposition & former Prime Minister of India, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee

" I have met many NGOs - representatives of indigenous people - and they have made it clear that economic development alone does not suffice. The common future of our one world family is rooted in the awareness that we have only borrowed mother earth from the generations to come. The Art of Living is not the end, but it is the beginning for everybody and everything. It is the way to harmony."
~ Hon. Ruud Lubbers, Former Prime Minister, The Netherlands

" I am proud to be a part of that group that is helping to create important bonds, and look forward to working with the man of peace, man of vision, man of compassion and a man of action. We certainly need that in the world today.  "
Congresswoman, United States, Jan Schowski (IL)

"His Holiness’ initiatives consider human beings in their entirety, and heal the body, mind and spirit. The Art of Living is one of the rare NGOs which works at the grass root level, close to the population and goes to the core of the problem"
Djedje Dano Sebastien, Minister of National Reconciliation, Ivory Coast.

" H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’ projects that are being implemented in prisons in a far away country – my country – Croatia, are making life a little easier for our people there. You have made a mark, made a difference, and that is the greatest thing a human being can contribute in his lifetime"
Her Excellency Dr. Vesna Pusic, Vice-President, Republic of Croatia


International Honors

"I share this award with all those people who stand for a violence-free and stress-free society. This award is not for a person or personality, but for a principle that stands for the ideal of a 'one world family' and cultural plurality." Sri Sri on receiving the 2009 Culture in Balance Award


"Sri Sri's mission of uniting the world into a violence-free global family has inspired millions the world over." Chancellor of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, (India), Dr Mrunalini Devi Puar when conferring Sri Sri with the Doctorate

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Days

October 29, 2008 was declared Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Day in Texas, United States of America.