On the eve of the International Day of Peace Celebration, the religious and traditional peacemakers organized two days peace programs on Sep 20- 21 with a festive mood in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Humanitarian Buddhist organization Atish Dipankar Society (ADS) hosted the ‘ National Buddhist Peace Dialogue’ on Sep 20 at the Madarsha Buddhist Temple premises. Buddhist leaders and peace actors from home and abroad participated in the peace dialogue and shared their peace initiatives, promises in peacemaking following the Lord Buddha’s noble teachings on universal loving-kindness and unbounded compassion for the benefits of all living beings without any distinction. The participants are inspired to share their local strategies with INEB visionary learning from Somboon Chungprampree (Moo)
On 21 September in the International Day of Peace, Atisha Dipankar Peace Trust Bangladesh with cooperation of the ‘ Interfaith Peacemaker Team (IPT)’ and Atish Dipankar Society (ADS) organized a ‘ Religious and Traditional Peacemakers congregation’ and multi-faith dialogue on ‘ National Peace and Harmony ’ on the theme ‘ Efforts for Sustaining Peace and Peacebuilding-context Bangladesh & South Asia’ at Hotel Shaikat in Chittagong city. The day-long Peace Day program was inaugurated by national Buddhist leader Mr. Rakhal Chandra Barua. In the morning session, eminent educationist and Vice Chancellor of the Premier University Prof. Dr. Anupam Sen was present as the honorary chief guest. On behalf of the organizing committee Sanat Kumar Barua welcomed all in the peacemakers congregation and multi faith dialogue. In his speech Prof. Dr. Anupam Sen highlighted the importance of peace in the society and emphasized on building a culture of peace. He added that Bangladesh and South Asian countries’ people are peace loving but due to poverty, proper education and unemployment are causing unrest and also increasing religious extremism and social intolerance. He suggested building a peaceful society where all religious and traditional peacemakers would be involved for sustainable peace building and greeted thanks for arranging Peace Day programs and peacemakers congregations.
In the morning session, the first dialogue on the subtheme ‘ Peacebuilding through Promoting Interfaith Cooperation : From Dialogue to Action’ was held chaired by Prof. Dr. Bikiran Prasad Barua. Among the speakers Prof. Masum Ahmed, Rev Asai Tripura, Somboon Chungprampree(Moo), Prof. Jaharlal Battachariyya, Adv Nitai Prasad Ghosh took part in the session. The speakers mentioned that Bangladesh is a densely populated country, it is essential to work for peace, peacebuilding, communal harmony, enhance interfaith leaders connectivity through advancing dialogue, dialogue for building fellowship, and harmony among different religious and faith groups. Also emphasized respect on ‘ Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB)’ and ‘ Do no harm’ in the name of Religion or Faith.
Second session, the dialogue on the subtheme ‘ Building Universal Responsibility & Ending Religious Motivated Violent Extremism’ was held chaired by Iqbal Bahar shabari. Among the speakers Prof. Ven.Dr. Gayanarathna Mahathero, Adv. Tapan Kanti Das, Ven. Dr. Priyodharshi Mahathero, Adv. Mir Mohammed Ferdous Alam Salim, Lokopriya Barua, Shasan Barua, Syed Shiful Alam Nidhu took part in the session. The speakers suggested the religious and traditional peace actors take personal responsibility for the consequences of their behaviors, decisions and actions for the future of the planet, to involve active collaborative engagement to find positive solutions to sustainability related changes we face as a global community. The speakers outlook on the rise of terrorism, intolerance and extremism in Bangladesh & South Asia for a variety of reasons, including social injustice, ideological contradiction, religious views, ill-motivated and bad political interference, sometimes government polices and outside interference in all South Asian countries have been primary factors responsive for the rise of extremism in the region. So, it is required for formulating a comprehensive approach to deal with the issue of terrorism, violence, intolerance and extremism at the state, society and regional level to eradicate the menace from our societal life.
After the launch break, the dialogue on the subtheme ‘ Youth & Women Empowerment: For Contributing an Inclusive and Peaceful Society’ started under chair Prof. Rita Datta. Among the speakers Dr.Priti Barua, Ms Jenat Shohana Chowdhury, Nazrul Islam Manna, Prof. Dr. Subrata Baran Barua, Ms Bobi Barua, Ms Tajin Akter were presented in the session. The speakers mentioned that the total population of the globe is about 7.8 billion, among them 30% are youth and about 50 millions youth are in Bangladesh who are born after the independence. So, it is important to ensure youth & women empowerment for meaningful participation, equal partnership, decision-making and societal well-being. The speakers indicated that the youth are the catalyst for peace, security and humanitarian action. Their voices and dedication should be for the promotion of a peaceful, safer, just and sustainable world. In the other hand, women are generally deprived of their basic rights and face discrimination in every sides for their daily life. So, the speakers emphasized that to promote an inclusive and peaceful society, all should take special care of the youth & women and be fit for facing challenges of the 21th century.
The last dialogue on the subtheme ‘ Climate Justice, Environmental Ethics & Human Values ’ started under the chairmanship of Professor Dr. Pravat Chandra Barua. The speakers were Prof. Dr. Monzurol Kibria, Prof. Masun Ahmed, Principal Shimul Barua and Sanat Kumar Barua. The session chair mentioned that the theme of the Peace Day is ‘ Climate Action for Peace ’. It draws attention to the importance of combating climate change as a way to protect and promote peace throughout the world. The speakers argued that peace can only be achieved if concrete action is taken to combat climate change. They demand that all governments should prioritize carbon neutrality by 2050; add tax pollution; stop subsidizing fossil fuels; stop building new cool plants by 2020; focus on green economy, not a gray economy; and pursue a global effort to limit temperature rises to 1.5 degree C. They also demand o making significant contribution to climate policy and action, advocate for sustainable agriculture, production and consumption in one personal lives, community and country; and to raise a ethical and moral arguments for climate justice.
Finally, there was an exclusive ‘Peace Talk’ and ‘ Atisha Changemaker Award ’ presentation ceremony chaired by Dr. Dibakar Barua, co-chair, Atisha Dipankar Peace Trust Bangladesh. The honorable Mayor of Chittagong City Cooperation Alhaz A J M Nasir Uddin was present as the chief guest, Prof. Dr. Bikiran Prasad Barua, Prof. Dr Pravat Chandra Barua, Somboon Chungprampree (Moo), Prof. Dr.Monzurol Kibria, Prof Dr. Ujjal Kumar Dev, councilor Tareq Soliman Salim, councilor Hassan Murad Biplob, Santoshita Chakma Bakul were presented as guests of honor. The city Mayor highly appreciated for arranging the Peace Day programs and greeted all peace activists to work for sustainable peace, religious harmony, overcoming extremism and collective efforts for fellowship, amity among people to people connection in the region and the world. Later the Mayor handed over the ‘ Atisha Changemaker Award ’ to the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB), Thailand ‘ For Incomparable Role of Promoting Global Peace, Peacebuilding and Services to the World Humanity’. INEB Executive Secretary Mr. Somboon Chungprampree (Moo) received the award on behalf of the organization. And also handed over the awards to Professor Dr. Md Monzorul Kibria, Mr. Swapan Barua Chowdhury and Prof. Dr. Ujjal Kumar Dev individually ‘ For Significant Role of Promoting Peaceful Society and Services to Humanity ’ . The day-long program is conducted by Sanat Kumar Barua and Pranab Raz Barua with cooperation of the celebration committee chairman Prof. Tushar kanti Barua , core committee members Hassan Md. Ripon, Sarif Nabab Hossian, Shah Alam Chowdhury. On behalf of the celebration committee Souman Chakraborty greeted heartfelt thanks and gratitude to all for their kind participation & cooperation to make the Peace Day programs successful.