India hosts an International Conference on “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” at the United Nations

President of the United Nations General Assembly, Dennis Francis addressing the gathering during an International Conference on Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam at the ECOSOC Chamber in United Nations on October 10, 2023. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

United Nations: The Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations and the Indian Council on Cultural Relations (ICCR) jointly hosted an International Conference on “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – The World is One Family” at the ECOSOC Chamber on October 10, 2023.

Delivering the keynote address, President of ICCR, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, noted, “It is historic that Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam is being discussed where it requires to be discussed. In fact, there is perhaps no better way to articulate the organizational mission of the United Nations than Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.”

He underscored that the concept known in English as “One Earth-One Family-One Future” gained prominence given that it was the theme of India’s G20 Presidency. However, its relevance is timeless and universal.

President of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe addressing the gathering during an International Conference on Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam at the ECOSOC Chamber in United Nations on October 10, 2023. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

Recalling Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first address to the United Nations General Assembly in 2014, Sahasrabuddhe quoted PM Modi, “While we speak of an interdependent world, have we become more united as nations? Why can’t we have a G-All grouping?” and stressed PM Modi’s plea for a G-All amounted to nothing more than the re-statement of a shared desire to create a united global community.

He also voiced India’s perspective on areas such as dealing with diversity, philosophy and practice, development diplomacy, and serving humanity.

In his special remarks, President of the United Nations General Assembly, Dennis Francis acknowledged that “Solidarity and unity” were the focus of his address to world leaders during the 78th United Nations General Assembly session in September. But he said, “Little did I know just two weeks ago that the challenges we face would become even more striking in the weeks to follow. I have spoken clearly in condemning the escalation of violence in the Middle East and the associated alarming deaths of innocent civilians on both sides.”

He emphasized that the worsening security conditions starkly oppose the idea of “One-World-One-Family” and go against the principles of unity and solidarity. He went on to say people are experiencing hardship and apprehensive about their existence given the discord and turmoil ranging from the consequences of conflicts to the climate crisis.

“It is in times like these of greater alarm and distress that we often find it within ourselves to come together whether out of the need for solidarity or for solace or both. It is entirely human to seek out community of support,” Francis added. “I therefore deeply appreciate the leadership of India in reminding us of this important truth. India’s recent G20 Presidency centered around the theme of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam marked the historic milestone and echoed the message of One World-One Family-One Future.”

In her opening remarks, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj, reinforced the concept of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam and emphasized that it is “A principle that transcends borders, outlives empires, and bridges the chasms between our diverse cultures…a philosophy that resonates with the spirit of unity, compassion, and cooperation…a philosophy deeply rooted in India’s ancient scriptures, one that we proudly embrace to this day.”

Highlighting a few important examples where “India has not merely preached but practiced Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,” Kamboj pointed out the India’s G20 Summit that showcased its commitment to fostering a sense of global togetherness. At the G-20 Summit, she reminded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi underscored the importance of development driven by women, pointing out that close to 45 per cent of STEM graduates in India are women. The empowerment of women truly embodies the spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, she added.

She expressed that yoga, bestowed upon the world by India, epitomizes the principle of unity. According to her, India’s dedication to Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam is further evident in initiatives such as Vaccine Maitri, Mission LiFE, Operation Dost, and fostering friendships with nations in the Global South.

At the conference, a panel discussion on the topic of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam and International Peace Keeping Forces,” was chaired by former Permanent Representative of India to UN, Ambassador Vijay Nambiar, followed by another panel discussion on “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam and tackling Climate Change, Biodiversity Loss and Environmental Pollution,” chaired by former Union Minister of India, Suresh Prabhu. Ambassadors from UN Member States, UN officials, and other experts participated in both panels.

Director General of ICCR, Kumar Tuhin delivered the vote of thanks at the conference, where a Bharatanatyam performance on the theme of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” was also presented by Sophia Salingaros and Jeeno Joseph.




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