Yoga and the UN Culture of Peace

The Sri Chinmoy Choir had the honour of performing arrangements of Sri Chinmoy’s songs dedicated to the UN and peace at a programme entitled “Yoga and the UN Culture of Peace.” The event was held at the United Nations in the prestigious Economic and Social Council Chamber the evening of 28 October 2016. Hosted by His Excellency Ambassador Durga Prasad Bhattarai, the Permanent Representative of Nepal to the UN, the event was webcast live, and the video is also available on the UN website (UN live weblink). The choir opened the programme, after the Deputy Permanent Representative of Nepal, Mr. Nirmal Raj Kafle, offered a few remarks on behalf of Ambassador Bhattarai, declaring that the wealth of yoga belongs to humanity in general.

nilima silver

Ms. Nilima Silver, Programme Coordinator of Sri Chinmoy: The Peace Meditation at the United Nations and UN Staff Member, was invited by the organizers to serve as Master of Ceremonies for the evening. In introducing the Choir, she explained that in 1970, then UN Secretary-General U Thant invited spiritual leader Sri Chinmoy to conduct meditations for peace at UN Headquarters in New York. Until his passing in 2007, Sri Chinmoy offered his multifaceted inspiration to the UN community through twice-weekly meditations, concerts and other programmes for peace. Sri Chinmoy also founded a non-governmental organization accredited with the UN Department of Public Information, the international Sri Chinmoy Centre, which provides humanitarian aid and promotes a culture of peace.

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Sri Chinmoy Choir

The singers are honoured to continue in this spirit. On this occasion the choir started with a poem by Sri Chinmoy, followed by several of his songs dedicated to peace and to the UN, with arrangements by members of the Choir.

Yogmata Keiko Aikawa
Ms. Yogmata Keiko Aikawa

Following the choir, the guest of honour, Yogmata Keiko Aikawa, gave the Keynote Address, which was followed by a panel discussion, with questions and answers.

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Deputy Permanent Representative of Nepal, Mr. Nirmal Raj Kafle

The event served as a continuum to the UN International Day of Yoga, first proposed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his speech to the General Assembly in September 2014. The Assembly later unanimously adopted a resolution recognizing that “wider dissemination of information about the benefits of practising yoga would be beneficial for the health of the world population,” and declaring 21 June the International Day. (See link to the resolution and draft showing initial co-sponsors)

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Panel of speakers

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See also: Yoga and the UN Culture of Peace Program.pdf

Concise Summary version

Fuller excerpts and related timeline links

UN Secretary General Message for IDY (2016-Jun21)

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