By Bill Fancher, AFR News, August 29, 2000
(AgapePress) - The Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders is into its second day in New York. The more than 1,000 participants say their goal is to come up with ways of ending armed conflict, poverty, and harm to nature.
Bawa Jain, secretary-general of the event, told Reuters News that one of the main goals is to create an advisory council to the UN Secretary General and build "an interfaith ally" to work within the UN system.
Richard Cizik, a delegate with the National Association of Evangelicals, says he is not sure what to expect from the event.
"I'll admit that [most of] the organizers tend to come from the political, liberal end of things," he says. "I mean, it's being funded by Ted Turner and company."
So what is his intent in attending the gathering? He says it is to keep doors open with agencies in nations with which he has to work in an effort to end Christian persecution.
"We have to continue to press...the Religious Affairs Bureau [in China] and the China Christian Council on the issues which I have repeatedly raised with them," he says.
Meanwhile, the Dalai Lama--one of the world's most well-known spiritual leaders and 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner--was conspicuous by his absence. According to Reuters, China put pressure on the United Nations and organizers to exclude the Dalai Lama from the UN compound because they view him as a political leader. He told CNN that he turned down a last-minute invitation to the closing ceremony, calling it "not smooth."
The Summit, which ends on Thursday, is organized by a coalition of non-governmental religious groups, with coordinating help from the United Nations. The event is being paid for by Ted Turner's Better World Fund.
Copyright 2000 Agape Press, Used with Permission.