SGI-Spain Supports an Interfaith Conference in Alicante and Earth Charter Forum in Madrid
On May 12-13, 2007, the Third Parliament of Religions Conference, "Caring for the Earth, Embracing Life: The Earth Charter and the Commitment of Religions," was held at the University of Alicante, Spain, located on the Mediterranean coast. This annual gathering of religious leaders draws representatives from Spain's major religious, cultural and environmental organizations. This year, some 800 representatives from over 20 organizations participated in the conference, which focused on the values expressed in the Earth Charter through reports, workshops and round table discussions. SGI-Spain representatives General Director Enrique Caputo and Vice General Director Sebastiá Vilanova participated in the event, which SGI-Spain supported through sponsorship of the Spanish version of "Seeds of Change--the Earth Charter and Human Potential," an exhibition created by the SGI and the Earth Charter Initiative.
Former UNESCO Director-General Federico Mayor Zaragoza opened the program with an address on "The Earth Charter and a Culture of Peace." University of Alicante Rector Ignacio Jiménez was also among the speakers who represented various cultural and religious traditions, including the Bahá'í, Anglican and Protestant communities, who talked about the Earth Charter as it relates to their beliefs.
Some 100 visitors were present for the opening of the "Seeds of Change" exhibition on May 12, which began with a ribbon cutting ceremony by University of Alicante Vice Rector Jesús Pradells Nadal and Alicante Interfaith Dialogue Conference Chair Farhang Jahangosha. University of Alicante Vice Rector Pradells expressed his appreciation to SGI-Spain for supporting the conference with the showing of the exhibit. He also said he looked forward to collaborating with the SGI with the shared objective of enhancing education, humanity's most valuable legacy. SGI-Spain General Director Enrique Caputo introduced the SGI and its activities for peace, culture and education founded on the ideals of humanism and the sanctity of life.
At the request of Fundación Valores, an organization officially designated to promote the Earth Charter, SGI-Spain sponsored "The Seeds of Change" exhibition during the foundation's third international forum titled "Projects and Utopia for a Better World" in Madrid, Spain, from June 2-3. Among the speakers at the forum were: Juan López Martínez, director of the School Education Planning Department of Spain's Ministry of Education and Science; Dr. Maria Novo, UNESCO Chair in Environmental Education and Sustainable Development; theology scholar Dr. Leonardo Boff; and Fundación Cultura de Paz President Federico Mayor Zaragoza.
Some 500 forum participants visited the "Seeds of Change" exhibition. Viewers remarked on the quality of the exhibition and its importance in raising peoples' awareness for actively transforming society. Remarking that the exhibit added a significant dimension to the forum, representatives of several local educational and environmental foundations requested to host the exhibition at future conferences.
[Adapted from SGI-Spain reports]