National Conference brings Interfaith, Academia and PolicyMakers to deliberate ‘Actionable’ Harmony by Gen Z

16 year-old BodhiTrail Founder elevates the Interfaith discussions with 21st century perspectives on public policy

NEW DELHI, April 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — On the International Day of Conscience, BodhiTrail Founder, Riaan Kumar, organized a National Conference on Faith and Policy at the India Habitat Center. With keynote speakers Dr. Kiran Bedi and UNESCO MGIEP Director, Dr. Anantha Duraiappah, it strived to alleviate communal disharmony and improve public policy, by kick-starting a discussion on the impact of faith on policy making.

Pictures in clockwise direction: BodhiTrail Founder Riaan moderating the Politico-Economic Panel; UNESCO MGIEP Director Dr. Anantha Duraiappah emphasizing SEL to an enthralled audience; Dr. Kiran Bedi with Riaan Kumar after her inspiring talk; BodhiTrail team and enthusiastic students from Delhi-NCR pose with Dr. Bedi; Interfaith leaders addressing questions on contemporary issues. (PRNewsfoto/BodhiTrail)

The first session discussed the theological foundations of communal relations in India. With Riaan as moderator, the diverse panel—Maulvi Dr. Rizvi, Buddhist Leader Geshe La, Reverend. Roby K and ISKCON’s Prabhuji Dasa – quoted various scriptures, pointing out how all religions are united in their quest for peace and fraternity. However, as Dr. Rizvi pointed out communal disharmony is born when people practice faith in selfish and inauthentic ways and that needs to be addressed.

The second session explored how communal relations bear upon policy formulation, ultimately affecting the economic and political well-being of citizens. Shedding light on this relation was Philosophy Professor Dr. Rosenhagen, OP Jindal’s Dr. Pankaj Gupta, Economist Prof. Santosh Mehrotra and SP Spokesperson Mr. Tiwari. They elaborated on how communal disharmony has negatively impacted investor confidence in the Indian market, and inattention to inter-faith harmony has tangible consequences on our country’s GDP.

Both Prof. Dr. Rosenhagen and Dr Pankaj Gupta reiterated that our task really is to calibrate these (economic, religious and political) pressures in a consultative and participatory way.

The event’s audience consisted of students from Delhi-NCR who were specially invited by organizer, Riaan, a senior at The Shri Ram School, Aravali. A keen scholar of Buddhist scripture for four years, his passion for religion and policy inspired him to recently present his research paper on Reflections of Buddhism on Modern Democracy, at the International Society for Research, Malaysia. BodhiTrail organization through its workshops, podcasts, blogs, visits, and conferences, has spread the message of communal harmony to over 15,000 students.

As Dr. Kiran Bedi rightly summarized at the end of the conference, “If youngsters like this (Riaan) start on BodhiTrail at this age, along with good quality education, we are in very safe hands. They will make better leaders.”

BodhiTrail team is currently working to synthesize the conference’s insights into policy briefs by working in tandem with academic experts and ThinkTanks.

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About BodhiTrail

BodhiTrail is a global platform to promote peace and harmony, by evaluating the pervasive impact of faith on policy, economics, and politics of a nation. Bodhi Trail has partnered with NGOs, nation-wide foundations, practitioners at different faiths and their leaders, colleges, schools and local organizations to promote secular values and implement insights into action.  

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