10th International Conference on Millennium Development Goals of the UN by the Szent Istvan University,Hungary

June 23, 2009

"The common man will need to participate in the Millennium Development Goals" - Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's keynote address on the occasion

Wise people set goals. Wiser people follow their goals. It is public participation which is most essential. In the past century, there have been partnerships for war and conflicts. We are in better era now. Today we are fortunate to have partnerships for development like the eight Millennium Development goals of the United Nations. Though these goals have been set by wise peoples from around the world, this can become a reality only when the common man participates in them. Otherwise goals will remain in books and as dreams.

So what is it that can inspire people to join in, to eradicate poverty, bring gender equality and educate people in every corner of our dear planet? We need to ponder over this. I would say that spirituality unites people and promotes people into doing something constructive for the world. These inspirations that come from within will enable us to act better. Faster and successful results will then come out of it. The common man will need to participate in this for the vision needs to be broadened. Confidence-building measures need to be taken, a sense of belongingness needs to be created among communities, among nations, even among age groups.

Today we find that the generation gap is widening day by day. I think it is a very good idea to have these conferences in universities where young minds are inspired to undertake goals and have a vision for sustainable development of our world.I see a galaxy of brilliant minds here, professors and doctors from various fields. You all are all going to discuss and come up with more ideas. I hope you will take those ideas and implement them as action plans involving the common man.

Education is the most important aspect of civilization. It is the lack of education or wrong education that has caused so much violence in today’s world. We see religious fanaticism in the name of ideology or politics. What is happening in Iran and India, especially in the Indian subcontinent is very saddening. Lots of lives have been lost, people are killing each other in the name of religion, political and party ideologies.

This has to come to an end. We live in the 21st century. We call ourselves as the most civilized society. Yet we still find primitive things happening. It is education that can eradicate not only poverty but also superstitions and narrow mindedness. People are engaged in selfish goals rather than having a broaden vision of a global family. It is very pertinent for today’s times that we broaden the vision of our young people and let them know that the world is with them.

I am happy that the UN Millennium Goals and officials of UN are taking a proactive step in this direction. As a gentleman here said that there are three things essential to transform society: education, education and education. Education to earn money, education to connect with people, relate with people, handle one’s own mind or emotions. It is professional and spiritual education which will build a strong and stable personality, which will be very productive for society.

With these words, I welcome you all for this conference and wish you all the best to come up with great ideas and plans to implement them. When you come for the 11th conference in the next term, you can present the achievements you have made. Our focus on achievement will definitely make a difference.