Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, on a 3-day peace mission to Iraq
“It is very important to integrate displaced people into society while maintaining their cultural and ethnic identity. This can be achieved only after they have been freed of their trauma,” - said His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on the second day of his three-day peace mission to Iraq where he met with key political and religious leaders and also oversaw service projects run by the Art of Living.
In the two days of his visit he met with the Vice-President of Iraq Mr. Adil Abd Al Mahdi; Minister of Justice & Education Mr. Safa Al Deen Al Safi; Chairman of the Iraqi National Congress and former Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq Mr. Ahmed Chalabi. He also met key Sunni leader Mishan Al Jabburi and the President of the Shia Political Council, Mr. Hussain Al Musawi.
His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar met with key Shiite and Sunni leaders to mend fences between the two communities. At the Art of Living centres, the Shiites, Sunnis and also the Kurdish have come together for programmes.
Sri Sri also discussed the health situation in Iraq with Mr. Hussain Al Musawi, President o the Shia Political Council. Mr Musawi requested Sri Sri to bring in more doctors from India since the country faced a shortage in thi regard. The Art of Living had sent many docto from India in 2003 soon after the war. He also met a key Sunni leader, Mr. Mishan Al Jabburi who requested Sri Sri to help with uniting the tribal leaders and bringing about lasting peace in Iraq.
Sri Sri met the Minister of Justice & Education, Mr. Safa Al Deen Al Safi and offered to start Art of Living’s successful Prison Programmes, which has transformed more than 200,000 prisoners across the globe, in Iraqi prisons.
They also discussed youth programmes to provide stress relief for the Iraqi youth and turn them into Ambassadors of Peace to spread the message of non-violence in various Iraqi provinces.
At a private dinner hosted by Mr. Ahmed Chalabi, Chairman of the Iraqi National Congress and former Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, Sri Sri discussed ways to help the youth in Iraq.Sri Sri also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Youth Ministry to conduct women as well as youth empowerment programmes.
He emphasised rebuilding the historical 500-year old Gurudwara that was damaged when he met the Vice-President of Iraq, Adil Abd Al Mahdi. The Iraqi Vice-President agreed to rebuild the Gurudwara and said it would further strengthen relations between India and Iraq.
During his three-day visit, Sri Sri also interacted with Iraqi Art of Living teachers participants of their trauma relief programmes in Iraq. He visited Art of Living’s empowerment training centre and inspected the operations. He finally wound u with a visit to Karbala where he met the Governor of the province.
Sri Sri, who went to Iraq in 2007 as a peace ambassador upon the invitation of P Minister Nouri Maliki, said many leaders of various ethno-sectarian groups expr willingness to open a dialogue.