Even amidst a 50-year-old conflict, the South American country of Colombia salutes the power of peace. A passionate resolve to work on restoring peace in its country echoed through the corridors of the Colombian Parliament as the President of the House bestowed the country’s highest civilian award on Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
"I promise I will do all that is in my capacity to bring peace to all in the conflict in Colombia,” Gurudev said as Dr.Fabio Raúl Amín Saleme, president of the house, Colombia conferred the 'Orden de la Democracia Simón Bolívar' award. The award is in recognition of Gurudev’s peace work around the world, with special reference to his work in Colombia through his foundation, The Art of Living.
Re-affirming his commitment to a violence -free and stress-free world, Gurudev dedicated the award to those who are working for non-violence. “When the conflict is between justice & peace it is a humongous task to reconcile the two. Only a spiritual dimension can ease the situation,” said Gurudev who has worked in conflict zones across the world.
The India Prime Minister, Sri Narendra Modi also took to twitter to congratulate Gurudev on his achievement. "Congratulations to @SriSri ji on being conferred ‘Orden de la Democracia Simon Bolivar en el grado de cruz Caballero' by Colombia. We are very proud of the excellent work @SriSri ji is doing across the world. His noble efforts have always created a major impact globally," he tweeted.
In a written letter earlier to Sri Sri, Hon. Fabio Raul Amin Saleme, the Hon. President of the House of Representatives had said, “Your commitment in Colombia for more than eight years compels us to recognize your achievements in peace matters in our overwhelmed nation, and to thank you for the undeniable presence of The Art of Living in our country. We invite you to keep helping us in the construction of a more inclusive and less violent society, where we can accept one and other.”
The Hon. President also made special mention of Sri Sri’s programs, which have taught meditation and the Sudarshan Kriya to thousands of people in Colombia, and to millions around the world. “Through this institution (The Art of Living), many have found an antidote to the stress they are undergoing daily, by practicing yoga and breathing techniques,” shared Mr. Saleme.
Gurudev who is on a tour of South America, will also be the first India spiritual leader who will receive the degree of Grand Officer from the Andean Parliament which is the highest award from the Andean Parliament in Lima, Peru. He will also receive the Diploma of Honor of the National Congress of Peru for his constant social work and mission to deliver peace to everyone, as his foundation and programs have helped thousands of people in Peru.
"Some of the Congressman have done the programs that The Art of Living provides, after completing the course and filled with inner peace that they felt that Gurudev must come to Perú and deliver his message to more people," said Alejandro Martinez Meijide, director of the Art of Living in Peru.
In the backdrop of Peru facing violence, corruption and stress, Mr. Brando Tapia, Congressman in Peru and member of the Andean Parliament shared, "Everyone should have the opportunity to know this worldwide spiritual leader, who helps us to have a better quality of life, who encourages us to do service and create a better society filled with respect, union and happiness.”