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IWC-2014

Insights

The Sixth International Women’s Conference, organized by The International Association for Human Values (IAHV), Ved Vignan Maha Vidyapeeth and the Art of Living was held at the Art of Living International Center in Bangalore, India from February 7-9th, 2014. Delegates from 60 countries participated and thousands more viewed it via webcast.

This year’s theme, “Harmony: Evolution towards Perfection”, sought to highlight individual approaches and qualities that respond to the challenges of the 21st century and find innovative solutions for restoring harmony at all levels, from the individual to the society. Only when we are calm and relaxed can we connect with our inner self, our intuition, and come up with spiritual strength to restore harmony in difficult and challenging situations.

Apart from supporting the cause of education the conference was an incredible platform for women from diverse mindsets to come together in dialogue to resolve to create a more harmonious society. Women from India, Pakistan, Iraq, Asia Pacific, Africa, the Arab world, Israel, Western and Eastern Europe, North and South America came together in a true spirit of celebration and meaningful discussion to discover the role of inner peace in establishing harmony in their communities and societies.

The conference was inaugurated by H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar along with other dignitaries. Ms Bhanumathi Narsimhan, Chairperson of IWC opened the Conference with the Welcome Address.

Outstanding women from around the globe, whether famous achievers in their respective fields or extraordinary women working anonymously in formidable circumstances, truly inspired the conference participants. Educationists, celebrities, opinion makers, politicians; including First Ladies, ex-presidents and parliamentarians, social activists, fashion designers, media representatives, business women, academicians, scientists, spiritual leaders all contributed to the success of the conference.

The Inaugural Session: “Making a Global Connection” highlighted the words of his Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, ‘Corruption begins outside the perceived boundary of connectedness. When we recognise and acknowledge our global connection, our sensitivity increases, our circle of belongingness expands and boundaries born of narrow and limited perceptions and identities dissolve”.

In following sessions, Speakers shared that nurturing human values and spirituality are the secret to an unshakeable smile and their experiences that life is beautiful in spite of any challenges. Other speakers spoke of the importance of caring and sharing, and that the ability to perceive, observe, and express with clarity enhances the quality of our relationship with our Self, our families and society. Attention was drawn to the importance of humour to lighten up any situation and help one sail through difficult circumstances. They also focused on key issues like safety for women, violence against women awareness about female foeticide, education for the girl child, protecting the environment, ethical practices in business, and how to root out corruption from society. Participants got an opportunity to experience the life transforming Sudarshan Kriya, secret of Sri Sri Yoga and depth of Sahaj Samadhi Meditation during the morning sessions.

There was lively interest and participation in the Session on Making Happiness Fashionable, as a means to enhance “Gross Domestic Happiness (GDH)”. In the Session on Restoring Balance to the Cycle of Nature, courses of action were discussed to create greater awareness and sensitivity towards the environment. Lastly, in the Session “Expressing the Inexpressible: Creating Harmony between the Inner and Outer World”, participants were taken on a journey of self-discovery through music, meditation and dance.

Amongst all speakers and participants, there was great interest in and concurrence with the theme of the next International Women’s Conference that will be held in 2016; “Life: a Mystical Journey".

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What Speakers Say...

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"It is extremely essential for the women to be educated, to be employed, to be treated as human beings, where every women is given a right to live her life with dignity, the right to live her life in peace and the right to live her life in such a fashion that she can encourage others to treat everyone as equals and to provide such opportunities to men and women alike."
"I am proud to express the courageous efforts that the women of my country have made. Today the Afghan women with support from international partners, despite challenges, for example tradition, poverty and illiteracy, play their role in creating and coordinating global, regional and local relations."
"Dharma ( Righteousness) is the protector and it is our duty to protect the dharma, it is what should be the motto and that is the only way we can all resolve the conflict and make a harmonious society."
"We should remember that we couldn't make any change by using violence. Violence leads to more violence. Society itself should be open to the change and necessity of their implementation."
"We are in our own ways empowered - we are in our own ways representing different sections of the society; we have in our own ways crossed hurdles to reach where we are today."
"I say that the leaders must have personal goals and goals for the world. When they are in harmony it begins to be possible to solve social challenges.We as women need to be connected is the real objective that we should have in the world if we want to fight for women rights."
"Inner peace is requisite for outer peace. Inner peace is our responsibility and our chance. The more we discover our true human nature the stronger will be our inner peace which is the essential dimension for happiness."
"Happiness and fashion go hand in hand together.One thing that never goes out of fashion is happiness"
"Each one of you can also bring harmony- in your choice of words, in the choice of how you respect people, and if we do that, each one of us gradually, can change the world."
"I believe in sharing and giving joy. I think humour is also a very positive sense of freedom. The basic ingredient of humour is inner simplicity."