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".