Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

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His vision of  a violence-free, stress-free society through the reawakening of  human values has inspired millions to broaden their spheres of  responsibility and work towards the betterment of  the world. Sri Sri is a multi-faceted social activist whose initiatives include conflict resolution, disaster and trauma relief, poverty alleviation, empowerment of  women, prisoner rehabilitation, education for all and campaigns against female foeticide and child labour. He is engaged in peace negotiations and counselling in conflict zones around the world. His expertise in bringing opposing parties to the negotiating table in areas such as Sri Lanka, Iraq, the Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Kashmir and Bihar is widely acknowledged.

In 1981, Sri Sri established the Art of  Living, an educational and humanitarian Non-Governmental Organisation that works in special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of  the United Nations. Present in 152 countries, it formulates and implements lasting solutions to conflicts and issues faced by individuals, communities and nations. In 1997, Sri Sri founded the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) to foster human values and lead sustainable development projects.

Sri Sri has reached out to an estimated 370 million people worldwide through personal interactions, public events, teachings, Art of  Living workshops and humanitarian initiatives. Not since Mahatma Gandhi has one person united people of  different traditions and faiths into a spiritual communion across the length and breadth of  India.

He has brought to the masses ancient practices which were traditionally kept exclusive, and has designed many self-development techniques which can easily be integrated into daily life to calm the mind and instil confidence and enthusiasm. These techniques have helped thousands overcome depression and violent and suicidal tendencies. One of  Sri Sri’s most unique offerings to the world is the Sudarshan Kriya, a powerful breathing technique that facilitates physical, mental, emotional and social well-being.

Numerous honours have been bestowed upon Sri Sri, including the Order of  the Pole Star (the highest state honour in Mongolia), the Peter the Great Award (Russian Federation), the Sant Shri Dnyaneshwara World Peace Prize (India) and the Global Humanitarian Award (USA). Sri Sri has addressed several international forums, including the United Nations Millennium World Peace Summit (2000), the World Economic Forum (2001, 2003) and several parliaments across the globe.

He was appointed the Chairman of  Reception Committee for the 500th anniversary celebrations of  the Coronation of  Krishnadevaraya (by Government of  Karnataka, India). Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is also a member of  the Amarnath Shrine Board (appointed by Government of  Jammu and Kashmir, India).

Sri Sri travels to nearly 40 countries every year, exemplifying his call to globalise wisdom. His universal and simple message is that love and wisdom can prevail over hatred and distress.

Sri Sri is engaged in bridging religious, social, ideological and economic divides in society by enlivening the ancient Indian ideal of  Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (One World Family). He reminds us that diverse traditions and cultures have their roots in the same basic human values of  peace, compassion, truth, belongingness and

non - violence. The Art of  Living serves society with a non-denominational, secular and holistic approach.

In February 2006, at the Art of  Living Foundation’s 25th anniversary celebrations in Bangalore, India, an estimated 2.5 million people from 151 countries gathered to celebrate the spirit of  service and togetherness. The historic gathering included 1,000 leaders from ten main religious traditions of  the world and 750 key political figures from various countries. It was the largest recorded meditation for world peace in history.

Sri Sri was central to the opening ceremony for the largest and most diverse multi - faith gathering of  religious and spiritual communities in the world, The Parliament of  the World’s Religions in Melbourne in December 2009. He urged people and communities of  faith, spirit and goodwill to “Make a World of  Difference” in the midst of  the challenges facing the global community. In March 2007, the Universal Declaration of  Human Values, authored by Sri Sri, was unveiled at the John F Kennedy Centre for Performing Arts in Washington DC. This document, in the form of  a proposed resolution of  the General Assembly of  the United Nations, represents Sri Sri’s vision for a fresh approach to fostering understanding and harmonious coexistence between different peoples and cultures.

In January 2005, Sri Sri gave the keynote address at the First World Congress of  Imams and Rabbis for Peace held in Brussels.

Sri Sri has hosted and facilitated several dialogues and  reconciliation events between different caste groups in various parts of  India. In 2002, he hosted a three-day conference at the Art of  Living International Centre in Bangalore to showcase then contribution of  Dalits to the rich heritage of  India.

Respected as a neutral party with unquestionable integrity, Sri Sri has inspired many groups to adopt peaceful means to resolve conflicts. He has engaged all the stake holders in the peace process in areas such as Sri Lanka, the Balkans, Iraq, Kashmir, Israel, Lebanon and the Ivory Coast. Trauma relief  programmes have been

conducted extensively in these areas to help individuals release negative emotions such as anger from the past, revenge and frustration, which can hamper the peaceful resolution of  disputes.

Sri Sri convened the South Asia Peace and Reconciliation Conference in Oslo in April 2008. Sri Sri was appointed the Chairman of  the Reception Committee for the 500th anniversary celebrations of  the Coronation of  Krishnadevaraya (by Government of Karnataka, India). Sri Sri is also a member of  the Amarnath Shrine Board (appointed by Government of  Jammu and Kashmir, India). “Pluralism and embracing people of  all cultures should be part of  our education,” said Sri Sri at the Presidential Conference entitled ‘Facing Tomorrow 2009’, in Jerusalem. “The Middle East crisis can be solved through educating people with a multi cultural, multi religious and broader spectrum of  knowledge,” he said.

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