Plater College conference invited to Russia

 Following the success of an interfaith conference on globalisation at Plater College, Oxford this summer, the organisers have been invited to stage one next year in St Petersburg, Russia. More than 60 people from around the world attended the week-long conference in July. Subjects covered included: building global inter-faith consensus for peace; Islam and the west; science and spirituality; faith, hope and property rights; religious co-operation or confrontation?; sacred earth and social development; psychology of religion, media, ethics and globalisation, religion and capitalism; monetary justice, fair trade, militarisation; religious traditions, global dialogue and global co-existence; values and religious responsibility; social inclusion, e-democracy. Dr Kamran Mofid, convener, writes: 'The conference began with a presentation by Sir Sigmund Sternberg, Patron, International Council of Christians and Jews, and ended with an open forum on Religion, Spirituality, Ethics and Globalisation: The Way Forward. 'Throughout the conference, we observed and debated that there are two forces at work in society, the material and the spiritual. When either of these two halves are ignored or neglected, society tends inevitably to run down and become fragmented, divisions and rifts manifest with greater force and frequency. Only the reawakening of the human spirit, love and compassion will save us from our own worst extreme. Physical wealth must once again go hand in hand with spiritual, moral and ethical wealth. 'It was noted that, the greed-motivated world is spinning out of control. Maybe it is time for us to redefine our values. We observed that by far the best critique of this 'greed' is provided by the traditional religions of Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam as well as others, such as Sikhism, Sufism, Zoroastrians, Baha'is and the 'primitive' animist religions of the Mayas of Central America, Aborigines from Australia, Maoris from New Zealand and native peoples from Africa, Canada and the US. They all offer a wealth of teachings and recommendations as to how we should ethically and morally lead our lives, and how we can achieve happiness away from greed and delusion. 'Finally, we noted that, as it appears the limited benefits of globalisation has been mainly based on economics, while other equally important aspects of life have remained, much neglected: values such as faith, spirituality, justice, love, compassion, sympathy, empathy and co-operation. 'We decided we should not reject economics, politics and business but should work hard to achieve globalisation for the common good, where everybody benefits from trade, business and commerce. This, we believe, will coincide with God's vision of His kingdom, in which the leading perspective is not the profit of the fittest, but a level playing field for all.' Next year's conference takes place from April 25-30 in St Petersburg, Russia which will be celebrating its 300th anniversary. For more information, contact:

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