NEW YORK -- Organizers of the World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders are issuing a call for people around the globe to participate in a day of prayer for world peace Monday by joining the summit's 1,000 expected religious leaders in prayers for peace, tolerance and understanding.
The prayers will occur on the summit's opening day as the leaders of the world's great faith traditions fill the halls of the United Nations with prayers for peace.
For the first time in history, religious and spiritual leaders of the world's diverse faith traditions will come together in New York to discuss how to forge a partnership of peace with the United Nations. The goal of the religious summit is to identify ways that the worldwide religious and spiritual communities can work together as interfaith allies with the United Nations on specific peace, poverty and environmental initiatives.
To support and extend the efforts of these religious leaders who are uniting to further the peace process, the summit has proclaimed Monday as the Day of Prayer for World Peace.
"We are asking for people around the world, at any time during the day, to gather in their houses of worship, businesses, streets or homes to join these religious leaders as they enter the U.N. and gather in prayer for peace," said the summit's secretary-general Bawa Jain.
A portion of the day's events will include Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Buddhist monk who has long been at the forefront of contemplative activism, leading a walking meditation for world peace from 3:30 to 4 p.m. EST.
An online guided mediation on peace and forgiveness, using excerpts from Thich Nhat Hanh's teachings, will be able on Beliefnet.com. Beliefnet.com is the official Web partner of the World Peace Summit.
Walking meditation is an ancient form of Buddhist practice associated with achieving mindfulness, calm and clarity. In the context of the Day of Prayer for World Peace, summit organizers said the meditation also will symbolize a gentle, contemplative journey toward the goal of world peace.
During the Vietnam War, Thich Nhat Hanh worked tirelessly for reconciliation between North and South Vietnam. His lifelong efforts to foster peace moved Martin Luther King Jr. to nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967.
At the religious summit, all regions of the world will be represented, as will the major faith traditions of Bahai, Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Indigenous, Islan, Jainism, Judaism, Shinto, Sikhism, Taoism and Zoroastrianism.
The summit will bring together recognized religious and spiritual figures to discuss the roles they can play in reducing religious tensions. Anticipated outcomes of the summit are a declaration for world peace and plans for the establishment of an ongoing International Advisory Council of Religious and Spiritual Leaders that can serve as a resource for the U.N. secretary-general and the U.N. system in its conflict prevention and resolution efforts.
The summit is being organized by an independent group of interfaith leaders, religious scholars and theologians.
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