The SREI Foundation successfully organised a summit and an award function of Global Order of Dignitaries (G.O.D.) and Philanthropists, 2018, on July 28 and 29, 2018, at Westin Hotel, Kolkata, India, in association with the We Care for Humanity and Sant Nirankari Mission. The G.O.D. Awards are awarded to individuals who contribute significantly to civic and charitable endeavours and enhance the quality of life in their communities.
First day of summit and awards
The inaugural session commenced with the Indian national anthem followed by the lighting of the lamp by internationally renowned dignitaries and philanthropists. The stage was graced with delegates from all corners of the world.
The visionary behind this award function, Princess Maria introduced the programme to the audience. She mentioned how Dr. H. P. Kanoria positively influenced the lives of millions on a daily basis. She said that Dr. Kanoria epitomises humanitarianism. She expressed her gratitude to the people who supported her in her vision to implement the G.O.D - Asia programme. She also welcomed all the international delegates. Princess Maria appealed to everyone present to act as catalysts of positive change.
-Her Highness Princess Maria Amor, Founder, We Care for Humanity Chairman, G.O.D. Awards, Princess, The Royal House of Baloi.
Dr. Kanoria, emphasised helping the marginalised and the needy, in his speech. He said, “Once a beggar begged to Jesus Christ. Christ caught some fish and gave the beggar the money, which he got from selling fish. Jesus then asked the beggar to earn in the same way instead of begging.” He also added that Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa told his disciple Swami Vivekananda that “Serving humanity and mankind is the true worship of God.” He mentioned Sri Ramakrishna’s path of blissful union with God. Dr. Kanoria said that the essence of all religions is harmony, peace, humanity, compassion and sympathy.
-Dr. H. P. Kanoria, Chairman, SREI Foundation andWorld Confluence Humanity, Power and Spirituality and the Third G.O.D. Awards Honouree
Dr. Sejdiu said, “This conference and its results will, I am sure, be a strong supporting pillar and an encouragement for governments and institutions of each country and also for the international institutions in expedition of provision of qualitative solutions for problems which our societies are facing today....I come from the country where the parents of Saint Mother Teresa were born, who as a young girl entered with dedication her humanitarian mission, by taking care of the sick and the needy here in Kolkata, where she spent all her life.”
-His Excellency, Prof. Dr. Fatmir Sejdiu and the First President of Republic of Kosovo
Gulati ji expressed his gratitude on behalf of Mata Savinder Hardevji Maharaj of Sant Nirankari Mission, who was invited to participate and receive the G.O.D. Award 2018. He mentioned the vision of Sant Nirankari Mission by emphasising the value of spirituality in connection with humanity. He said, “None of us is as strong as all of us together and we can be together when we know the power of God.”
-Rev. C. L. Gulati, Secretary, Sant Nirankari Mission.
Jeff Goonewardena mentioned how ‘We Care for Humanity’ helped people in Sri Lanka during the tsunami in 2004 and had been working by supporting countries all over the world. He ensured his utmost help for humanitarianism.
-Honourable Jeff Goonewardena
Former Consul General USA, Director, Airport and Aviation of Sri Lanka and the Third G.O.D. Awards Honouree
His Royal Highness said, “I am here as I care for humanity.” Her Royal Highness proved that music can connect hearts beyond the boundaries of language. Her melodious note touched everyone in the audience.
-His Royal Highness Agamershwar Sisowath,
Prince of Cambodia
-Her Royal Highness, Souma Sisowath,
Royal of Cambodia
Ben Lai left an impact on the audience through his short and impressive speech. He said that the event saw many people from around the world gathered with one goal, one dream of changing the world to make it a better place and that was success.
President of China-US Business Association and the Second G.O.D. Awards Honouree
Dr. Raj expressed his concerns on gender discrimination and caste discrimination. He appealed to everyone not to waste food and wealth keeping in mind the deprived ones. His speech was followed by two audio visual shows on Kanoria Foundation and Sant Nirankari Mission.
-Dr. Udit Raj, Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha)
Dr. Varma concluded the inaugural session of day one by offering his vote of thanks. He said, “As soon as we will understand the importance of humanity in our daily life, the purpose of the summit will be served.”
-Dr. Rahul Varma, Vice Chairman and CEO, Acid Survivors & Women
Welfare Foundation and the Third G.O.D. Awards Honouree
A panel discussion on ‘Health, Education Children and Youth’ was held in the second session of the first day of the summit. Rev. Rakesh Mutreja, Sant Nirankari Mission, was the moderator of the discussion. Quoting Baba Hardevji Maharaj of Sant Nirankari Mission, he said, “Life lived is meaningful when it is lived for others.”
H. E. President Fatmir Sejdiu, The 1st President of the Republic of Kosovo; Jennifer Lu, Chairman, Jennifer Lu Charity Foundation, 2018 Beacon of Hope of Asia; Dr. Sheela Keswani, Chief Representative to United Nations of Sant Nirankari Mission; Dr. Ashok Gupta, Reconstructive Surgeon, Recipient of Padma Shri, Third G.O.D. Awards Honouree; Rinpoche Phurba Dorjee, Buddhist Master, Professor, Film Maker; Sajida Rahman Danny, Founder & Chairman at PFDA Vocational Training Centre; Hui Song, President Junhsue China Group, Ben Lai, President of China-US Business Association, Second G.O.D. Awards Honouree; Dr. Neelima Kamrah, Vice Principal / Honorary Registrar KIIT World School, India; Dr. Justina Mutale, Founder & President of the Justina Mutale Foundation, Founder, POSITIVE RUNWAY – were the participants of the panel discussion. The panel discussed ways to improve the health and education condition in the world and also discussed how to empower children and women of the world. The summary of the solutions and concepts stemmed up by the panellists’ discussion was – proper balancing between mind, body and soul; individual inner happiness and peace is important to spread happiness and peace among others; nurturing moral and ethical values within the social setup is primarily important; dependency on digital world and mobile phones are lessening the output of youth; practice of yoga is important for body and soul; our world should be free of caste and religious discrimination; gender equality is very important; women empowerment is needed to be taken care of; gratitude, regularity, attitude of positivity, dutifulness, dedication and ethics are the solutions.
At the end of the discussion Dr. H. P. Kanoria, a philanthropist by heart, shared his views on the subject. He said, “Education manifests the perfection. Technical, modern as well as moral education is the requirement for the employment of the youth.” He expressed his concern regarding drug addiction and increasing alcoholism. He stated, “2% of the world population is affected by addiction and alcoholism. The increasing number of alcohol shops is the biggest problem. Hence, the torture on women has been increased, particularly in rural areas.” Dr. Kanoria called for increased awareness regarding this problem.
A panel discussion on the topic of ‘Human Rights, Women and Gender Equality’ took place in the third session of the first day of the summit. Dr. Sheela Keswani, Chief Representative to United Nations for Sant Nirankari Mission, played the role of the moderator.
Honourable Governor Anuradha Koirala, Founder of Maiti Nepal, Governor of Province 3, Nepal, CNN Hero 2010; Her Highness Queen Mother Nana Abena Frempomaa II, Queen Mother of Bobin, Asante Mampong Ashanti Region, Member of Queen Mother Association, Ghana; Honourable Asif Chowdhury, Honorary Consul General of Chile to Bangladesh; Dr. Sanjana Jon, Philanthropist, Entrepreneur; Dr. Udit Raj, Honourable Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha), Chairman, Buddha Education Foundation; Dr. Anthony Raju, National President, All India Council of Human Rights Liberties and Social Justice and Dr. Rahul Varma, Vice Chairman and CEO, Acid Survivors and Women Welfare Foundation, Third G.O.D. Awards Honouree, were the panellists. The session started with the question – ‘How to empower the women of our society?’ Anuradha Koirala stated that, “Improving economic condition of the women is the way to their empowerment.” Queen Mother Nana said in her speech, “Educating women is educating the nation.” Asif Chowdhury shared his experience regarding acid attack on women in Bangladesh. He said, “We should respect equal rights and women’s dignity.” Dr. Sanjana Jon emphasised ‘safer environment for women’ and inspired women to get strength out of their struggle and use their pain as an opportunity. Dr. Anthony Raju said that inculcating values and ethics in the children could solve the problem of our society. Dr. Rahul Varma said, “The attitude of respecting women should come from within. If our thought process ascends from human thinking to the divine one, then only we can become better human beings. Then only we can respect every one. That is what the Kanoria Foundation has been trying to do by the annual conferences.” He also stated the importance of nurturing values in life and said, “It is the values which make life beautiful.”
The next question of the panel was – “What does it mean for the women to have decision making power and how does it impact families and communities for the better?” The panel concluded that the decisions taken by the women are mingled with love and affection, which are always for betterment. And where it is not working that way there we need to focus as ‘charity begins at home’ and decision making by women should be appreciated.
“What kind of measure can be taken to end the shocking reality of all kinds of slavery?” was the last question. The panellists concluded that being more human is important to eradicate slavery of all kinds. Education, awareness, implementation of humanitarianism, coming out of the box and to help others to rise is the ways to stop slavery.
The panel discussion of session – 4 was on ‘Eradication of Poverty and Health,’ which was presented by Ben Lai, President of China – US Business Association and Second G.O.D. Awards Honouree. The panellists of the discussion were – Jennifer Lu, Chairman Jennifer Lu Charity Foundation; Jeff Goonewardena, Former Consul General, USA, Director, Airport and Aviation of Sri Lanka, Third G.O.D. Awards Honouree; Prof. Arben Sulejamani, President, Bektashi Community Macedonia, Foreign Minister, World Bektashi Order; H.R.H. Prince Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar, Prince of Mewar, Udaipur, Trustee of the Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation; Dr. Mustafa Taherali Sasa, Chairman, Raj Group of Companies, Dubai Corporate Speaker, Consultant, Mentor, and Coach; Dr. Abdul Hannan Tago, Minister and Business Relations, The Royal House of Baloi; Padma Shri Dr. Ashok Gupta, Reconstructive Surgeon and Avneesh Duggal of Sant Nirankari Mission. The final word of the discussion was – “sharing.” Eradication of poverty of the soul was also emphasised. And implementation on day to day basis rather than discussion was prioritised. Jennifer Lu stated, “If you give a rose to others, the fragrance stays. So we shall enrich our mind, purify our soul and work hard with wisdom.”
The session ended with the vote of thanks offered by Dr. H. P. Kanoria. He thanked the panellists for their inspirational words. In his brief speech he said, “Every human being is perfect and divine. The divinity within them has to be harnessed.” In the context of women, he stated, “Women are the reflection of God’s love.” Regarding eradication of poverty, he emphasised self-dependency by exploring every single opportunity to earn. He inspired all to work hard and harder. Finally he quoted Swami Vivekananda, “Arise, awake and stop not till thy goal is reached.”
The Cultural Show
The evening of the first day of the session was graced by a cultural programme. A choir from the Sant Nirankari Mission performed exceedingly well. The dancers of ‘Kalamandalam’ Kolkata, presented a spectacular dance show which reflected the rich culture and heritage of India. The following fashion show was successfully led by Sanjana Jon. The entire programme was finely presented and moderated by Madhumanti Maitra.
Second day of the summit and awards
The second day of the sum1.5mit started with the India1 national anthem. A panel discussion on the topic ‘Peace and Interfaith’ took place. The session was presented by Princess Maria Amor. H.E. Fatmir Sejdiu; H.E. Ivo Josipovic, Third President of Republic of Croatia; Rev. C.L. Gulati, Dr. H. P Kanoria; Rinpoche Phurba Dorjee, Kamal Abdulrahman Khalifa, President, Arab Peace and Development Foundation; Prof. Arben Sulejmani; Gagan Malik, Indian Film Actor, Professor, Film Maker, Vice President Ahilyabai Holkar Multipurpose Education Society and Rakesh Mutreja participated in the discussion.
The panellists shared their experiences in the field of peace and interfaith. Fatmir Sejdiu said that the religious leaders should act more responsibly towards peace. Referring to the independence movement of his own country, H. E. Ivo Josipic said, “Religions are used to fight with each other. There is no bigger value for humanity than peace.” C.L Gulati of Sant Nirankari Mission said, “Once we know God, we can live successfully.” Baba Mondi Brahimaj said that his country (Albania) is a country of harmony. He said, “In our country inter religious marriages are common, but love keeps the harmony within the family. And coexistence of different religions can bring harmony and ensure better things for society.” He also said, “The Bektashi Community is 800 years old and it not only spreads love among our country Albania, but in other countries also. Our community has shown that civilisation comes from humanity. Only humans can build civilisations. My religion does not differentiate among religions. It stands for equality in every aspect. Also coming from the place where Mother Teresa is born, we follow the same path of love which she showed.”
Dr. Kanoria said, “We are forgetting that we are all in one and one in all. God created us. Science has also proved that all the souls are the parts of the universe. Even the DNA we carry in our body is the part of the universe. We all are children of God in different forms. So why are there conflicts? I am pledging for all religions and not only for Hinduism. Hinduism teaches universal acceptance and tolerance. Lord Krishna said, ‘I am in all.’ In a small family we can see differences among brothers and sisters. It is not justified to force them. The same thing applies to different communities in the world.”
He also added, “Realising the conflict all over the world, I have started World Confluence of Humanity, Power and Spirituality since 2008-2009. We all have to reach the universal soul as the rivers reach the ocean. We all have to awaken the inner power. It is not the question of empowering. But it is the question of awakening the power which we already have. We have to balance power with humanity. In the country some parts are dominated by Christianity, some by Islam and some by Hinduism. But all the religions have to balance and allow other religions to grow. The convulsion among religions inspired me to write the book “Enlightenment.” It contains the essence of all religions.” He also emphasised, “We should love all and help the poor. If we do not have the harmony, our father, God feels pain! Our duty is not to give Him pain and that should be our worship. We all are divine, but due to our wrong realisation and circumstances we forget our divinity. Our soul is immortal and body is perishable. All religions believe in rebirth. If we do good work, we will have the rebirth in a happy way. Let’s pray to God to be happy and to be auspicious!” Princess Maria particularly mentioned in the session that Dr. Kanoria’s contribution to the world peace is matchless.
The next speaker Rinpoche Phurba Dorjee said, “Let’s forget our differences and let’s think about our sameness. We live in the same planet. Just feel that we are the same human beings. We have the same common feelings and aspirations to be happy and not to suffer. That is the sameness and oneness among us. For this oneness, we feel more close to each other.” He explained, “Different religions are like different types of food, which suit different people in different ways. The aim of all religions is to achieve peace and harmony. We should respect all religions and keep harmony among all of us by nurturing positive thoughts.” Rakesh Mutreja pointed out, “The true religion is only and only mankind.”
After the first phase of discussion, dignitaries like Queen Mother Nana, the wife of First President of Kosovo, Dr. Sanjana Jon, Dr. Neelima Kamrah, Dr. Justina Mutale, Jeff Goonewardena, Jennifer Lu, representative of Thailand, joined the panel. The dignitaries contributed their experiences. The last question of the session was - “What responsibility does the media play to contribute in world peace?” The discussion concluded that media should be responsible and act positively while publishing or circulating news as it has enormous power to convince the common mass.
GOD Asia Award
The long awaited award giving ceremony was held in the evening of July 29, in presence of eminent personalities from every corner of the world. Asif Chowdhury, Honorary Consul General of Chile to Bangladesh, was the first recipient of G.O.D. Award 2018, as a ‘Humanitarian Diplomat in Asia.’ Hui Song, President Junhsue China Group received the G.O.D. Award 2018 for ‘Lifetime Achievement in Eeducation.’ Dr. Sanjana Jon received the G.O.D. Award 2018 for being the ‘Women Empowerment Icon in Asia.’ Padma Shri, Anuradha Koirala, Founder of Maiti Nepal, Governor of Province 3, Nepal, CNN Hero 2010, received the G.O.D Award 2018 for being the ‘Human Right Icon of Asia.’ H.R.H. Prince Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar, Prince of Mewar Udaipur, Trustee of the Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation received the G.O.D. Award 2018 for the ‘Culture and Arts Icon of Asia.’ Mata Savinder Hardevji Maharaj of Sant Nirankari Mission was the next recipient of G.O.D. Award 2018 as the ‘Supreme Spiritual Icon of the year.’ Due to her illness, the secretary of Sant Nirankari Mission, C. L. Gulati, accepted the award on behalf of Mataji. Jennifer Lu, Chairman, Jennifer Lu Charity Foundation, 2018, received the G.O.D. Award 2018 as ‘Beacon of Hope of Asia.’ Moon Moon Sen, Member of Parliament and philanthropist received the G.O.D. Award 2018 as the ‘Distinguished Woman of Asia.’ Queen Mother of the Kingdom of Bhutan received the G.O.D. Award 2018 for her contribution towards the people of her country. Prince of Cambodia, H.R.H. Agamershwar Sisowath, received G.O.D Award 2018 as the ‘Royal Humanitarian of Asia.’ Princess of Cambodia, H.R.H. Souma Sisowath, also received the G.O.D. 2018 as the ‘Royal Humanitarian of Asia.’ Kalamandalam, Kolkata received the G.O.D. Award 2018, as the ‘Cultural Institution of Asia.’ Guru Thankamani Kutti, the director of the international dance institution received the prestigious award. Rajkumar Badole, Minister, Department of Social Justice and Special Assistance, Government of Maharashtra, also received the G.O.D. Award 2018. The award ceremony concluded with speeches of the award recipients and was followed by a well performed cultural show.