September 23, 2018
Leuven, Belgium–The Third General Assembly of Lumbini-Kapilvastu Global Campaign (LKGC) was held on Saturday, the 22nd September 2018 at 30CC/Culture Centre in Leuven, Belgium. The LKGC is a global movement aimed at promoting peace and non-violence messages of Lord Buddha and highlighting Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha as a World Peace City.
LKGC Belgium executive board member Mrs Rashmi Niroula hosted the opening session of the assembly under the chairmanship of the president of LKGC Belgium, Mr. Damodar Prasad Acharya. More than 50 participants representing various organizations attended the opening session including following guests:
- Mr. Carl Devlies, Former State Secretary for Coordination of Fraud Prevention and Councillor of Finance of Leuven Municipality, Belgium.
- Mrs. Els Van Hoof, former senator and federal parliament member, Belgium.
- His Excellency Mr. Rodney Perera, the ambassador of Sri Lanka to Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union.
- Mr Sudhir Bhattarai, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Nepal in Belgium.
- Mr. Stephan Lampe, Manager of South Asia Democratic Forum, Brussels, Belgium.
- Mrs Pratistha Karki, Assistant Master in Dharma and President of Byoma Kusuma Buddha Dharma Sangh, UK.
- Ms Diana Minten, Board Member, Active Intercultural Federation, Belgium.
- Mr Dirk Vansina, Councillor of Civil Affairs and Tourism of Leuven Municipality.
Dr. Rajendra Bari, an executive board member of LKGC Belgium welcomed all participants to the assembly and presented interesting global facts on poverty, violence and mental health. He mentioned that the need to promote peace and non-violence or address mental health is higher than ever before. Therefore, LKGC activities are important to promote peace and non-violence. Dr. Bari also presented some quotes from Budhha that can help to cope with some of the challenges we face today.
Speaking during the program, Mr. Carl Devlies, shared the view of more than 450 million followers and admirers of Budhha. Mr. Devlies appreciated the activities of LKGC and the cooperation among Nepalese community in Belgium. He mentioned that learning from Buddha’s teachings helps to develop peaceful future perspectives and supports active citizenship.
Mrs. Els Van Hoof has been actively supporting the activities of LKGC in Belgium. She mentioned that Nepalese community in Belgium maintains the culture of peace and non-violence taught by Budhha and is involved in entrepreneurial activities. Mrs Van Hoof indicated that there is a need to promote exchange between Nepalese and Belgian cultures to bring out best of both worlds. In this regard, there is a plan to announce official initiatives from the government next month.
Mr Sudhir Bhattarai expressed his support and appreciation of LKGC activities. In addition, he emphasized the continued cooperation between LKGC and Embassy of Nepal in Belgium to carry our such activities in future. International recognition of Lumbini as World Peace City as well as Buddha’s birth place city is important to spread Buddha’s messages to the world.
Mr. Stephan Lampe mentioned that teachings of Budhha on peace and non-violence is more relevant now than ever before because of the need to promote such activities in many countries around the world. He expressed full support on various LKGC activities and wished for good cooperation with South Asia Democratic Forum in future.
During the program, Mrs. Pratistha Karki gave an interesting talk entitled “what it means to be a Buddhist?”. She explained the importance of the knowledge gained from Buddha’s teachings and how to apply in everyday life. Ms Diana Minten appreciated the work conducted by LKGC and expressed her support in the future.
An overview of past LKGC Belgium activities was presented by Dr. Rajendra Bari with a set of power point slides and Buddha Prayer music which was very interesting. Global Coordinator of LKGC, Mr Ram Kumar Shrestha sent his message from Australia which was read by Dr. Rajendra Bari. Mr. Shrestha emphasized that Nepal is an enchanting land of height (Mt. Everest) and light (Peace symbol Lord Buddha), and provided several examples of LKGC activities aimed at supporting world peace movement, reinforce democracy and protect human rights.
Invited guests, who could not participate in the assembly because of other engagements, extended their best wishes for the event. These guests include – Mr. Koen Geens (Minister of Justice, Belgian Federal Cabinet), Mr. Paolo Fontani (Director of the UNESCO Liaison Office in Brussels), Mr Martin Kotthaus (the ambassador of Germany to Belgium) and Mrs Denise Vandevoort (Councillor of culture, part-time artistic education, equal opportunities, diversity and North-South operations in Leuven).
In the concluding remarks, Mr Damodar Prasad Acharya shed some light on Buddha’s life, enlightenment and teachings to promote the message of peace and non-violence. In addition, he emphasized the importance of Lumbini, the birth place of Buddha, as a World Peace city. Finally, Mr Acharya concluded the opening session of the third General Assembly of LKGC Belgium by expressing gratitude towards all guests for their participation and thanking all participants for their contribution to the assembly.