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India: International interfaith harmony conference in Goa

Society of Pilar, an indigenous missionary congregation in Goa, western India, organizes "Sadbhav Sammelan" (an interfaith conference), a unique two-day international interfaith conference to promote harmony, on February 17 and 18 at the Pilar Pilgrim Center, Pilar, Goa.

The goal is to foster interfaith relations and communal harmony, said Father Elvis Fernandes, the organizer of the Conference and a member of the Society of Pilar.

"'Sadbhav' is thrilled to invite such luminaries to the conference and awaits passionate participation from all those who cherish the noble understanding of "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (the whole world is one family)" he said.

It is a first-of-its-kind endeavor of the Society of Pilar to foster inter-religious dialogue, harmony, solidarity, and fellowship.

Other organizing members include Father Agnel College, Pilar; Nirmala Institute of Education, Panjim, Carmel College, Nuvem; Rosary College, Navelim; and St. Andrew’s Center for Philosophy, Mumbai, which are organizing "Sadbhav Sammelan."

This conference will bring students, educators, peace activists, and faith leaders together to promote the idea of peaceful coexistence and harmonious living through paper presentations, workshops, art, poetry, music, and performances.

Some of the most prominent speakers include Rajendra Pandurang Kerkar, folklore researcher and environmentalist; Irfan Engineer, Director, of the Center for Study of Society and Secularism; Dr. Subodh Kerkar, Founding Director of Museum of Goa; Dr. Omkar Bhatkar, Co-founder and Head, St. Andrews Center for Philosophy and Performing Arts, Mumbai; Victor Hugo, founder Goa Chitra Museum; Dr. Agnelo Pinhero, faith leader; Tallulah D’Silva, environment and social activists; Prof. Kishu Daswani, professor at Government Law College, Mumbai, and a Global Peace Index Ambassador; Dr. Francis Carvalho, cultural anthropologist; Dr. Tanmay Sharma, Sociologist; Dr. Ivon Almeida, Interfaith Dialogue educator; Father Anand Mathew, peace and cultural activist; Smitha Bhandare Kamat, educationist and cartoonist; Kiran Bhat, author and polyglot,  to name a few.

An exciting part of the conference is the staging of dramas during the conference on themes of harmony, peace, and unity in diversity by Prerna Kala Manch, from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.

Prerna Kala Manch is a theatrical wing of Vishwa Jyoti Communications, Varanasi, established in 1993 by Father Anil Dev, a social activist and a member of the Indian Missionary Society.

The same theater group will be staging ‘Amaanat," a national award-winning Hindi play, on Sunday, February 19, at 10.30 a.m., in the Pilar Seminary Annexe Hall, Pilar Goa.


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