"Towards Global Spiritual Concord"
In the years 1991 and 1992 many geopolitical, multi-cultural and multi-ethnical “high explosive” areas of tensions arose, primarily caused by the sudden disintegration of the former Soviet Union. In the midst of this setting, the autonomous state of Kazakhstan and its new political leadership under President Nursultan Nazarbayev asserted exceptional inter-cultural and inter-religious achievements. These accomplishments are even nowadays considered unique. One proposal of the International Association "PEACE through CULTURE" (Moscow, Europe and Kazakhstan, presented to the president and government by the local Kazakh branch of PEACE through CULTURE), which would have enormous positive influence on Kazakhstan's domestic and foreign policies, concerned the realization of a "world congress" in the former capital. The idea was to set a signal for the aspiration for "spiritual concord" of all cultures of the world: to promote the ideal of a cultural and national unifying identity.
1st World Congress 1992 in Alma-Alta: "Towards Spiritual Concord"
This proposal was already accepted in spring 1992, leading in a short time to the opening of the 1st World Congress "Towards Spiritual Concord" under leadership of the International and the Kazakh Association "PEACE through CULTURE" in Alma-Ata in October, 1992. Fortunately the world showed brisk interest in this idea: important leaders from the area of culture (primarily the world religions), but also from various domains of science presented themselves in Alma-Alta. These representatives collaborated in an outstanding fashion and laid the foundation of a new strategy for unity.
The demand for harmony and the initiation of the process of “spiritual concord” by the Kazakh government is rooted in Kazakhstan’s multi-cultural and multi-ethnical society. At the time about 115 different ethnical groups existed, which is a result of the historical position near the Silk Road. This location allowed Kazakhstan to be in a key position - even today. The culturally and socially uniting effect which the idea of “spiritual concord” brought along was recognized, actively taken up, extraordinarily supported and being put into practice stepwise by the political leadership. It is a process that lasts until today. The world congress of 1992 united spiritual and cultural leaders and representatives of social and cultural sciences from all over the globe: all-in-all about 3.500 participants, most from India, Europe, Russia and the Ukraine - 65 nations were present.
2nd World Congress 1993 in Rishikesh/India: "Towards Spiritual Concord"
The spiritual leaders from India were impressed by the idea of “spiritual concord” and its success in Kazakhstan in such a way that the 2nd World Congress "Towards Spiritual Concord" took place in Rishikesh already in 1993. The most important spiritual leaders of religious groups from India, Russia and Ukraine and from other nations came to the holy city near the Ganges.
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Instead of passive tolerance - active striving for spiritual concord in daily life
The idea of “spiritual concord” (which has – as distinct from “tolerance” (indulgence) – to be actively and dynamically put into practice in daily life) is blooming in Kazakhstan since 1992 in an extraordinary manner. As early as 1993 the government issued the law of absolute religious freedom and since then supports religious and spiritual institutions of all kind. Through this proceeding the number of cultural-ethnical groups was able to rise to 135. About 4.000 registered Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) demonstrate that Kazakhstan may call itself an extraordinarily inter-cultural and inter-ethnical country. Meanwhile the majority of other nations has problems coping with their own multi-cultural and multi-ethnical citizens. Outlawing simply leads to countless problems within the population. These are met with increasing effort but little success, causing even more negative outcomes.
18th October: "National Holiday of the Spiritual Unity"
The 18th of October was already introduced as some sort of national day in schools and cultural institutions in 1993. The day was meant to celebrate the idea of "spiritual concord" in manifold fashions. This achievement exists thanks to the efforts of many involved, including a small international workgroup of the "PEACE through CULTURE" association. This group is idealistic as well as altruistic and convinced by the idea of “improved practical ethics” for all people to achieve the common good. The implementation of practical ethics can also be understood as a service for the spiritual-cultural evolution. There must also be gratitude going to all the spiritual-religious leaders and cultural institutions from Kazakhstan and from all over the world: with their active support of the idea of “spiritual concord” and their manifold collaboration - allowing this idea to be practised and to be further developed.
1995: Kazakhstan establishes a "People’s Assembly"
The "People’s Assembly" of Kazakhstan was founded by an administrative order of the president. It was built as an advisory body and is meeting annually presided over by the president.
(web editorial team)