Colombian President & FARC commend Sri Sri’s role in the peace process
On invitation by the Colombian president as well as the FARC leadership, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar will attend the historic signing ceremony of the peace agreement between FARC and the Colombian government in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. Over 15 heads of states from all over the world are expected to attend the event on September 26. (Sri Sri is the only spiritual leader from the East.)
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has also acknowledged Sri Sri’s efforts in the peace process, declaring: “Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and The Art of Living are heroes of peace.”
Her Excellency Ms. Monica Lanzetta Mutis, Ambassador of Colombia to India acknowledged,” In the framework of the historic peace agreement reached on the 24th of August this year by the Government of Colombia and the FARC – EP, Colombia reiterates its profound appreciation for the valuable contribution of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to the process.”
The Art of Living has been conducting humanitarian projects and programs for stress-free living throughout Latin America.
In June 2015, Sri Sri met President Juan Manuel Santos in Bogota and promised, “I would do everything that is in my capacity to bring peace to all.”
Sri Sri’s vision of a stress-free, violence-free world has guided his efforts to contribute to the resolution of the longest armed conflict in Latin America.
After his visit to Bogota, where he was also awarded by the Congress, Sri Sri flew to Havana where he had a three-day-meeting with FARC commanders. During these meetings, Sri Sri urged them to pursue the Gandhian principle of non-violence to achieve their goals. The FARC members showed reluctance in the beginning. However, on the third date of the meetings, Ivan Marquez, chief of the negotiators, declared to the press, “We hope that Colombia embraces the Gandhian principle of non-violence.”
The guerrilla leaders even attended a wisdom and meditation session guided by Sri Sri at the Indian embassy.
A week later, when the peace process was hitting a low point in their negotiations, Sri Sri urged Ivan Marquez to take a firm step towards peace, explaining that the absence of any action in this direction would have fatal consequences for human lives.
One day after his message, on July 6, 2015, Ivan Marquez and FARC secretariat declared the unilateral ceasefire. This is the only ceasefire that continued for one year and later transformed into a bilateral and definitive ceasefire. Ivan Marquez later acknowledged the influence of Sri Sri’s teachings in the ceasefire declaration.
With an aim to continue helping the FARC peace delegation, Francisco Moreno Ocampo, one of The Art of Living directors in Latin America, continued his visits to Havana. He taught the FARC leaders a breathing technique called the Sudarshan Kriya. Members of the peace delegation described the experience as “peaceful and liberating”, explaining that they felt a release of impressions and traumas (Stanford researchers proved the technique to be an effective relief for post-traumatic stress disorders.)
The Art of Living also played a key role in facilitating a forgiveness meeting between FARC leaders and the families of 12 deputies who were kidnapped, held captive and finally killed by the FARC (only one survived). During this meeting, the families of the deputies expressed they suffering to the perpetrators who said, “Today with sincere humbleness, we would like to publicly recognize our responsibility and ask for forgiveness.” The meeting ended with the families and FARC leaders holding hands in a circle and together, praying for the souls of the deceased deputies.
The Art of Living in Colombia is developing peace-building programs that will be adopted in the post-conflict period.
More information: www.artofliving.org/peaceincolombia