Addressing the delegates, the Head of State expressed deep gratitude to spiritual leaders, representatives of international organizations, politicians and experts for supporting Kazakhstan’s initiative to convene the Congress and their personal participation in its work.
- 15 years have passed since that time, as the historic first Congress was held here. Today we are gathering for the sixth time. I am pleased to see our old friends again - participants of the previous meetings. I am glad to welcome those who first arrived in Astana. This year our capital city celebrates its 20th anniversary. The Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions can be called its hallmark, since we built Astana as a Eurasian city of the future open to all cultures, the President of Kazakhstan said.
Nursultan Nazarbayev spoke about Kazakhstan’s efforts and the role of its capital in promoting the ideas of peacekeeping, partnership, tolerance and creation at the global level.
- Inter-civilization conflicts look absurd against the background of scientific and technological progress. However, it is now forming the shape of the future of mankind. In what condition we will be able to transfer our common planet to future generations - this is the key problem of the civilization. We have been living in the third millennium already for 18 years, but peace, prosperity, wealth have not become the main trend of human development. The world community could not get out of the ominous circle of mutual distrust, hostility and conflict, the Head of State noted.
The President of Kazakhstan dwelt separately on the problem of increasing geopolitical tensions and sanctions standoffs.
- New walls, new “Iron Curtains” are being built between countries and geopolitical coalitions. But the most dangerous thing is that a feeling of mutual estrangement deepens in the minds and hearts of people. Huge efforts have been made to look for reasons for rivalry instead of basis for cooperation, to create means of destroying each other instead of joint projects for the prosperity of nations, Nursultan Nazarbayev said.
The Head of State has placed greater focus on the negative consequences for humanity of the current global situation.
- Despite the rapid technological development and the growth of global wealth, the scope of social disasters continues to expand. According to the UN, 14% of the world's population is starving on a regular basis. The total number of unemployed exceeded 190 million people. This reinforces social inequality as a fueler for radicalism. Therefore, the pivotal issue is a secure and equitable peace, the President of Kazakhstan stressed.
The Head of State spoke about Kazakhstan’s experience in strengthening mutual respect, constructive cooperation of leaders of different cultures, religions and states.
- In Kazakhstan there are more than 3.5 thousand religious subjects of 18 different denominations registered. With such diversity, we were able to find a balance between ensuring national security and protecting religious freedoms. In our country, admittedly, it was possible to form a special Kazakhstan model of interfaith peace and harmony. I am sure that Kazakhstan’s best practices are completely applicable on a global scale, Nursultan Nazarbayev said.
Noting the importance of making efforts to overcome the global crisis of confidence, the President of Kazakhstan focused on certain areas for concerted efforts of the Congress participants.
- In the era of the information-oriented society, it is incumbent upon us to use all the advantages of new technologies in order to push the ideas of peace and harmony at the global level. To this end, it is proposed to create an information portal based on our Congress, the Head of State said.
The President of Kazakhstan also proposed the spiritual leaders to appeal to the world community for peace and security.
In addition, Nursultan Nazarbayev noted the importance of mainstreaming knowledge and education, as well as the need to ensure access to education.
- One cannot overcome poverty and misery without mass involvement in knowledge and sciences. It is education that is the basis of sustainable immunity to the ideas of radicalism in all its manifestations. Religious education is of vital importance. Now its platform is actively used by various pseudo-religious organizations. Therefore, world and traditional religions could carry out work on separating religious values from political ideologies, the Head of State stated.
The President of Kazakhstan called on all leaders of world and traditional religions to support the actions proposed by our country to build a world without nuclear weapons.
- Kazakhstan will continue to make every effort in dealing with issues related to regional and global security. For the joint implementation of these initiatives, I am ready to establish a Centre for Interfaith and Inter-Civilization Dialogue Development, Nursultan Nazarbayev said.
The Head of State has also informed about the decision to present the Vatican Council with the first prize of the Congress for contribution to the inter-religious dialogue. At the end of his speech, the President of Kazakhstan wished all delegates of the Congress fruitful work in the spirit of open and constructive dialogue.
At the end of the plenary session, the Head of State saw the exhibits of the Museum of Peace and Accord.