H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser
The High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
The International Day of Yoga
Lincoln Center New York- June 21, 2015
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is with great pleasure that I join all of you today in celebration of International YOGA Day. First, I would like to highlight the initiative of the Government of India and specially, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in giving prominence to yoga practice as a tool to overall well-being, both physical and emotional.
I am also delighted the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations has found valuable partners in both the Global Citizenship Forum and Universal Peace Federation. I am happy with our cooperation with these two organizations in our search for solutions to global problems.
In December 2014, the United Nations General Assembly supported the efforts of the Government of India and proclaimed June 21 as the International Yoga Day.
In doing so, the General assembly recognized the universal benefits of this timeless practice and its inherent compatibility with the principles and values of the United Nations. In fact, global health is a long-term developmental objective, which requires closer international cooperation through the exchange of best practices aimed at building better individual lifestyles, which are devoid of excesses of all kinds.
For centuries, people from all walks of life have practiced yoga, recognizing its unique embodiment of unity between mind and body.
The necessity to pursue a multilateral agenda of peace through sports and other forms of human expressions, remain one of the prime fields of action of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.
With that in mind, I was very keen on including music and art as a complementary component in the agenda of the meetings of the Alliance Group of Friends.
It is essential to recognize and foster the oneness among people and civilizations by finding the common threads of what makes us human beings and strengthening those beyond all boundaries. We would like to see a world where the UNITY of mankind can be celebrated, while discrimination and extremism comes to an end. Where cultures and religions are brought together in friendship and understanding.
I strongly believe in the power of yoga to contribute to the now pressing Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda. One of the core goals of the agenda is the promotion of peaceful, inclusive, safe and resilient societies.
This confidence was reinforced earlier today, when hundreds of men and women, from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds, gathering to advocate the universal values of Yoga here in New York in Time Square. And even earlier in the day during the celebration of the International Yoga Day at the United Nations Headquarters, which demonstrated how Yoga can bring communities together in an inclusive manner that generates respect. The experience emphasize the key role yoga can play in bridging the cultural and religious gaps among people. The spiritual experience reached through this practice, regardless of one’s religious denomination, can lead to promoting harmony and peace at all levels of societies, and thus help advancing safe and peaceful societies.
Concluding, let me say this: international cooperation is not only needed to build better lifestyles, but rather the building of a better individual consciousness as well as global consciousness , essential to the well-being of the modern world.
Let us all aim at unity for this inspired celebration of the international day of YOGA.
Thank you. NAMASTE