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Dr Gabriel Mar Gregorios to preside over spiritual congress to promote peace

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Dr Gabriel Mar Gregorios, Metropolitan of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church’s Thiruvananthapuram diocese and new President of Kerala Council of Churches, will preside over the inaugural function of a seminar on ‘Middle East Climate Change and Health Research Programme’ conducted by Santhigiri Research Foundation (SRF) in Thiruvananthapuram on September 10, Friday.

Marthoma Metropolitan Rev Philipose Mar Chrysostym will deliver the keynote address in the presence of Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church, Archbishop Clemis Catholicos, Punjab Dera Swami Jagatgiri Trust Chairman, Swami Gurudeep Giri Maharaj, Swami Prakashananda, Head of Sivagiri Mutt and Panakkad Syed Rasheed Ali Shihab Thangal.

Dr B R Shetty, Chairman and Managing Director of the UAE-based New Medical Centre (NMC) group, will inaugurate the seminar on ‘Middle East Climate Change and Health Research Programme.’

Some 250 delegates from the Gulf countries as well as Gulf returnees will participate in the one-day seminar where experts from the Middle East and Kerala will discuss in detail about the impact of climate change and the health problems it poses, the ashram officials said here on Monday.

Scientist and researchers of SRF have already initiated a study on the environmental and health issues faced by millions of workers and settlers from over 180 countries there. The conference will probe and bring out substantial solutions to this scenario, said its organising secretary Swami Gururethnam Jnana Thapaswi.

M M Hassan, former nonresident Keralaite affairs minister, will preside over the inaugural function beginning at 9 am while film star and former transport minister K B Ganesh Kumar will be the guest of honour.

This will be followed by plenary session on Approach Towards Health and Research in a Multiethnic Immigrant Society. Y Sudhir Kumar Shetty will inaugurate the session presided over by Dr G Vijayaraghavan, vice-chairman and founder-director. Dr Ritu Priya of Centre for Community Medicine, JNU, will deliver the valedictory address.

This seminar is a part of the three-day international conference on ‘Global Warming, Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Secular Spirituality’, in connection with the dedication of the lotus-shaped hermitage of the ashram’s founder Karunakara Guru which was unveiled by President Pratibha Patil last month.

Separately, representatives of more than 250 religious and spiritual organisations from across India will participate in a two-day national spiritual congress, to be inaugurated by Prajapita Brahmakumaris chief Rajayogini Dadi Janki on Friday at the ashram.
The spiritual congress will focus on the role of spirituality in promoting world peace, sustainable development, environment protection and family-and community wellbeing. The Lotus-shaped Parnasala is the final resting place for the sacred body of Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru, the founder of Santhigiri Ashram.

As part of a national-level information and invitation campaign, the representatives of the Ashram’s Sanyasi Sangh visited major nearly 500 religious, cultural and historic centers across India to invite spiritual leaders, senior monks and heads of religious organisations, he said.

The seminar is conducted with the help and cooperation by NMC Hospital, Abu Dhabi, Gulf Medical college Ajman, Indian welfare committee, UAE, Jawaharlal Nehru University’s (JNU) centre for community medicine, New Delhi, and other Government and private medical institutions in India.