Bengaluru, Oct. 17: Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has been invited to speak at the French Parliament in Paris, France, and will address the two Houses, the National Assembly and the Senate, separately on October 18 and 19 respectively.
Sri Sri, credited with helping strike the now-failed Columbian peace deal, for which that country's president was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize this year, was invited to address the French Parliament by Paul Giacobbi, president of the India-France Parliamentary group, and François Marc, president of the India-France Group of Senators.
The Art of Living founder's speeches, who will become the first Indian to address both houses of the French Parliament, will focus on conflict resolution and inter-confessional and inter-cultural dialogue. He will answer questions from French MPs after the sessions, a statement from AoL said.
Sri Sri will also deliver a keynote address on 'Ethics for a globalised and sustainable economy' at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
In May this year, former British Prime Minister David Cameron had invited him to address the House of Commons in London.
The address to the French Parliament is significant. France, where terrorists killed some 130 people in a ghastly attack in Paris last November, continues to be a target for the Islamic State.
"The ground work that has been done by Gurudev (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar) in France provides concrete solutions to the current French problems like social integration. The very fact that both the assemblies of Parliament are keen to hear Sri Sri speak on the current problems of France is a strong indication that the parliamentarians are looking for solutions in the direction of peace and harmony. To receive a spiritual leader without a political mandate is a big step in recognizing the potential of the soft power of India," AoL-France Executive Director Serge Michenaud said in a statement.
The Art of Living has been active for decades in France, its youth leadership programs helping troubled youth from Paris suburbs to reshape their lives and careers. Yoga and meditation-based programs conducted by the Art of Living have had tremendous positive effect on radicalized youth in French prisons, and appreciated deeply by the authorities, the AoL statement said.
After Paris, Sri Sri is slated to visit Poland, Sweden and Norway, addressing public programs in these countries. He is scheduled to deliver on October 23, the keynote address at the Peace Conference in the Norwegian Parliament hosted by Member of National Parliament Ms. Sylv Graham. The Sweden and Norway speeches may be of greater significance personally for Sri Sri. The Nobel Prize is given away by Swedish and Norwegian institutions. The Nobel Peace Prize, in particular, is awarded each year in Norway.