Jonathan Granoff | International conference “Spiritual Renewal is the Path to Prosperity and Harmony”, Astana, October 17-18, 2017
Jonathan Granoff is an attorney, author, professor of international law and advocate emphasizing the legal, ethical and spiritual dimensions of human development and security, focusing on advancing the rule of law to address the threats posed by nuclear weapons. He is president of the Global Security Institute, Co-Chair American Bar Association (ABA) International Law Section’s Task Force on Nuclear Non-proliferation, Ambassador for Peace, Security and Nuclear Disarmament of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, and UN Representative of Permanent Secretariat of the World Summits of Nobel Peace Laureates. He serves on numerous governing and advisory boards including: Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, Fortune Forum, Jane Goodall Institute, and Middle Powers Initiative. He is a fellow in the World Academy of Art and Science, and the award-winning screenwriter of The Constitution: The Document that Created a Nation. He has articles in more than 50 publications and books including: The Sovereignty Revolution, Toward a Nuclear Weapons Free World, Imagining Tomorrow, Analyzing Moral Issues, Perspectives on 911, Toward a World In Balance, Reverence for Life Revisited, and Hold Hope, Wage Peace. See: www.gsinstitute.org, www.nobelpeacesummit.com,
Twenty five years ago a vision for a better world was spiritually gifted to this nation and the world through the awakend heart of my dear friend Tolegan Mukhamejanov. Recognizing the rich diversity of cultures, languages, religions, and styles here in Kazakhstan, he began like the great musician he is, to seek notes of harmony amongst the richness and variety of human expression in this great country and today we celebrate a symphony of good will, unity and progress within that diversity. He stimulated the yearly celebration of spiritual concord, which is now a national landmark event, where the many expressions of the heart are celebrated at the local and national level. It is a testament to the political and cultural leadership of Kazakhstan, the tolerant spirit of its people, and the sophistication and leadership of President Nazarbayev that this initiative thrives.
I have had the privilege of working with him and an international group of leaders on an initiative to take what is being celebrated at here and offer it to the entire world. Let me share portions of the Vision Statement of the World Forum of Spiritual Culture, which arose here in Astana from the same spirit as this Jubilee Celebration.
World Forum of Spiritual Culture
We are grateful for the gift of life. We are aware that today irresponsible uses of science, technology, and social organization are threatening to destroy the living systems upon which civilization depends. We have placed the health of the oceans, the climate, and even the very lungs of the planet, the rainforests, at risk. In the pursuit of security states still threaten global annihilation with nuclear weapons.
We believe that part of the solution is the invigoration of spiritual culture. Spiritual culture is the expression of our highest values. In order to inspire heart and minds to work in harmony we state our basic beliefs.
The human family is one. We are all sustained by the same immeasurable power of life – regardless of nationality, race, religion, gender, or ethnicity. This power gives us the qualities of love and compassion and the capacity to know ourselves, nurture and protect the natural world, express beauty, pursue justice, and establish institutions to honor this sacred power living in every person.
Diversity strengthens nations and demonstrates the creative capacity of the spirit.
Every person is unique and must be respected as an individual. Different nations and religions have unique points of view, which similarly deserve respect. It takes many different colored flowers to have a beautiful garden, many different notes to achieve harmony, and many different points of view to enrich culture.
We are part of a growing global culture based on material productivity. Material wealth alone is not sufficient to neither satisfy humanity's purposes nor bring stability. We must also honor the sacred dimension of human beings. It is from this spiritual well-spring that our highest values emerge. Well-being and happiness are the result of living these spiritual values.
These values are the basis for human dignity and human rights, peace and harmony amongst nations and peoples, and justice and the rule of law.
Every human being is blessed with an ineffable power which cannot be measured. Without this power the body decomposes. This power cannot be known by the senses nor controlled by science or technology. It bestows life and consciousness on each individual and connects us with the infinite source of all being and all individual beings as well. Without honoring this power human life is wasted.
It is honored when we treat other lives as we wish to be treated. It is honored when we live in harmony with the natural world and respect and love one another. It is disgraced when we resort to the arrogant quest to dominate each other and exploit the natural world without caring for future generations who might also be blessed by this power. With these spiritual values we have the opportunity for higher levels of individual fulfillment, national stability, and global cooperation. These goods are required to pass on a sustainable future to our children.
We are committed to bringing universally inspiring spiritual values expressed in spiritual culture into greater prominence and using them to guide our personal lives and the institutions in which we live. We commit to these purposes and invite all to join us.
This illuminated attitude coming from the deepest heart of humanity is finding expression in many places today. We know that we are on the threshold of a new level of human unity or a chaos of devastation without precedent. The divisions amongst us are simply too dangerous in the modern world where nuclear weapons could end civilization in an afternoon and a failure to find new levels of cooperation will preclude our protecting the climate, oceans and nature sufficiently. We need laws for this and laws without ethical and moral foundations lead to tyranny, while law based on justice, compassion, and wisdom brings peace and thriving.
These values recently found expression in a document adopted by the Nobel Peace Laureates who gathered in Bogato, Colombia earlier this year to lend their support to President Santos in ending a decades long civil war. Note how it resonates with this celebration here in Central Asia.
THE COLOMBIA CHARTER
– 10 principles for Peace –
Without ideals and values, human conduct lacks a compass
1. PEACE IS A RIGHT: Peace is the birthright of every
individual and the supreme right of humanity.
2. WE ARE ONE: Humanity is one family, sharing the gift
of life together on this fragile planet. What happens to one of
us happens to all of us.
3. WE ARE DIVERSE: Our humanity is enriched by
diversity. This is a treasure that we all must honor and
4. WE HAVE TO FOLLOW THE GOLDEN RULE: The
moral principle of treating others as one wants to be treated
must be applied not only to personal conduct but also to the
conduct of religions and nations.
5. WE MUST AVOID WAR: War shreds the fabric of human
community and represents a failure of our humanity.
6. WE MUST BE LEGAL AND JUST: World peace and
stability require adherence to and respect for International
Law, including International Human Rights Law and
International Humanitarian Law. Lasting peace can only be
achieved if it is based on social justice.
7. WE SHOULD TALK: Whenever it is possible, conflicts
should be ended through dialogue. The international
community has to validate effective measures to prevent
and limit wars.
8. WE HAVE TO RESPECT EACH OTHER: Even in
conflict, an enemy must be recognized as a human being
entitled to respect, and their motivations must be
understood. The pursuit of the total elimination or
humiliation of the adversary is the seed of more violence in
9. WE HAVE TO EDUCATE: We have to promote tolerance,
solidarity, compassion, and respect for differences and
minority rights in order to create a global culture of peace.
Education based on these values must be implemented
throughout the world.
10. WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND: All lives are as valuable
as one’s own. If we understand this with our hearts and our
minds, we will build and keep peace in the world for us, for
our children and the generations to come.
This past month a global interfaith initiative of spiritual leaders of all the major religions advanced the Peace Pledge Project to affirm the most universal foundation of our common humanity. They gathered at the Peace Palace in the Hague, Netherlands, where one finds the International Court of Justice as well as the International Criminal Court. The Project is challenging us all to put Loving Kindness and Compassion as a compass for our lives.
THE PEACE PLEDGE TO LIVE
LOVING-KINDNESS AND COMPASSION
The journey of life is a pilgrimage;
beautiful qualities are a compass.
Intending to advance PEACE and HARMONY in our personal lives and in the world, we affirm the following:
We commit to treat all lives with LOVING-KINDNESS and COMPASSION.
We reject the distortions of religious, national, and racial prejudice, which are used to violate the Golden Rule to treat others as we wish to be treated.
We respect the diversity of ways people pursue their individual ideals.
We challenge the misuse of beliefs, rites, rituals, practices, philosophies, and traditions used to degrade anyone or which lead to violence. We affirm the necessity of bringing LOVING-KINDNESS and COMPASSION into action.
Through such actions, we seek to improve the relationships of people -- one nation to another, one religion to another, one belief system to another, one gender to another, a one race to another, and one person to another.
We call upon all people of good will to join this pledge:
We pledge that in all we intend, think, and do, we shall strive to bring LOVING-KINDNESS and COMPASSION into action and into the lives of all we meet.
There are fools who think that ignoring the values that spring from the very soul of our humanity can be ignored in the quest for peace amongst nations and sustainable development. They believe that in forming public policy the practical and the moral can be divided. Surely policies that are not practical cannot work well but a policy that appears reasonable and practical that is not moral will become improved means to an unimproved end – nuclear weapons represent the ultimate expression of such a distortion.
Such folly has always led to the love of power rather than the power of love. It is only the power of love that uplifts and brings us together with each other and the mystery of life itself. It enlivens the intellect and stimulates creativity in art and science. It is the power that binds families, communities and nations to live in harmony. It informs us: we are melting the polar ice cap but we can also learn to melt the heart.