NUR-SULTAN – Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev proposed to build a new international security system based on humanistic ideals using world religions as a template as he addressed the seventh Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in Nur-Sultan on Sept. 14.
The two-day congress, convened for the first time in 2003, brought some of the world’s most prominent religious leaders, including Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of al-Azhar Ahmed El-Tayeb, who together plan to try charting a path for global peace.
“The Kazakh land has been a bridge between the West and the East for centuries,” the President said in his opening remarks. Kazakhstan has been at the crossroad of major world religions, confirmed by numerous ancient monuments – the heritage of early Muslim, Christian, and Buddhist communities.
“Strengthening dialogue and cooperation in our country and around the world is an important part of Kazakhstan’s policy. Today’s congress is a clear manifestation of that,” said the President.
President Tokayev attributed increasing conflict and tension in different parts of the world to the “collapsing previous system of international security.”
“Unfortunately, tension, mutual distrust, and even hostility are returning to international relations. What can we rely on to counter today’s challenges? History provides only one answer – goodwill, dialogue, and cooperation,” said Tokayev, highlighting the importance of the fundamental ideas behind world religions.
He urged the congress participants to establish the basic principles of traditional religions, such as the sacred value of human life, mutual support, and the rejection of destructive rivalry and hostility as the basis of a new world system.
The challenge for the world is to establish practical steps in societies to ensure peace and resolve any disputes through negotiations and dialogue, according to Tokayev.
“Threats, sanctions, and the use of force do not solve problems,” said Tokayev. “At such moments we must turn to humanistic ideals. Their main custodians are, of course, traditional religions.”
Highlighting the crucial role of spiritual leaders, Tokayev said that “while politicians argue, spiritual leaders desire and seek to draw closer together.”
“To build a new system of international security, we all need a new global movement for peace. I believe the role of spiritual leaders in this matter is paramount,” he said.
The President informed the conference audience of the significant political reforms in Kazakhstan. “Today, Kazakhstan has embarked on an ambitious program of reforms. Their success largely depends on the solidarity of our multi-ethnic and multi-confessional nation as well as the peace and harmony in our land. We are building Fair Kazakhstan to make our state effective and prosperous,” said Tokayev.
The congress will continue today and tomorrow with panel sessions focusing on a wide array of issues facing the world.