International Peace Ambassador and Art of Living Founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Non-violent Lessons Yield Results in the Colombian Conflict

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FARC and the Colombian Government Sign Historic Peace Deal on One Year Anniversary of Cease-fire

International Peace Ambassador Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Non-violent Lessons Yield Results in the Colombian Conflict

Colombia's government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels signed a historic ceasefire agreement on June 23, ending one of the world’s longest-running conflicts.

Last June, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of The Art of Living, traveled to Colombia and Cuba to help end the 52-year long war between the Colombian government and the rebel group FARC. He first met with Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos in Bogota, Colombia and then held intensive peace talks with the FARC peace delegation led by Ivan Marquez in Havana, Cuba. During these meetings Sri Sri Ravi Shankar insisted that the communication gap needed to be bridged and both parties should adopt the Gandhian principle of non-violence and put social justice in the forefront.

In a joint press conference together, held exactly one year ago, on June 28, 2015, FARC and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar openly declared their desire for Colombia to embrace the Gandhian principles of non-violence. Shortly after, the FARC announced a unilateral cease-fire starting on July 20, 2015, which was the historic breakthrough in the lengthy peace negotiations. The peace talk facilitated by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar eventually led to the signing of the bilateral cease-fire deal between the Colombian government and the FARC last week in Havana.

“I met with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Bogota in June of last year and I had the great joy of speaking with him about the efforts we are making in our country to end an internal armed conflict that has lasted for more than 50 years,” said Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos in a video statement. “Later on, with my consent, he met in Havana with the negotiators of the FARC guerillas and urged them to follow the Gandhian principle of non-violence and to cultivate the art of meditation and breathing. Today, I want to thank him for this effort,” Santos added further.

In recognition of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s efforts, The Republic of Colombia awarded Sri Sri Ravi Shankar with the “Simón Bolivar Order,” the highest civilian award, for his peace work and efforts in Colombia.

“Let us thank and acknowledge Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for his humanitarian concern and solidarity to put an end to the longest armed conflict in our America,” Ivan Marquez, Chief Negotiator of FARC, said in a video statement. “His meeting in Havana with the peace delegation of the FARC has motivated us to search in every possible way the path that takes Colombia to its encounter with the Gandhian principle of non-violence.”

“With the help of Sri Sri, we have placed our spirit to achieve reconciliation and coexistence of a big and benevolent country whose destiny cannot be that of the war,” Marquez said. “The teachings of The Art of Living are essential to achieve a stable and long lasting peace. We hope that the peace of Colombia serves as a source of inspiration for the world.”

About Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Born in India in 1956, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a revered global humanitarian and an ambassador of peace. His mission of uniting the world into a violence-free global family has inspired millions of people worldwide to work towards sustainable peace. Sri Sri is the recipient of numerous awards, including honorary doctorates and state honors. He is the founder of the Art of Living Foundation (1981) and the International Association for Human Values (1997), both UN accredited NGOs active in 155 countries. He is also the founder of the World Forum for Ethics in Business, which regularly convenes in conferences at the European Parliament and around the world.

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