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UNESCO adopts the 150th Birth Anniversary of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur
By Yudhistir Govinda Das, ISKCON Communications Director for India   |  Dec 09, 2023
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United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), one of the specialized agencies of the UN with a membership of 192 countries and several dozens of associate partners, recently had its biennial (one in two years) full body meeting at its headquarters in Paris, France which included Member States and Associate Members, together with observers for non-Member States, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and foundations.

In the three-week meeting, several important decisions were taken for the years 2024 and 2025. One of them pertained to the recognition of key historical events. The anniversaries connected to 53 important historical figures and events were recognized by UNESCO, and they resolved to associate themselves with it.

These include the birth anniversary of the famous German philosopher Immanuel Kant, the 500th anniversary of the founding of the Novodevichy Convent (a world heritage site in Moscow), the 900th birth-anniversary of Ajami Nakhchivani (founder of the Nakhchivan school of architecture) among others.

The major highlight was the acceptance of the proposal made by ISKCON via the Government of India to celebrate the 150th Birth Anniversary of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupada, which falls on 29 February 2024. This proposal was seconded by Russia, Kazakhstan, Cuba, Vietnam, and Thailand in their Executive Meeting earlier this year and adopted by the entire body in Paris last month.

This is perhaps the first time that a Vaishnava leader has been recognized by the UN. ISKCON Communications hopes this will be one more addition to the ever-expanding garland of glories of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur and Srila Prabhupada. The major credit goes to India’s Permanent Representative to UNESCO, Vishal Sharma Ji, who played an important role in making this happen.

From the official document of the General Conference, 42nd session, Paris, 2023:

“CELEBRATION OF ANNIVERSARIES IN 2024-2025 WITH WHICH UNESCO WILL BE ASSOCIATED (AS RECOMMENDED TO THE GENERAL CONFERENCE In 216 EX/DECISION 28 AND 217 EX/DECISION 32; LISTED IN THE ALPHABETICAL ORDER OF THE ENGLISH NAMES OF THE MEMBER STATES)

150th anniversary of the birth of Srimad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Prabhupada, philosopher, social reformer, and eminent spiritual leader (1874-1937) (India with the support of Cuba, Kazakhstan, Russian Federation, Thailand, and Viet Nam)”

 

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