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Organization: Brahma Kumaris Spirituele Akademie (BKSA), Dutch branch of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University (BKWSU)
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PROGRESS: Has your organization seen progress toward a culture of peace and nonviolence in your domain of action and in your constituency during the first half of the Decade?

Major events such as (in New York) September 11th 2001 and (in Iraq) the outbreak of the war caused a stir all over the world and made people aware of how precious personal peace and world peace actually are.

Violent events in the Dutch society (such as three recent assassinations, The politician Pim Fortuyn, a school principal in The Hague and of the famous artist Theo van Gogh) gave both authorities and individuals the feeling of wanting to make some profound contribution to the advancement of social cohesion in society.

The consequences of the Tsunami in the Netherlands also aroused deep emotional feelings and a flood of material aid got under way. Several personal initiatives were also developed.

Terrorism, war, disasters and great social upheaval not only make people more aware of the value of their personal life but also of the importance of the relationship with one another. Communicating with one another and learning to understand and appreciate each other is seen as a basic condition for harmony amongst people.

Besides a verbal exchange people also feel the need to have a moment of silence together, to be able to accommodate the events in their own lives in a reflective way or to process their feelings. At such moments there is a great clarity of the importance of prayer or meditation as a means of generating positive healing energy for the fellow human being in need.

In the past years the BKSA has regularly opened their centres for special meditations for (world) peace and has also created extra programs on relevant topics. In a relatively short time many people have made grateful use of these programs.

OBSTACLES: What are the most important obstacles that have prevented progress?


ACTIONS: What actions have been undertaken by your organization to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence during the first half of the Decade?

BKSA programs during 2001-2005


* Breath of Spirit; about inner silence
Mike George (author and trainer) May 25th, 2001

* From Explosive anger to calm serenity and deep inner peace; about recognizing and dealing with anger
Mike George May 17th, 2002


* The value of the now; on the possibility of creating your own life.
Hennie de Pous-de Jonge (Foundation Moral Rearmament) and Marie-Lisette Derks (co-ordinator BKSA The Hague)
September 9th 2001

* Spirituality in the practice at the Bar; meeting for jurists at the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, the oldest institute for the conclusion of international treaties.
November 24th 2004

* In the light of compassion; on processing violent offences and dealing with aggression and violence on the basis of understanding and insight in processes of change.
Ted Boeree (train conductor, author and co-founder Crash Barrier) and Jacqueline Berg, (author and co-ordinator BKSA Netherlands) December 8th, 2002

* The Power of Silence; on the importance of silence in the media and silence as an instrument for conflict interventions.
Erik Post (journalist) and Jacqueline Berg (former journalist)  
December 30th, 2004


* On Principle; the power of principles in practice
Lia Verhaar (Foundation Fight against Acoustic Pollution),
Jan Kloppenburg (Foundation Knock it off) and Roos Nabben (co-ordinator BKSA Rotterdam)
March 23rd, 2003

* Grasping Peace; on the power of acceptance and living together in a city, country, world, where internal dispute and differences change into relationship and similarity.
Ozeyir Kabaktepe (vice-president Milli Görüs), Anneke de Goede (Communication & Development en member of Platform The Dialogue Rotterdam), Roos Nabben
May 11th, 2003


* Peace workshop (Developed by the BKWSU on the occasion of the project Manifesto 2000, in which participants can discover, visualise, design and learn to live peace.
September 9th, 2001 and September 15th, 2002

* Peace in the Kingdom; children's workshop, 7-12 years
May 17th, 2003


* Meditation for World Peace (in connection with the war in Iraq) March, April and May 2003

* 24 hours Consciously non-violent (meditation in the context of the International Day of Peace)
September 21st, 2003

* Special Christmas meditation for world peace
December 2003

* Together in Peace (special meditation prompted by the assassination of Theo van Gogh), initiated by 'Amsterdam with Heart and Soul. November 2004

* New Year's Eve meditation for world peace
December 31st, 2004

The number of participants per program varied from 25 to 100 people.


The Dialogue

Amsterdam with Heart and Soul
In the committee 'Amsterdam with heart and soul', founded in 2002, people from mosques, churches, temples, synagogues and many other 'places of inspiration' have joined forces to work together on a better mutual understanding and trust. They believed that cultural differences are not a limitation but a challenge to true human communication.

The BKSA is part of the Initiative group of 'Amsterdam with heart and soul', which supports the management and project bureau.

The committee offers a platform for dialogue and meeting for all people of Amsterdam who desire to build bridges between different cultures and religions. By working on interaction between people with different ideological backgrounds the participants like to contribute to the quality of life and cohesion in the multi-cultural city.

Until now 'Amsterdam with heart and soul' has twice organised Open Days, on which every one could receive explanation on the different religions and movements. The BKSA also participated and provided meditations for visitors of her Academy during the Open Days.

Platform - The Dialogue

In Rotterdam, since the start of 2002 BKSA participates in an initiative of the Rotterdam municipality: the Platform 'The Dialogue'. This platform has been founded after September 11th, 2001 when different organisations felt the need to join their forces. In this way they wanted to come to a widely carried city debate between Rotterdam citizens of all sorts and conditions. The Day of the Dialogue was the first initiative of the Platform 'the Dialogue'. The formula of the Day of the Dialogue was simple and effective. On October 12th, 2002 different people came together and - over a meal - shared experiences in small circles.

The contribution of the BKSA was primarily in formulating the conversation formula that was followed during the meal. Ideas were handed by the BKWSU that had been developed for the Manifesto 2000 project in which the BKWSU amongst others worked together with the Unesco to sign as many Manifesto's as possible. In the context of that project the Peace workshop was also developed by the BKWSU, in which participants were asked a number of personal direct questions in the atmosphere of AI (AI = Appreciative Inquiry). In AI the starting point of a conversation or meeting was appreciation instead of emphasising your point. The conversation formula for the Day of the Dialogue was inspired on this.

The subject of conversation in 2002 was 'Meet the other and show yourself'.

In 2003 and 2004 there was a Day of the Dialogue too, in which the BKSA participated.

In 2003 the Dialogue in Rotterdam was on Values and in 2004 on Virtues. Following Rotterdam the city of Amsterdam in 2004 also quickly introduced a Day of the Dialogue after the assassination of Theo van Gogh, a renowned artist in the Netherlands. Within a very short time 120 tables for participants were managed to be organised in Amsterdam.

The Platform in Rotterdam consists of a great number of participating organisations from the social, political, economical, cultural and spiritual sides of the city. They have regular meetings in which two members of the BKSA take part since 2002.

The BKSA Rotterdam and Amsterdam also took part by organising meals on 'the Day of the Dialogue' at the addresses of the Academy. In 2005 that will also be the case.

Day of the Opening of the Dutch Parliament

Since five years now The Council of Ideology and Religions in The Hague has been organizing an inter-religious celebration on the occasion of the day of the opening of the Dutch parliament. The theme in 2004 was 'Stranger and fellow man'. The BKSA has been intensively involved in both the preparation and the performance of this celebration. Six representatives of religions and ideologies, one of which the BKSA, had been invited to take part in the program in The Great Church in The Hague. The BKSA gave a short introduction followed by a guided meditation. The content was in relationship with 'Knowing yourself and God brings light in the dark and restores love in our lives through which we can reach out to others. The world will change when we are capable of sharing this Godly light and this unlimited love. When I know myself I can truly meet the other. My vision will not be disturbed by our differences but I will recognize that same essence in others.' After the celebration 25 representatives of ideologies and religions were offered a meal at the BKSA in The Hague.

Heart and Soul; Interfaith Celebration Museumsquare Amsterdam May 2003; contribution Brahma Kumaris about 'The Significance of Silence'.

Interfaith Celebration to mark the occasion of the opening of the parliamentary year in The Great Church in The Hague; contribution by the Brahma Kumaris with speech and guided meditation on the theme 'Stranger and Fellow man'.

ADVICE: What advice would you like to give to the Secretary-General and the General Assembly to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence during the second half of the Decade?


PARTNERSHIPS: What partnerships and networks does your organization participate in, thus strengthening the global movement for a culture of peace?

New Moon - project bureau from Amsterdam that helps organising the Day of the dialogue in Amsterdam and also the project 'Amsterdam with Heart and Soul'

Platform The Dialogue in Rotterdam

Council of Ideology and Religions in The Hague (HRLR)

The Rotterdam Council of Ideology and Religions (Roravolere)

Platform Religion and Ideology Province of Groningen

Platform for Religions and Ideology in Zwolle

Inter-religious Council (IB)

Shapers of Education; organise conferences on Heart and Soul in Learning, for educational people who want to work from values

World Conference on Religion and Peace (WCRP)

United Religions Initiative (URI)

The Hague Conference on International Private Law

PLANS: What new engagements are planned by your organization to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence in the second half of the Decade (2005-2010)?

More emphasis on non-violence, in awareness, behaviour and relationships.

Postal address of organization

Amsterdam: (main centre in the Netherlands)
Haarlemmerdijk 137, 1013 KG

E-mail address of organization


Website address of organization


Highest priority action domain of a culture of peace

Education for a culture of peace

Second priority action domain of a culture of peace

Understanding, tolerance, solidarity

Highest priority country of action (or international)


Second priority country of action (or international)

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Organization: Brahma Kumaris Spirituele Akademie (BKSA), Dutch branch of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University (BKWSU)

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