On August 28th through 31st of the year 2000, two thousand of the world's preeminent religious and spiritual leaders representing the many faith traditions, gathered at the United Nations for a Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders.
Addressing the world's population through a live telecast from the United Nations General Assembly Hall, these revered leaders demonstrated their united commitment and determination to work together to eliminate the causes that perpetrate violence and lead to war.
The goal of the World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders was to create a forum by which several preeminent leaders of all the world's great religious and faith traditions can come together at the United Nations for the first time in history to pledge a commitment to take concrete actions for the achievement of world peace. This commitment has been embodied in a Declaration for World Peace that participants signed and that specified actions to be taken.
During the last decade, more than 100-armed conflicts have erupted in over 70 different locations around the world. Since the end of World War II, 27 million people have lost their lives due to war. Although religious leaders individually have spoken out against and tried to halt these hostilities, until now there has been no concerted effort to join the world's leading religious figures in a united initiative for world peace.
Globalization and new communications technologies have done much to join the economies of countries around the world and to create a growing sense of interconnectedness among people. But these advances have not alleviated the problems that plague humankind. The brutality of war and the despair of poverty are as much a reality today as at any time in the past. Human suffering continues at an intolerable level. To counter these ills, a united spiritual effort is needed, one that will join religions, as well as the many ethnic groups and nations around the world in a singular demand for peace.
For this purpose, The World Peace Summit was a historic occasion, for it is the first time that an assembly of such prestigious religious leaders from all over the world gathered at the United Nations, marking a new era of collaboration between the different religious communities and between the world's political and spiritual leadership. Religious leaders addressed the world's population on how people with diverse belief systems can live together in peace.