Embassy News / Íîâîñòè Ïîñîëüñòâà

Seminar on “Nepal-Russia spiritual relations for peace and development”
at the Russian Center of Science and Culture
(Kathmandu, March 12, 2012)

The first of its kind, a cultural discourse on the role of ‘spirituality’ factor in Russia’s and Nepal’s national development as well as on its contribution to establishing people-to-people contacts between the two countries was held at the RCSC in cooperation with the ‘Quarterly Development Review’.

The seminar attended by many prominent Nepalese scholars and former statesmen was held in an atmosphere of time-tested friendship and genuine interest for each other’s experience. Apart from expert-level discussions and speeches a special feature of the programme was paper presentation on ‘Buddhism for peace and development’ by Mr. Dev Kaji Shakya, Founder President and Chief Advisor of The Shakya Foundation.

In his keynote speech the Russian Ambassador H.E. Dr. Sergey Velichkin has identified a marked trend in contemporary international relations as well as domestic scene of most of countries towards searching for a civilizational identity of their own in the increasingly globalized world of today.

Presenting a brief comparative study of civilizational approaches developed in the rich histories of the two countries, Ambassador Velichkin outlined the commonalities existing between Russian and Nepalese systems of values and the ways these values are translated into their national histories by example of Buddhism, tracing them to a composite culture having developed in the course of many centuries in a challenging climate environment subjected to regular incursions for their respected neighbourhood.

Proceeding from the fact that Buddhism happens to be one of the four traditional religions practiced in the Russian Federation and similarly belongs in Nepalese context as a traditional confession, Dr. Velichkin elaborated on the notion of ‘spirituality’ in these multiconfessional nations.

Describing ‘spirituality’ as a Russian attitudal tradition and a special style of social interaction centered on having in individual’s spiritual pursuit some core place for the interest of others and seeing one’s soul as a part of collective conscience which resulted in making tolerance, patience and resilience the dominant national traits, the Russian diplomat noted that “this is what we, Russians, have come to perceive as something which is strikingly similar to the outlook of Nepalese and constitutes a graphic feature of Nepalese culture, bringing forward its spiritual aspect which has proved to be so attractive for the Russians as witnessed in the increasing inflow of Russian tourists”.

The event elicited a vivid response and was broadly covered by the central mass-media.