Ending Extreme Poverty: A Moral and Spiritual Imperative

Today Pujya Swamiji served as the Hindu representative at the World Bank’s flagship event at the opening of their annual Spring Meeting on the role of faith leaders in eradicating poverty with Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank.

Other leaders on the panel included:

  • Mohamed Ashmawey, CEO Islamic Relief Worldwide
  • Ruth Messinger, President, American Jewish World Service
  • Carolyn Woo, President and CEO Catholic Relief Services
  • Vinya S. Ariyaratne, General Secretary, Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement

The panel was moderated by Jerome Socolovsky, Religion Correspondent for Voice of America.

Pujya Swamiji spoke about how Hindu Dharma teaches us “Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam,” the world is one family, and that the whole world is pervaded by the Divine. It is therefore, the moral and spiritual imperative of faith leaders to come together and take care of the 22,000 children who perish each day only due to poverty. “When we accept these children as our own, then we realize that we must not only pray for them but we must also provide for them,” Pujya Swamiji said. He also said, “In Indian culture there is a great belief in karma. So many times I hear people explain poverty by saying, ‘Oh, it’s just their karma to be poor.’ I always say, ‘Maybe it is their karma to be poor today. But what about our karma? It is our karma to help them and make sure they are not poor tomorrow.’ Let our new slogan be: Our Choices, Our World.”

Pujya Swamiji also presented President Kim a shawl woven by affected women villagers from the Kedarnath Valley who were left widowed and abandoned by the tragic floods.

Watch the video of the interfaith dialogue with the World Bank President:

Read World Bank’s Statement on “Ending Extreme Poverty: A Moral and Spiritual Imperative”:

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