(10 Jul '09)
7-9 July 2009 — New York, New York, USA
The Earth Charter—a declaration of fundamental principles for building a just, sustainable and peaceful world—has been translated into 40 languages and signed by more than 5,000 organizations. The charter started as an initiative of the United Nations in 1987 and was finalized in 2000 as a civil-society project. On July 7, 2009 in New York, Amma also added her signature to its list of endorsees.
Steven Rockefeller, who coordinated the drafting of the charter by consulting representatives of the world’s major religions, was on hand to welcome Amma to New York and to request her to endorse the Earth Charter’s principles. The Earth Charter’s ethical vision proposes that environmental protection, human rights, equitable human development, and peace are interdependent and indivisible. Steven Rockefeller is the son of former United States Vice President Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller and fourth-generation member of the renowned Rockefeller family.
“What a great blessing it is to be here tonight in the presence of Amma,” Rockefeller said. “I would like to extend deep thanks to Amma… for her very gracious offer to endorse the Earth Charter. In addition I would like to express heartfelt thanks to Amma for being a spiritual and social leader who, through love for all people, her teachings, her many humanitarian good works and her educational initiatives and her work on behalf of the environment is helping us make that transition to the better world that is envisioned in the Earth Charter.”
Rockefeller continued, “When I think of Amma and her life of devotion and service, I see a shining example for all of us of the spirit of reverence, compassion and care. … Amma, all of us associated with the Earth Charter Initiative want to share with you our deep gratitude for the light and joy you have brought into the world.”
Also on hand to welcome Amma to New York were M.S. Singh Puri, Ambassador & Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations since March 2009; and Upendra Chivakula, a member of the New Jersey General Assembly and State Office.
After garlanding Amma, M.S. Singh said, “What I see here is truly transformational—the beauty of love and devotion—all of it, Amma, which you have made possible. Thank you very much for your blessing for all of us here. … I think these are times that the world is going through where we need blessings, goodness and doing the right thing. We are extremely blessed and honored by your presence.”
Upendra Chivakula expressed similar sentiments. “The message of love and service is universal. It transcends across religions, languages, communities. I think it is wonderful that in the 21st century we have Amma that is able to spread the message of love and service through hugs and trying to feel some of the difficulties that we face in this mundane human life. … We should take her message and each and every one of us must become an ambassador for goodwill.”