Engage others with respect, understanding and acceptance

Amma addressing United Nations Alliance of Civilizations

29-30 Nov 2012, Shanghai, China

“When we engage others with respect, understanding and acceptance, then we will be able to communicate at the level of the heart” said Amma in her address at the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations’ (UNAOC) Regional Consultations for Asia-South Pacific, being held in Shanghai.


Amma, the only spiritual leader invited to the conference, gave her speech on the subject of “Coexistence and Engagement Between Cultures.”
Amma explained how globalization has affected our coexistence both positively and negatively, emphasizing that “coexistence is possible only when culture and modernisation are in balance.” She warned that “efforts at coexistence fail when we claim ‘We are all one,’ but we disrespect each other’s ancient customs and traditions.” Proceeding to offer solutions, as well, Amma spoke, “we have to acknowledge the fact that even though we are one in essence, externally, we are different,” then she urged the assembly to respect diversity — “An awareness of the need for coexistence amidst diversity is the only way to alleviate the suffering of others.”

Supporting her points with practical examples and suggestions based on decades of humanitarian work in culturally diverse regions, Amma invited everyone to contribute to the global conversation on coexistence by setting an example of respect and tolerance.
Amma also called for a balance of rights and respect. saying that “when we engage others with respect, understanding and acceptance, then we will be able to communicate at the level of the heart.”

Amma brought her speech to a conclusion by focusing on the power of love. “For the past 40 years, I have been communicating with people of all languages, races, colors, castes and religions, from the very poorest to the rich and famous, through the language of Love. There are no barriers for love. I have full faith in the transformational power of Love to unite all hearts.”

“Our focus today should neither be on dependence nor on non-dependence, but on interdependence. This is because the human race, the animal and plant kingdoms and the whole universe are all interdependent.

“Reverence and respect are rare qualities in today’s world, leaving us with a society lacking in proper maturity. Education, acquisition of knowledge, science and technology may help us advance to unimaginable levels, but if the result is a mentally and emotionally immature generation with no sense of discrimination, it would be truly catastrophic.”

“Respect the Earth, nature and all our fellow living beings. Realise that we truly need to acknowledge the differences between race, religion, color and creed. When we approach others with respect that is firmly established in a deep understanding and acceptance of all our differences, then we will be able to communicate at the level of the heart” Amma concluded.

Amma was speaking in her native tongue Malayalam, and it was simultaneously translated into English.

The Shanghai event, titled “Harmony Through Diversity and Dialogue”, is jointly organized by the UNAOC and the UN Association of China.


More than 150 delegates from throughout Asia and the South Pacific- representing governments, academia, corporations, NGOs and cultural organizations – are taking part in the two-day Shanghai Consultations. The Guest of Honor was Cui Tiankai, Vice Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Other dignitaries participating were Jean-Christophe Bas, Senior Advisor, Strategic Development and Partnerships UNAOC; Ambassador Chen Jian, President of the UN Association of China; Tu Guangshao, Vice Mayor of Shanghai Municipal Government; and Jorge Sampaio, UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations and former President of Portugal.

This was Amma’s first  visit to China. She has addressed United Nations at it’s International Celebrations for the 50th Anniversary in New York, the Global Peace Initiative of Women Religious and Spiritual Leaders at the UN in Geneva, the Summit of the Global Peace Initiative of Women in Jaipur, twice at the Parliament of World’s Religions, and as well as at many other international platforms.

Amma in Dublin, Ireland

17-18 November, Dublin, Ireland – Europe Yatra 2012

The final stop of Amma’s 2012 European Yatra was in Dublin, Ireland. Knowing it was their last chance to see Amma until next year, people flew in from all over Europe for the weekend.

Amma was officially welcomed to Ireland by the Mayor of Fingal Dublin, Cian O’Callaghan. The Mayor also officially launched the InDeed program in Ireland.
Everyone that came to the programs was treated to the usual irish smiles and hospitality. Over the two days many groups of irish devotees came to perform both traditional Irish ‘stepdance’ and irish folk music to the delight of everyone present.

After the last program in Dublin, Amma flew to the US to continue her tour in Michigan.

Amma in Milano, Italy

13-15 November, Milano, Italy – Europe Yatra 2012

Amma held three days of in Milano, Italy at Malpensafiere hall.
Several dignitaries turned out to officially welcomed Amma to Italy. In addition to the Honorable Consul General India,  Mr Sanjay Kumar Verma, several Italian musicians and television personalities were present on the dais, including Elenoire Casalengo, Diego Dalla Palma, Kristen Grove, and Jo Squillo.


The large crowds showed their typical Italian enthusiasm and appreciation for Amma as they were constantly cheering and applauding each time Amma arrived or left the hall or sang a bhajan.

From Italy Amma travelled on to Dublin, Ireland for the final stop of the European Yatra 2012.

Amma in Mannheim, Germany

November 9-11, Mannheim, Germany – Europe Yatra 2012

After her programs in Barcelona,{news} Amma traveled north and held three days of programs in Mannheim, Germany.

Amma was officially welcomed to Germany by Ulrich Schäfer, the Mannheim Municipl Councilor. In his welcome speech, Mr Schäfer said, “It is my deepest conviction that the work, which is voluntarily done by people who feel inspired, motivated and called by Amma, that this work will change our society. I thank you very much for coming to the city of Mannheim, inspiring us and giving us new ideas and I wish you and your people all the best and all the blessings.”

World renowned sitar player Shahid Parvez Khan came for Amma’s darshan and then captivated the crowd with a masterful sitar recital.

At the end of the first evening program one local devotee came for darshan and presented Amma with a new cookbook. The cookbook contained 108 recipes for different cakes contributed by many local devotees all dedicated to Amma. Then as Amma got up to leave the hall there were several tables lining Amma’s path displaying each cake from the book. Amma walked along the tables, taking time to appreciate each of the cakes and the love and effort that went into to making each of them.

After the programs in Mannheim came to an end, Amma travelled through the beautiful Swiss Alps on her way to Milano, Italy for the next stop on the tour.

Amma in Barcelona, Spain

5-7 November, Barcelona – Europe Yatra 2012

After her programs in the south of France, Amma travelled south west along the Mediterranean coast and had three days of programs in Barcelona, Spain.


Amma was welcomed to Spain by on the first day by Salvador Jorba, Representative of the Government of Cataluñya and Josep Mayoral i Antigas, the Mayor of Granollers who both came for Amma’s darshan.

The hall was filled for all three days as people came from all over Spain for Amma’s darshan. Amma delighted all those present by singing bhajans in their native Spanish.

The final evening program went on till midday the following day and then Amma travelled on more than 1000km to the next stop on the tour in Mannheim, Germany.


Amma in Toulon, France

October 31 – November 2, Toulon, France – 2012 Europe Yatra

After her visit to Holland, Amma held 3 days of programs in the Zenith Omega Hall. Massive crowds took advantage of the holiday weekend and came to celebrate ‘All Saints Day’ in Amma’s presence. Amma gave almost a continuous three days of darshan as the ‘morning’ programs stretched well into the early evening and the ‘evening’ programs finished early the following morning. Even after the final evening program had ended near midday the following day, the hall was still completely full of devotees who wanted just one more glance of Amma before she left the building.

After the programs concluded, Amma visited the new ashram just outside the city of Toulon. The ashram building was originally built in the 13th century. It was originally used as a mill and is set on the edge of a small river and waterfall.

Amma spent the day there with the local devotees, and shared stories and jokes, sang and then served a prasad lunch to everyone. Amma then sang bhajans and danced.

Amma then travelled to Barcelona, Spain for the next stop on the 2012 Europe Yatra.

Amma in Holland

Houten, Holland – October 27-29 Europe Yatra 2012

Amma returned back to the european continent after her visit to the UK and continued her tour in Houten, Holland.

Amma was officially welcomed to Holland by The Deputy Mayor of the city of Houten, Nicole Teeuwen, as well as Kirty Matabadal, the UN Ambassador for Youth from Holland.

While addressing the crowd, Councilor Nicole Teeuwen said,

“When I saw who Amma was and all her projects over the whole world, I did not doubt for a second and said yes to welcoming Amma here. I was not only impressed by the projects but also the way she inspires people. Here too, I see this huge gathering of people I am truly very proud. So Amma very very welcome, and may you reach many people here, thank you.”

A puja for world peace was held at the end of the 3 days of programs. Then Amma traveled on to the south of France for the next stop on the tour in Toulon.

Amma in London

October 23-25, London, Europe Yatra 2012

From Paris Amma crossed the English Channel and continued on to London She held three days of programs in the historic Alexandra Palace.

Amma was officially welcomed to the UK by Member of Parliament, Mr. Virendra Kumar Sharma. After garlanding Amma, Mr Sharma helped release ‘In the Shelter of Her Arms’ by Gretchen Kusuma McGregor.
Also present on the dais to welcome Amma was the renowned film director, screenwriter and producer, Alfonso Cuarón, best known for his films Children of Men, Y tu mamá también, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Mr Cuarón officially launched Embracing the World’s new project, InDeed in the UK.

After the programs in the UK, Amma headed back to the european continent for the next stop of the tour in Holland.


Amma in Paris

18-20 October- Paris

During her world tours, Amma is always greeted by full halls of people, but year after year Paris traditionally attracts some of the biggest crowds. This year was no different as massive crowds filled the Parc de Expositions in Pontoise for the three days of programs.

On the first evening Amma was welcomed to France by Jean-Christophe Bas who is Senior Advisor Strategic Development and Partnerships at the United Nations secretariat of the Alliance of Civilizations.

After giving a marathon program on the last day in Paris, Amma spent the day at the French Ashram near the village of Pontgoin.  She spent time speaking and joking with all the local devotees, shared a prasad lunch, sang bhajans and danced.  Before leaving, Amma spent sometime visiting the ashram gardens and then continued on to London for the next stop on the tour.

Amma in Munich, Germany

October 13-15 Munich, Germany

This year marked Amma’s 25th visit to the city of Munich. There was a strong Bavarian spirit to the programs as each time Amma was welcomed to the stage there were rows of devotees dressed in traditional costumes of lederhosen and dirndl outfits and playing folk music.

To enter and leave the Zenith Halle, Amma walked along a long balcony above the crowd of devotees that filled the hall each day. It was always a beautiful and celebratory scene to see Amma slowly walk along the balcony looking down to all the applauding crowd, showing their appreciation to Amma.

After the last program in Munich, Amma wanted to show her appreciation to all the devotees that had worked so hard to arrange the program, so she called everyone to the MA Center Munich. She spent the evening serving dinner, sharing jokes and stories, singing bhajans, and even danced with everyone.

Early the next morning the tour group travelled on to Paris for the next stop on the tour.