Women’s Initiative Programme Schedule

Embracing Universal Motherhood for Peace & Harmony

On 25 September 2003, distinguished social, spiritual, political and business, leaders gathered to highlight the need of awakening the qualities of motherhood in women, in men and in society as a whole. The focus of the Initiative was to bring the concept of Universal Motherhood, as lived and espoused by Amma, to a discussion of the present condition of women in society and to seek ways to apply the qualities of Motherhood to improving women’s status.

Compered by Ms. Neethi Ravindran

Inaugurated by Ms. Yolanda King
daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Board of Directors, Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Non-Violent Social Change

Presided over by Dr. Najma Heptulla
Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, India’s Upper House of Parliament

Part I — Towards a Deeper Understanding of Motherhood

Ms. Linda Evans
Actress and Environmental Activist
Topic: “Learning Motherhood from Mother Nature”
How Nature embodies the qualities of love, patience and compassion and teaches us ways to work towards a new world based on life-enhancing harmony.

Dr. K.S. Fathima Beevi
Member Syndicate, Mahatma Gandhi University
Topic: “Empowering Women Through Universal Motherhood’
How the Vedas and Upanishads endorse reverence for women and for the qualities of Motherhood.

Rabbi Leah Novick
Pathfinder of the Jewish Renewal Movement, U.S.A.
Topic: “The Feminine Face of God: Nurturing Its Reflection in Men and Women”
The alienation of the feminine face of God through gender-based oppressions, and how this divine feminine aspect might be called into our consciousness in the attempt to help us redress these oppressions and help men and women embrace and embody the qualities of the Divine Feminine.

Shri. P. Parameshwaran
Director, Bharatiya Vichara Kendra, Kerala, India
Topic: “Motherhood: The Mother & The Child of Spirituality”
How the qualities of Motherhood both support one’s spiritual development, and are natural results of spiritual development.

Part II — Exploring the Potential for Change

Prof. Mangalam Srinivasan
Special Advisor, John F. Kennedy School of Government
Topic: “Women in the Workplace: Increased Visibility Is Not Enough”
How women can achieve their full potential in work place without compromising on the essential qualities of motherhood.

Swamini Niranjanananda
Resident Acharya of the Chinmaya Mission
Topic: “Reinstating Women’s Roles in Religion”
How the Vedas have viewed the meaning and importance of the feminine, and the relevance of these views to roles for women in contemporary religion.

Dr. Poornima Advani
Chairperson, National Commission for Women
Topic: “Altering the Image of Women in the Minds of Abusers”
Alternative treatment for prisoners, including education and spiritual development as tools for transformation.

Smt. Mridula Sinha
Chairperson, Central Social Welfare Board, India
Topic: “Old Abuses, New Solutions”
Embracing the qualities of motherhood to overcome contemporary widespread abuse of young girls and women.

Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan
Founder and former academic director
Indira Gandhi National Centre of the Arts, New Delhi, India
Topic: “Reverence or Exploitation: Portrayals of Women in Classical Art & Modern Media”
How these portrayals reflect and affect the status and condition of women, and how to return to an attitude of reverence toward the feminine.

Part III — Healing the World Through Universal Motherhood

Shri. Joseph Pulikkunnel
Director, Indian Institute of Christian Studies
Christian reformer
Topic: “Adopting Universal Motherhood: An Opportunity for Men”
Explores the opportunities that a life embodying the qualities of Motherhood could open up for men, whether at home or in the workplace.

Dr. Saleha Mahmood Abedin
Sociologist, Muslim scholar
Director of Institute for Muslim Minority Affairs, London
Topic: “Men and Women as ‘Two Wings of a Bird’”
How the world would be impacted if men and women learn to function in partnership, and how this evolution can take place.

Ms. Dena Merriam
Vice-chair of the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious & Spiritual Leaders

Part IV— Conclusion

“Amma’s Expression of Motherhood”
and Announcement of the Initiative’s Resolutions & Action Items
Swamini Krishnamrita Prana
Mata Amritanandamayi Math

Implementation of Resolutions and Action Items
A closed-door session led by Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi
India’s Honourable Minister of Human Resource Development