First of all, on behalf of knowledge and learning, and speaking for humanity, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to those intellectuals who have come from various places within the United States, Europe, and Turkey, who have dedicated their academic expertise to building bridges of peace between cultures and religions.
I am filled with promising hopes that the new millennium will conceive a more peaceful world than previous centuries. I am hopeful thanks to the dialogue activities that have been initiated among the religions of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, as well as the ancient Indian and Chinese religions; these are religions that have challenged one another for centuries, despite possessing similar fundamental principles and springing from the same sources.
These activities, that have been put in action so far under the names of "understanding," "tolerance," and "dialogue," would be better defined within the framework of emphasizing and gathering around universal humane virtues, and a framework of respect for the position of those with "different" perceptions, beliefs, and thoughts.
With the endeavors of valued people, like yourselves, who have come together to establish a happy world built on universal values and to set up "peace islands" of the future, I hope that this movement will spread and will carry us to the horizon where cultures and civilizations meet and reach a consensus.
I appreciate the endeavors of the idea architects, those who are with us today and those who are absent, who have committed themselves to realizing this goal, and I believe that future generations will remember them with gratitude. However, I am deeply sorry that I am not able to participate in such a distinguished symposium because I am indisposed; my blood pressure becomes too high with even the slightest excitement. In addition to this, I have not made even one per cent of the effort that you have made towards this meeting.
I would like to thank everybody who has contributed to the organization of this important symposium at such a time when humanity needs mercy, compassion and understanding more then ever. I wish success to all the participants and I offer them my warmest greetings and deepest respect.
This symposium sponsored by the Niagara Foundation will be held November 10-11, 2005. More information can be found on the following web site: http://www.interfaithgathering.org