15 April 2014

Federico Mayor Zaragoza On Swami Vivekananda

Federico Mayor Zaragoza (born. 27 January 1934) is a Spanish politician, scholar, scientist and diplomat. From 1987 to 1999 he served as the Director-General of UNESCO. He was also a member of the Honorary Board of the International Coalition for the decade for the Culture of Peace and Non-violence. His published books are— Tomorrow Is Always Too Late (1992), Science and Power (1995), The World Ahead: Our Future in the Making (2000). A detailed biography of Federico Mayor Zaragoza is available at Wikipedia. In this article you'll find Federico Mayor Zaragoza's quotes and comments on Swami Vivekananda.

Federico Mayor Zaragoza wrote—
Federico Mayor Zaragoza
Image source: Wikimedia Commons
There are many aspects of Swami Vivekananda's thought, his ideals and his social message which make UNESCO a very good setting for ... celebration in France of the centenary of his participation in the World Parliament of Religions, held in Chicago one hundred years ago.

His commitment towards universalism and tolerance, his active identification with humanity as a whole. He said from the tribune of the Parliament of Religions, and I quote : "I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honour of this convention may be the death knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen." I am sure all of us...would strongly identify with this aspiration, since the struggle against exclusiveness is one that must be perpetually renewed.

The Mission he established in India, and which has now spread all over the world, is working to reduce poverty and eliminate discrimination among the different segments of society. There is no more important challenge for us all than this— striving to overcome these problems at their roots; and it is one that I believe the United Nations, working with all possible NGO partners, must take its absolute priority in the years to come.

His preoccupation with human development and his vision of education, science and culture as the essential instruments for such development. The convergence with UNESCO's concerns will be obvious to all.

I am indeed struck by the similarity of the constitution of the Ramakrishna Mission which Vivekananda established as early as 1897 with that of UNESCO drawn up in 1945. Both place the human being at the centre of their efforts aimed at development. Both place tolerance at the top of the agenda for building peace and democracy. Both recognize the variety of human cultures and societies as an essential aspect of the common heritage.

The world today is going through a challenging period of transition. We see many evils like racism and inter-ethnic and religious conflict returning among us with renewed force. Celebrations like this today are a source of renewed strength and encouragement to fight against these evils.


  • Prabuddha Bharata, January 1994, p.21.

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