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Shinnyo-en Announces Participation in Interfaith and Environmental Conference in Kenya

Date: January 29, 2012
Location: Tachikawa, Japan

Her Holiness Shinso Ito, Head Priest of Shinnyo-en, announced that she will participate in a conference and religious ceremonies in Kenya in March 2012. As part of Shinso Ito's message to Shinnyo-en members during their 2012 Winter Training, she announced her intention to attend the 10th anniversary conference of the Global Peace Initiative of Women (GPIW).

The GPIW conference, "Awakening the Healing Heart: Transforming Communities through Love and Compassion," will be held in Nairobi and at sites at the western edge of the Laikipia Plateau along the Kenyan portion of the Great Rift Valley from March 2-6, 2012. The events are organized by the GPIW and the Gallmann Africa Conservancy with support from Shinnyo-en and the Fetzer Institute and with the cooperation of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP).

Opening sessions will be held at the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi focusing on "Healing the Earth and Healing Human Communities." Over 400 participants are expected, including religious leaders from Asia, Europe, and North America as well as Africa along with African and United Nations officials and leaders of civil society, environmental, and non-governmental advocacy organizations.

The latter part of the conference will consist of dialogues, cultural reflections, and prayer and religious ceremonies to be held at the edge of the Great Rift Valley, the "cradle of humankind." About 50 religious leaders from all over the world and representing a wide array of beliefs will meet to discuss how faith communities can tap their spiritual resources of love, compassion, and forgiveness to contribute to healing conflict, social tension, and environmental degradation.

Her Holiness Shinso Ito will address the conference participants and conduct a short religious rite in Nairobi and will conduct an outdoor fire and water ceremony at Ol ari Nyiro ("the Place of Springs"), the 100,000 acre wildlife sanctuary and nature conservancy preserved and managed by the Gallmann Africa Conservancy.

Shinso Ito told members, "This fire and water ceremony-the first Shinnyo-en rite conducted on the African continent-will be performed with aims to advancing world peace and conservation of ecological systems and to offering spiritual healing to the origin of humanity. The ceremony will be conducted in a new style reflecting a deep collaboration among Shinnyo-en, representatives local Kenyan communities, and international leaders from many different faith traditions."

Her Holiness Shinso Ito concluded her remarks by saying, "Throughout 2012, I would like us all to keep in the back of our minds the meaning of yushin (spirit of friendship) and how it relates to working in harmony, with resolution and an open mind. Let us learn from our Co-founder, Tomoji Ito, in this centennial year celebration of her birth, as we endeavor to build an ever-joyous world starting with those around us but also acting with an awareness of our interconnectedness and unity that transcend all boundaries and discord."

Please check back here soon for information about live web-casts of events from Nairobi and the Laikipia Plateau on March 2nd and 4th.