Hiroo and Masami Saionji Attend World Conservation Congress in Hawaii
Hiroo and Masami Saionji were invited to take part in the World Conservation Congress which took place in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Congress was organized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) which ran for 10 days between 1st and 10th September, 2016.
The IUCN headquartered in Switzerland is an international organization started in 1948. It is the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network with 1,300 member organizations and staff in more than 50 counties. Every four years the IUCN World Conservation Congress meets to set priorities and agree on the Union’s work program.
It is said that this congress was attended by over 10,300 participants representing 192 countries. The program highlighted 22 ‘Journeys’ which focused on various aspects of the conservation movement from business, climate change to biosecurity and wildlife trafficking. The Saionji’s were invited to take part in the Conservation and Spirituality Journey to share their wisdom and knowledge with Congress participants and to speak about the Fuji Declaration.
The Conservation and Spirituality Journey hosted hundreds of breakaway Knowledge Cafes where small groups gathered to discuss various topics in an intimate setting. The Saionji’s took part in two Knowledge Cafes titled “Experiences on Conservation and Spirituality” and another Cafe titled “Spirituality and Conservation: from Inspiration to Action” and spoke about the Fuji Declaration.
At the end of the Congress, a Hawaii Commitment was gathered and presented to the board for action from the various participating Journeys. As one of the Hawaii Commitments from the Conservation and Spirituality Journey, Mr. Saionji’s suggested that an International Day of Gratitude to Nature be proposed to the United Nations which was unanimously adopted by participants of the “Spirituality and Conservation: from Inspiration to Action” knowledge cafe.
The highlight of Mrs. Saionji’s contribution came during the High Level Dialogue concluding the Conservation and Spirituality Journey on the final day of the Congress titled, Connections: Spirituality and Conservation. She joined a group of five other speakers to discuss the relevance of conservation in the context of spiritual values and significance. The speakers represented a variety of cultural and spiritual traditions from Christianity, native Hawaiian spirituality to Islam and Judaism to discuss topics around sustainability and oneness with nature. Mrs. Saionji received unanimous applaud from the audience when she spoke about the importance of awakening to the divine spark which exists within each and every individual.
During the Congress the Saionji’s introduced the Fuji Declaration to Sally Ranney, Founder of American Renewable Energy….. who served as moderator of the High Level Dialogue. She expressed her alignment with the principles of the Fuji Declaration and immediately signed the declaration. She and hopes to attend a Fuji Declaration event at Mt. Fuji in the future.
The Congress inspired thousands of people from every continent and walks of life to explore nature, conservation and sustainability from a multitude of angles. The Saionji’s met with key leaders, activists and civil society representatives who are working to make a change in the conservation movement and we look forward to collaborative projects in the future.