KATHMANDU: The government has invited Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, among other dignitaries, to the International Buddhist Conference to be held here on May 19 and 20.
The Conference is being held on the occasion of the 2560th Buddha Jayanti, the birth anniversary of Gautam Buddha, which falls on May 21 this year. The Conference is being held in the Capital while the Buddha Jayanti commemorations would be held in Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha.
Other invited dignitaries include Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, and chief ministers of Indian states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Begal, Tripura and Sikkim: Nitish Kumar, Akhilesh Yadav, Mamata Banerjee, Manik Sircar and Pawan Chamling respectively.
Similarly, ministers for culture and religious affairs from 13 countries – Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, India, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan, Bhutan, South Korea, Laos, Mongolia and Israel – have been invited.
Representatives and delegates of Buddhist organisations from 23 countries are attending the event. They include Buddhist organisations from the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, India, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan, Bhutan, South Korea, Laos, Mongolia, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Russia, Germany, France, Austria and Canada.
As many as 92 delegations at the governmental level and others from 21 countries have confirmed their participation so far, Bachchu Narayan Shrestha, Member Secretary of the Conference Organising Main Committee, said.
Meanwhile, preparations for the International Buddhist Conference being held for the first time on the occasion of the Buddha Jayanti have reached the final stage.
Although various conferences were held in the past coinciding with the Buddha Jayanti celebrations, this is the first time that a historic conference is being held under the chairmanship of executive chief of the country by inviting international representatives and renowned persons.
The government had begun preparations for the Conference from last year. Altogether 24 international working papers on Buddha and Buddhism including 18 by scholars and researchers from Nepal are to be presented in the Conference.
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli heads the 501-member International Buddhist Conference Organising and the 2560th Buddha Jayanti Celebration Main Committee. The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation is the main organiser of the event.