Vietnam Hosts Buddhist Conference to Discuss Development in the Mekong Region

By Craig Lewis
Buddhistdoor Global | 2015-11-11 |
The Mekong River in Vietnam. From ahomevietnam.comThe Mekong River in Vietnam. From

An international gathering of Buddhist scholars, scientists, and researchers is planned for 13–14 November in Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam. More than 40 delegates from Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the United States will discuss the development in the Greater Mekong Subregion based on Buddhist values.

The seminar, Buddhism in the Mekong Area: History and Development, will be jointly hosted by the Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities (HCMUSSH), under Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City, and the Vietnam Buddhist Research Institute. The organizing board said the seminar would draw on nearly 150 reports, including more than 40 submitted by foreign scholars and researchers.

Vo Van Sen, rector of Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities, announces the international conference on Buddhism. From vietnamnews.vnVo Van Sen, rector of Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities, announces the international conference on Buddhism. From

Speaking at a press briefing earlier this week, HCMUSSH rector Vo Van Sen said the forum was aimed at providing a platform for countries in the region to pursue economic, cultural, and environmental cooperation based on a Buddhist commitment to peace, environmental security, sustainable development, and the protection of cultural heritage, and in line with the eight Millennium Development Goals* established by the United Nations in 2000 for the international community. He added that the event was also aimed at defining the role of Buddhism in maintaining peace and territorial integrity in the region, in accordance with international law.

The Mekong River, the 12th-longest in the world, runs from the Tibetan Plateau through Yunnan Province in China, as well as Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. Already heavily dammed, and with many more dams planned or under construction along the Mekong as a source of hydroelectric power, development of the Mekong River Basin is a highly controversial topic. The World Wildlife Fund notes that the region is particularly vulnerable to global climate change. The US-based non-profit Conservation International ranks the Greater Mekong Subregion as one of the top-five most threatened hotspots in the world in terms of biodiversity.

Buddhism is the dominant religion in much of the Greater Mekong Subregion. Buddhism in Vietnam is primarily rooted in the Mahayana school. Approximately 16.4 per cent of the country’s population of 90 million people identify as Buddhist, according to a 2010 estimate by the Washington, DC-based Pew Research Center, making it the largest organized religion in the country.

* The UN Millennium Development Goals: 1. To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger 2. To achieve universal primary education 3. To promote gender equality 4. To reduce child mortality 5. To improve maternal health 6. To combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases 7. To ensure environmental sustainability 8. To develop a global partnership for development.

See more

Conference on Buddhism to be held (Viet Nam News)
Seminar on Buddhism in Mekong (Vietnam Breaking News)
Greater Mekong Subregion (Wikipedia)

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