Third Samvad Conclave Unites Buddhist Leaders Across Asia in Ulaanbaatar
Raymond Lam

International delegates from Asia and Europe gathered in the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar for the third Samvad conference from 6–8 September. Organized jointly by the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF), Gandan Tegchenling, Ulaanbaatar’s most important Buddhist monastery, and Mongolia’s Institute of Strategic Studies, this year’s Samvad was held in association with the Japan Foundation, the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), and the Mongolia-based Asian Buddhist Conference for Peace (ABCP). The occasion was formally titled “Samvad III: Global Buddhist-Hindu Initiative on Conflict Avoidance and Environment Consciousness.”

The Samvad series has been ongoing since 2015, when Indian and Japanese prime ministers Narendra Modi and Shinzo Abe began working together to articulate a distinctly Buddhist approach to soft diplomacy, a form of quiet diplomacy for countries with Buddhist majorities. The event was also one of national importance for Mongolia, a strategically important node in the unofficial alliance of Buddhist democracies that India and Japan have been patiently building for four years. Mongolia and Myanmar (host to the second Samvad conclave in 2017) are the most prominent countries connected to India and Japan by the Samvad node. Countries in this orbit include South Korea and Bhutan, as well as Tibetan monastic leaders from Dharamsala and Himalayan regions such as Ladakh.

This Was Published in Buddhistdoor Global on 9 September 2019.

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