BENGALURU : I recognised my passion at the age of nine,” said Dr Kiran Bedi at the inaugural session of the International Women’s Conference. Themed around The Circle of Life, the three-day event, which kicked off on February 14 at The Art of Living International Centre, deals with the pillars of passion, compassion and dispassion. Recalling the incident that changed the course of her life, Bedi continued, “I saw a husband beat his wife because she asked him for money. So I confronted him and that’s when I knew I had a passion towards not tolerating injustice. There was no looking back since then.”
Currently in its ninth edition, the conference saw participation from women across multiple countries, including Nepal, Latvia, USA, South Africa, Seychelles and Micronesia. “The conference aims to bring together women from all over the world and provide a platform for rural and urban women to learn from each other,” says Bhanumathi Narasimhan, chairperson, women welfare & child care programmes, Art of Living.
Like Bedi, the other speakers present too, discussed the source of their passion and had interesting insights to share with the audience. For example, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Union Minister of Food Processing, spoke about how her Nanhi Chhaan Foundation aims to address gender inequality and preservation of the environment together. “It’s made such an impact that it has improved the sex ratio in the state of Punjab,” she said to much applause.
Dace Melbarde, a member of the European Parliament from Latvia, spoke about her passion for singing, even demonstrating a piece to highlight how the art form is an integral part of Latvian culture. “Singing has helped me express and manage my emotions, cope with life’s difficulties, meditate and more,” she said. Supreme Court judge from Nepal, Sapana Pradhan Malla, on the other hand, spoke about her passion for bringing about legal changes, adding that over time, the percentage of women in the parliament is 33 per cent.
Rosalía Arteaga, who was Ecuador’s first female head of state; Nelson Madela’s granddaughter Ndileka Mandela; Gita Mittal, high court judge, Jammu and Kashmir; governor, Uttarakhand, Baby Rani Maurya; French journalist and environmentalist Nicolas Hulot, were some of the other eminent personalities present at day one of the event, which also included a meditation session by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.