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UN's Peace University honours Indian Vice President for contribution to the 'Rule of Law, democracy and sustainable development in India'
UN's University of Peace honours Indian Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu for his contribution 'to the Rule of Law, democracy and sustainable development in India' by conferring the degree of 'Doctor of Philosophy' (Doctor Honoris Causa) from the Dean of the University in the Costa Rican capital of San Jose. He is the first Indian to be honoured by this university, said an official release.

It is reported that the University of Peace was founded by the UN with the mandate of "Engaging in dissemination of knowledge fundamental to the full development of the human person and societies through interdisciplinary study of all matters relating to peace".

Vice President Naidu has called for tolerance and inclusion replacing religious bigotry and stressed the need for inter-faith understanding for a conflict free world. He was of view that terrorism was the main threat to the collective dream of peace, informs the release.

In his acceptance speech, Vice President Naidu said "This (Honorary Doctorate) is more an honour for my country than to me as an individual. It is an honour bestowed on a country, a civilization and a culture that has been an ardent and consistent champion of peace since time immemorial. I am privileged to receive this honour when the world is commemorating the 150th Birth Anniversary of Gandhi Ji, the extraordinary apostil of peace".

"I am indeed grateful to the University for Peace for thinking of me and my country for this unique honour. To me, it is a recognition of the continuing relevance of Indian thought and vision in addressing contemporary challenges to world peace," he added.

"Peace is not merely absence of conflict but a positive state of wellbeing in which each individual in society can feel free to grow and access opportunities equitably, where justice is dispensed without fear or favour, where the rule of law prevails, where there is no discrimination on any basis, where national fervor and international cooperation co-exist and where force is used only to defend not to attack and the focus of the polity is on improving the quality of people's lives," he said in his address.

Here are some punch lines from his address.

-Peace begins with our search for the common bonds that unite us rather than when we look for and accentuate the differences.

-Non-violence is a natural, concomitant corollary to this world view.

-Terrorism is the biggest scourge of our lives. It, along with threats like climate change and public health epidemics, do not follow the contours of political borders

-Indeed, terrorism is actually a struggle between the values of humanism and acts of inhumanity.  It is a menacing threat to humanity that raises its ugly head and leaves a trail of destruction wherever it strikes.

-Mitigating the effects of climate change remains one of the most pressing challenges to peace and human security of our times through causing water and food stress on the planet.

Inequalities and exclusion are major causes of conflict. Peace cannot be sustained in an environment where certain groups are marginalized or exploited.

-Good governance with high level of accountability and transparency can also create a favourable peaceful environment.

-The key ingredients of good governance are meaningful dialogue with the people and their active participation.

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