Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate by the University for Peace founded by the United Nations Organisations (UNO) for his contribution "to the Rule of Law, democracy and sustainable development in India".
He received the degree of "Doctor Honoris Causa" from the Dean of the University for Peace here.
In his acceptance speech, Naidu said, "This (Honorary Doctorate) is 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."
He also called for defeating the destructive forces of hatred, the fanatical cries of religious bigotry and the megalomaniac designs of despotic rulers to ensure peace for promoting the welfare of humankind.
Urging the people to see others as their own kin, he asserted, "The ability to appreciate and celebrate the fascinating diversity in thoughts, languages, cultures and religious beliefs is the foundation for our ability to live together. Peace begins with our search for common bonds that unite us rather than when we look for and accentuate the differences."
Further, stressing on the need to appreciate 'divinity' in every human being, Naidu called for building a larger collective effort to present a world view drawn from all the major faiths to encourage a greater understanding of the essential tenets that promote peace through the promotion of inter-faith understanding. He asserted that Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism and Jainism shun violence and stress on the overarching themes of universal brotherhood and peaceful co-existence.
The Vice President also noted that terrorism has emerged as the biggest threat to the world peace even as the world is getting more globalised and closely knit through trade, commerce and information technology and India is bearing the impact of this most serious challenge.
Stating that radicalisation on the basis of religion is gaining ground, Naidu urged for combating terrorism with the collective might by breaking its nexus with illicit financial and arms flows. India's endeavour towards peaceful development has only too often being derailed by cross border terrorism, he said.
Referring to inequalities and exclusion as the major causes of conflict derailing peace, Naidu gave an account of the initiatives taken by the Government to promote inclusive and sustainable development.
Stating that peace is synonymous with development, the Vice President said that national fervour and international cooperation shall co-exist and force shall be used only to defend and not to attack.
The University for Peace was founded further to a resolution of United Nations' General Assembly (UNGA) in December 1980, incorporating an International Agreement for the establishment of the University of Peace with the mandate of "Engaging in dissemination of knowledge fundamental to the full development of the human person and societies to the interdisciplinary study of all matters relating to peace".
India is a signatory to this resolution and Venkaiah Naidu is the first Indian to receive an Honorary Doctorate from this University.