Chicago Sprucing Up to Hold Second World Hindu Congress


With only about three months to go, preparations for the second World Hindu Congress (WHC-2018) to be held in Chicago during September 7, 8 and 9 are in an advanced stage. The elegant Hotel Westin in Lombard, a suburb of Chicago, is sprucing up for the historic event. Organized under the auspices of the World Hindu Foundation, the first World Hindu Congress was held during November 21-23, 2014 in New Delhi, attended by 1,800 delegates. Chicago as the venue for the second World Hindu Congress was announced at the New Delhi congress. The World Hindu Foundation is headed by an IIT alumnus, Swami Vigyananand.

Preparations for the present Chicago congress, which began about a year ago, have been progressing very well and various committees have been working diligently in selecting a suitable venue, sending invitations world-over to dignitaries and speakers, providing accommodation, food and transportation facilities to delegates. Raising funds for this big event has been no easy task, but it has been going on smoothly by the support extended by many sponsors, individuals and organizations.

This collective effort has been given by hundreds of committed volunteers under the active guidance of stalwarts like Swami Vigyananand, Head of World Hindu Foundation, Dr. Abhaya Asthana, president of World Hindu Council of America (WHPA), as convener; Dr. S.P. Kothari, an educationist, as chairman, Raju Reddy as the vice chairman, Dr. Shamkant Sheth, host of the WHC-2018, and several others. Sanjay Kaul is coordinating outreach and mobilization effort for the WHC-2018. According to the organizers, the Congress is expected to be attended by more than 2,000 delegates from over 50 countries. Already more than 1,200 delegates from countries like India, Nepal, Australia, New Zealand, Mauritius, the US, Japan and Hong Kong have registered and more delegates are registering every day.

In an interview, Dr. Abhaya Asthana says that the idea of the World Hindu Congress is inspired by the Hindu principle of sumantrite suvikrante, which means, “Think Collectively, Achieve Valiantly”. He says that the main objective of the congress is to promote networking and general awareness of the issues important to the Hindu communities all over the world. The congress will address civilizational issues pertinent to the Hindus. It is not a religious or spiritual conference.

It is more to discuss socio-economic and political issues concerning men and women of all age groups.

Among the principal dignitaries who will be participating in the inaugural and plenary sessions, he says, are His Holiness Dalai Lama; Dr. Mohan Rao Bhagwat, head of RSS; Pravind Jugnauth, Prime Minister Mauritius; Ashwin Adhin, Vice President of Republic of Suriname; Paramasivum Pillai Vyapoory, Vice President of Mauritius; Ma. Dattatreya Hosabale, Sah Karyavah of RSS; Pujya Swami Swaroopanand, Head of Chinmaya Mission Worldwide; Swami Poornatmananda, Head of Bharat Seva Sangh; Sadhu Brahma Bihari Das, Head of BAPS International Relation; Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Head of Art of Living; Pranav Pandya, Head of All World Gayatri Pariwar; and Prof. S. P. Kothari, Sloan School of Management, MIT, as Chairman of WHC 2018; and Sri Raju Reddy, CEO, as Vice-Chairman of WHC-2018. Dr. Abhaya Asthana also says that the World Hindu Congress will be honoring four major organizations — Geeta Press of Gorakhpur, BAPS Swaminarayan, Chinmaya Mission and ISKCON — for their exemplary service to the worldwide Hindu community.

The present Second World Congress will have an inaugural session, a plenary session with keynote address and seven parallel sessions during the three days, discussed as follows:

  1. –The World Hindu Economic Forum  brings together executives, entrepreneurs, and industrialists alongside economists and business strategists to share real world experiences and knowledge about surplus wealth creation for widespread prosperity.
  2.  –The Hindu Political Conference brings together Hindus serving as elected representatives, appointees, and staffers, Hindu policy experts, human and civil rights advocates, and other stakeholders to deliberate on issues impacting Hindus at local, national, and global levels.
  3. — The Hindu Media Conference brings together journalists, bloggers, media house executives, public commentators, and observers to share ideas and experiences.
  4. –The Hindu Organizational Conference brings together a vast array of Hindu organizations, including temples, associations, and institutions to share best practices, experiences, resources, and ideas.
  5. — The Hindu Education Conference brings together educators, academics, administrators, governments, students, and other stakeholders to discuss challenges and opportunities in the field of education.
  6. –The Hindu Women Conference brings together Hindu women from diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and professions, including business, science, politics, and the arts, to share ideas and experiences as well as their contributions to variety of spheres.
  7. — The Hindu Youth Conference brings together youth organizations and Hindu students active throughout the global Hindu community to capitalize on their energy, creativity, and idealism; to share experiences; and cultivate future Hindu leaders.

Noted industrialists, economists, entrepreneurs, seasoned politicians, educationists, achievers and experts in various specialized areas as panelists and speakers have been invited. All the sessions are well planned and are expected to be very informative and educative.

Dr. Shamkant Sheth, who attended the First World Hindu Congress in New Delhi, says that the Chicago conference has special significance as it was here on September 11, 1893 that Swami Vivekananda delivered his historic ‘brothers and sisters address‘ at the Parliament of World Religions, introducing the Hinduism to the West. The Chicago conference coincides with the commemoration of 125th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s historic speech. Dr. Sheth invites all to join the Second World Hindu Conference to participate and be a part of the historic celebration.

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