Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Deepak Chopra: Costa Rica is a model for human development

By Rob Bartlett
Tico Times

The renowned Indian-American physician and writer Deepak Chopra is in Costa Rica to participate in the Human Forum at the Real Intercontinental hotel in Escazu.

This is the first time the conference has been held outside Puerto Rico since its founding in 2002.
"This country is making progress. It is a model," said Chopra at a press conference yesterday, explaining the decision to move the event to Costa Rica. He cited the country's environmental awareness and lack of an army as part of the reasoning.

He also said the decision was intended as an act of "homage" to President Oscar Arias, a founding member of the alliance. The Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Development is co-hosting the conference. The two men were scheduled to officially open the conference together at the National Museum in downtown San Jose yesterday evening.

At the press conference, Chopra laid out the vision of the Alliance for a New Humanity, the organization that is hosting the conference and of which he is president. He explained that the alliance encourages three activities that it hopes will lead to a "critical mass" of people who act as a catalyst for positive change in the world: "personal transformation," or becoming a truly responsible citizen; "social transformation," or taking positive action for the benefit of society; and the desire and will to share positive experiences of transformation.

The event is specifically looking to counter five "myths" said to dominate human relationships and interaction with nature: money brings happiness; technology yields well-being; weapons provide security; natural resources are unlimited; and somebody else will solve society's problems.

Answering criticism of the organization's lack of impact at a global level, Chopra acknowledged that "No, we have not seen any results in global politics." But, he added, "to see a transformation in global politics, we need to reach a critical mass," and he insisted that he was satisfied with the progress of the organization.

The event will take the form of thematic workshops and roundtable discussions on relevant topics. The aim is to encourage dialogue among all nationalities and across all disciplines and political affiliations.

Those attending will be able to network, exchange ideas and open new channels of communication to further the cause of sustainable global development and the commitment to non-violence.

Approximately 560 people are attending the conference, which will run until Friday. In addition to Chopra, many other leading international figures will be attending the conference, including Indian Ashok Khosla, president of the Club of Rome; Italian journalist and communications expert Roberto Savio; American concert pianist Lorin Hollander and Spanish judge and academic Baltasar Garzón.

For more information go to the Alliance's website:
Alternatively, contact the Arias foundation at 224-1919.

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