Asian Conference on Religion and Peace (ACRP)
The first Asian Conference of Religions for Peace (ACRP) convened in Singapore in 1976. Its origins trace to WCRP II in Leuven, Belgium, in September 1974. The participating religious leaders from Asian countries were eager to hold a regional conference like those of the WCRP to reanimate the Asian religious and cultural heritage and promote human dignity, justice, and peace in the Asia-Pacific region. Subsequent conferences have been held every five years or so: in Singapore (ACRP I) in 1976; New Delhi, India (ACRP II), in 1981; Seoul, South Korea (ACRP III), in 1986; Katmandu, Nepal (ACRP IV), in 1991; Ayutthaya, Thailand (ACRP V), in 1996; and Yogyakarta, Indonesia (ACRP VI), in 2002. ACRP VII took place in October 2008 in Manila, the Philippines, with the theme “Peacemaking in Asia.” Some 400 delegates from Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Confucian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Shinto, Sikh, Tao, Zoroastrian, and other religious traditions from 20 nations of the Asia-Pacific region participated. The approximately 50 religious leaders included, from Rissho Kosei-kai, President-designate Kosho Niwano, and the delegates included five headquarters officers.
During the Closing Ceremony on October 17 at the University of Santo Tomas, Dr. Kim Sunggon, secretary-general of the ACRP, introduced President-designate Kosho Niwano. She read out a message from President Nichiko Niwano, president of the Japanese Committee of the World Conference of Religions for Peace and a copresident of the ACRP, expressing hope for further interreligious cooperation for peace, saying that the ACRP has a very important mission of making Asia a place from which the light of peace will shine forth to bring the world together.