Our global spiritual perspective highlights and affirms the ideals and principles underlying the work and spirit of the United Nations. Speaking with the authority of an increasingly large segment of civil society concerned with human and social values, we support UN programmes over a wide range of developmental, humanitarian and other issues. Our special competence brings a unique ethical and spiritual approach to world concerns and enables this approach to be clearly expressed within the broad forum of UN circles.
The Brahma Kumaris became affiliated as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) to the UN Department of Public Information (UNDPI) in 1980 and has had Consultative Status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) since 1983 and with UNICEF since 1988. In July 1998, ECOSOC, on the recommendation of its Committee on NGOs, approved an upgrade in our status from ‘NGO on the Roster’ to ‘general consultative status’. The upgrade recognises the broad range of issues we have contributed to in relation to the work of ECOSOC.
We have sent sizeable delegations to most major UN Conferences over the decades, including Nairobi, Rio, Beijing, Copenhagen, and Istanbul.
In pursuing the goal of upholding the human rights of all people we work with UNICEF and UNESCO at UN headquarters and within national committees & commissions, promoting value-based programmes and initiatives through our local and national centres. These often include activities specifically designed for women, youth and children.
During 1986, the UN’s International Year of Peace, the Institution launched The Million Minutes of Peace Appeal, which reached 88 counties, involved millions of people and won the support of hundreds of companies and organisations. Emphasising that peace begins within each individual, the project collected contributions of over one billion minutes of peace in the form of prayer, meditation and positive thoughts.
As a result of this Appeal, the Brahma Kumaris received 7 UN Peace Messenger Awards. This inspired the first International Peace Messenger Initiative dedicated to the UN, Global
Co-operation for a Better World. Launched from the Houses of Parliament in London in April 1988, this project creatively collected hopes and visions for a better world from hundreds of thousands of people in 129 countries. They were synthesised into The Global Vision Statement, which forms the heart of the UN Peace Messenger and UNESCO supported publication, Visions of a Better World. The programme concluded with an international conference at Mt Abu Headquarters of the institution. On this occasion, a document titled “Mt Abu Declaration” was adopted which was later put on the Agenda of the General Assembly of the UN and was officially adopted.
In 1994, the Institution launched its third international project, Sharing Our Values for a Better World, aimed at raising awareness of 12 universal core values and promoting their development at both individual and collective levels. These values were the central focus of Living Values: A Guidebook, published in honour of the UN’s 50th Anniversary. Using the Guidebook and the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child as a framework, educators from around the world helped to develop Living Values: an Educational Program (LVEP). LVEP, used today in over 70 countries, is a partnership among educators, supported by UNESCO, and is sponsored by the National Committee of UNICEF (Spain), Planet Society (UNESCO) and the Brahma Kumaris, in consultation with the Education Cluster of UNICEF (New York). Its purpose is to provide guiding principles and tools for the development of the whole person, including his or her physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual dimensions.
In February 1996, a paper was submitted to the UN Economic Summit at Stockholm . The summit discussed measures for Poverty alleviation. It had all social agenda for the first time.