Virtual Conference on Elders of Traditions, Culture next month

Call to the Maori community to join on February 20 and 21, 2021

Staff Reporter
Auckland, January 10, 2021

(Image from ICCS website)

Maori elders have been invited to join an international conference of ‘Elders of Ancient Traditions & Cultures,’ due to be held on February 20 and February 21, 2021.

Organised by the International Centre for Cultural Studies (ICCS), the Conference, seventh in an annual series, will be held online this year under the theme, ‘Ancient Cultures Championing Humanity’ catering to various time zones across the Continents.

Building sustainable civilisation

ICCS Volunteer Professor Guna Magesan said that one of the aims of the Conference is to bring together nature-based traditions to inform, inspire and instruct us on how to build a sustainable civilisation in the 21st century.

“Wisdom, as old as humanity, will be shared by elders, thinkers and earnest activists who act relentlessly to preserve what the ancient Hindus called Dharma; what the Druids called Arwen; and what modern science labels as the “unity underneath all our diversity,” he said in a media statement.

Professor Guna Magesan (Twitter)

Describing Year 2021 as ‘an unprecedented time for humanity,’ he said that Covid-19 continues to dominate international affairs and that ICCS will hold its International Conference online for the first time. Delegates from over 50 countries are expected to attend.

Professor Magesan, who is also the General Secretary of the Hindu Council of New Zealand, said that the forthcoming Conference is one of the internationally reputed socio-cultural gatherings and that it will be held over a 48-hour period.

Conference Timings

“New Zealand has been put up in the Indo-Pacific Zone, which includes South Asia, Southeast Asia, Far East and Australia, and its time slot is from 6 pm to 9 pm (NZ time) on February 20 and February 21, 2021. Our Maori community has been allotted 20 minutes to have a Karakia (Maori prayer), Waiata (a song) and a short speech on Maori’s World View on Modernity with Sustainability,” he said.

According to Professor Magesan, although modernity has given us much and enriched our material lives, this progress has been one-dimensional, and has come at great cost.

Sustaining Civilisations and Nature is our duty (Image from ICCS website)

Modern world challenges

“Clean water, clear skies, thriving ecosystems, and human flourishing – the most precious things in life – have been marred by individualism, alienation, and destruction. Ancient cultures, like all diversity on our planet, are also under threat. Yet, these ancient cultures have the ‘software’ to help us re-imagine our systems and institutions that can help us make human life sustainable again and to restore our world. Our ancient traditions rooted in nature have the power to fuse modernity with sustainability,” he said.

It is understood that organisers of the Conference have asked Professor Magesan to identify

Maori Elders for the Karakia, and to speak on the assigned topic, followed by a Waiata.

He requested the Maori community to identify and nominate Maori Elders for this international conference. Nominations (with abstracts) should reach by email by January 20, 2021 to

About the International Centre for Cultural Studies

ICCS in India has been organising triennial conference by bringing together the Elders, community leaders, research scholars, believers and practitioners of more than 100 living ancient cultures and traditions from all over the world to participate, share and preserve ancient knowledge with a common thread best described by the Lakota prayer “Mitakuye Oyasin” – We are all related. The previous conferences were held at Mumbai (2003), Jaipur (2006), Nagpur (2009), Haridwar (2012), Mysore (2015) and Mumbai (2018) in India.

The organisers are keen to welcome Maori elders from New Zealand. During an earlier visit to Aotearoa New Zealand, Dr Yashwant Pathak, an internatinal scholar, who initiated this triennial Conference, said that the Maori community is one of the few ancient cultures that was socially, culturally and politically active.

“At the world stage, Maori community is a role model for other ancient cultures that have struggled to maintain their identity,” he said.

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