The Eurasian Peoples’ Assembly, a platform for non-governmental organisations, intelligentsia and business communities from different countries in the region, is trying a different kind of engagement—the diplomacy of happiness. Bringing together students, activists, artists and leaders, the Eurasian Peoples’ Assembly is holding a five-day long programme, 'Days of Eurasian Assembly', from March 20 to 26. .
Headquartered in Moscow, the Eurasian Peoples’ Assembly may not be a political forum, but culture too plays an important role in conveying the message of peace and unity. As part of the programme is an exhibition of drawings made by children in Eurasia on what happiness looks like to them. These happy pictures are a plea for a world without war. “We believe all people be united,’’ said Smirnova Svetlana, first deputy of the secretary-general of the head of the General Secretariat of the Eurasian Peoples’ Assembly. “We will need to trust each other.’’
In an attempt to reach out and build connections, the Days of the Eurasian Assembly brings together a roundtable on sports, art exhibitions, film screenings, and heritage. It will also focus on tourism. As part of the effort to bring in better economic engagement, the programme, for the first time, is also focuing on business.
Such programmes have been held in UAE, Serbia, Bulgaria, Mongolia, Azerbaijan and Egypt.
While India has been a friendly country, there is a need to reach out beyond the field of strategy. The idea of the event is to convey the message that friendliness is not restricted only to government. The idea of the series of events is also to fill the gap, especially in terms of people-to-people engagement. There is a memory of the friendship that existed between India and Soviet Russia in the older generation. “We will first connect with middle aged people,’’ said the secretary general of the Eurasian Peoples’ Assembly, Belianinov Andrey. “The world needs better connections. The internet has ensured that people have forgotten how to connect in the real world.”
This is not the first time that the programme is being held in India. But this is the first after the Ukraine crisis. “We are not discussing anything political,’’ said Belianinov. “But it is a tragedy for the world.”
As part of the happiness agenda on Wednesday, there will be a day-long programme on learning from the experience of the assembly to spread happiness.
The Days of Eurasian Assembly was formally launched on what has been declared the International Day of Happiness on Monday. Interestingly, it was on the same day in 2014 that Crimea was “given’’ back to Russia. Happiness can sometimes be political.