Malawi’s former President, Joyce Banda was invited to and attended the United States of America (USA) National Prayer Breakfast at Washington Hilton Hotel.
During the week-long event, which ended on Thursday, February 5, 2015, former President Banda delivered a speech at a side event of high-profile women and offered a closing prayer.
The National Prayer Breakfast is a yearly event held in Washington DC, whose climax is on the first Thursday of February each year. The founder of this event was Abraham Vereide.
The event—which is actually a series of meetings, prayers, readings, greetings luncheons, and dinners—has taken place since 1953 and has been held at least since the 1980s at the Washington Hilton on Connecticut Avenue NW.
“She spoke about the importance of love, peace and unity among the people of the world. She bemoaned the prevailing human and natural tragedies including wars that have caused untold human suffering over the years,” said one of Banda’s aides who accompanied her to the historic event.
In his keynote address at the event on Thursday, US President Barack Obama said the US would never stop fighting for freedom of religion around the world. He talked about the inspiration given by faith world-wide driving people to do right, but faith also used as a weapon.
President Obama also referred to hate crimes and terrorism, such as “ISIL, a brutal, vicious, death cult that, in the name of religion, carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism.”
The breakfast was attended by some 3,500 guests, including international invitees from over 100 countries. The National Prayer Breakfast is hosted by members of the United States Congress and is organized on their behalf by The Fellowship Foundation, a Christ-centered organization. Initially called the Presidential Prayer Breakfast, the name was changed in 1970 to the National Prayer Breakfast.
It is designed to be a forum for the political, social, and business elite to assemble and build relationships. Since the inception of the National Prayer Breakfast, several U.S. states and cities and other countries have established their own annual prayer breakfast events.
Every U.S. president since Dwight D. Eisenhower has participated in the annual event.
The Dalai Lama was the ‘Special Guest’ during this year’s event. President Obama offered “a special welcome to a good friend, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who is a powerful example of what it means to practice compassion, who inspires us to speak up for the freedom and dignity of all human beings”.
“I’ve been pleased to welcome him to the White House on many occasions, and we’re grateful that he’s able to join us here today,” said the US President.
Dalai Lamas are the head monks of the Gelug School, the newest of the schools of Tibetan Buddhism.The current Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, and is also well known for his lifelong advocacy for Tibetans inside and outside Tibet.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :