HAF Meets with Suriname’s Permanent Mission to the UN

New York, NY (March 6, 2008). Continuing its efforts to dialogue with United Nations member countries with large Hindu populations, the leadership of the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) met this week with H.E. Henry L. Mac-Donald, the Ambassador of the Permanent Mission of Suriname to the United Nations. At an initial meeting held at the Mission's New York offices on March 6, 2008, the HAF Director of Development, Sheetal Shah, described the objectives, accomplishments, and future endeavors of the foundation. A wide-ranging discussion on a mutual commitment to religious tolerance and pluralism was also discussed.

"The Permanent Mission of Suriname to the United Nations was pleased to meet with the Hindu American Foundation and supports HAF's efforts to promote pluralism and tolerance amongst the world's religions,” said Mac-Donald. “The UN is the key global institution that can play a large role in strengthening the relationships between the world’s religions.”

The majority of the discussion focused on current and future interfaith efforts on a global scale. With a majority Christian population and large Hindu, Muslim, and ethnic minorities, Mac-Donald projected Suriname as a prime example of a country where various religious and ethnic groups live in harmony alongside each other.

Shah highlighted the Foundation's 2006 human rights report, Hindus in South Asia and the Diaspora, and appreciated that Suriname has never been listed in the report. Additionally, HAF presented its 2006 hate watch report, Hyperlink to Hinduphobia, and explained its relevance as the first attempt by the Foundation to define hatred against Hindus on online fora.

“This initial meeting with Ambassador Mac-Donald was a great opportunity for HAF to continue furthering its relationship with member nations of the UN as well as opening the door for future interfaith efforts,” said Shah, in a statement released from the Foundation's New York office. “Moreover, HAF is pleased to be the first Hindu organization that has reached out to the Suriname Permanent Mission.”