Chairman of the International Organising Committee for the United Nations Day of Vesak 2014, Most Venerable Thich Thanh Nhieu, has said he believes the celebrations in the northern province of Ninh Binh on May 8-10 will be a success.

In a recent interview with the Vietnam News Agency, Nhieu, who is also Permanent Vice President of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) Executive Council, described the Vesak Day as a key diplomatic event, promoting Vietnam as a country of hospitable people who enjoy the right to follow any religious practices.

Unlike the 2008 Vesak Day that was held in Hanoi, this year’s event will get started at Bai Dinh temple, the biggest in the Southeast Asia. This should reassure international friends that Vietnam is perfectly able to host such event for the second time, he said.

Mentioning the proposed activities, he said that besides workshops, the day will feature a ceremony praying for national prosperity and peace for all citizens, with tens of thousands of Buddhist dignitaries, monks and nuns from all corners of the country taking part. Over 1,500 foreign guests, including statesmen and royal representatives, will also be in attendance.

According to Nhieu, 13 central departments and agencies have assisted the VBS in external affairs, security, health care and media, and preparations have been basically completed.

With the support of over 2,000 voluntary students in Hanoi and Ninh Binh, local hotels are ready to welcome guests, while hospitals and areas around the temple are fully equipped for all possible contingencies.

In response to queries about the VBS’s contributions to realising the UN millennial development goals, which form part of the 2014 Vesak Day’s featured theme, he emphasised the Sangha’s efforts over the past 30 years, including the regular support given to the poor, the orphaned, island soldiers and the families of war heroes.

Recently, the VBS donated 100 tonnes of rice and gifts in both cash and kind worth 3 billion VND (142,000 USD) to ethnic groups in the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien.

Each year, it hands over hundreds of billions VND for social welfare activities, he added.-VNA