My Impressions of the EVU Congress
by Jashu Shah, IVU Councilor and Secretary of the Asian Vegetarian Unionfrom EVU News, Issue 2/1999
As one of the speakers I was invited to attend the EVU Congress by Sigrid De Leo and it was my pleasure to accept. I left India on 17th July by Swiss Air and reached Zurich at 6.00 p.m. We were 35 minutes ahead of time. I got out of the Airport and took a train to Widnau. In Switzerland trains run by minutes. I took the train for Heerbrugg and reached Widnau (Heerbrugg) exactly at 8.38 a.m. I got down from the train and gave a ring to Mrs. Sigrid asking her to pick me up from Station. She came and within minutes we were at Hotel Forum at the center of the town. The European Vegetarian Union was started in 1985 and the first Congress was held in 1985. The last EVU was held in Busselengo, Italy about which I have also written earlier (see EVU News 4/97).|
With the 7th European Vegetarian Congress such an event was held for the first time in Switzerland. It was expected that there would be 300 to 400 people but more than 500 delegates attended the Congress from all over the world.Among the participants were Dr. Sango Park from Korea, Dr. Vijay Raj Singh and Dr. Madan Bajaj both of Delhi, Dr. Ramchand Mulchand from Spain originally Indian, former IVU president Mr. Surendra Mehta from Madras, India, Mr. Laxmi Narain Modi from New Delhi and many others. There were people from the USA, Canada, Russia, Australia and even from Brazil.
The opening ceremony was held in the evening of 18th July 1999 and the Commune President Dr. Christa Kšppel inaugurated the Congress. Widnau became for a week the focal point of the Vegetarian activity in Switzerland. In the morning there were arrivals and registration followed by lunch.
In the afternoon Dr. Ramchand Bulchand spoke on how to get relief from aches and pains with magnets, eye washing and a vegetarian diet. He spoke for more than 2 hours and gave a demonstration of the effect of magnets on the body. He had sent a great number of magnets and eye cups from Barcelona to Widnau and generously donated them to the interested participants.
On the 19th Prof. Dr. Marcel Hebbelinck spoke on "Vegetarianism, Ecology and Ethics" that started the ball rolling opening the Congress. There were continuous talks from several speakers including Joyce D'Silva who spoke on "Is Vegetarianism enough" Christopher Fettes from Ireland spoke on "Lifestyle of the Future". The young David Wolfe from USA spoke on "Nature's First Law - Raw Food" There were several other speakers. Charlotte Probst from Austria spoke about animal protection at school and read the lecture of Dr. Berger (who was absent due to an accident): "Responsibility of Christians towards Animals".
On Tuesday 20th July there was a peace run at 5.30 p.m. Wednesday was an off day and a day for excursions. People went to nearby places. Some people went to St. Gallen, Vaduz and Ticino. They were very good outings!
On 22nd July Dr. Ramchand Bulchand gave again a lecture on the relief of aches and pains, Sergeant Sherry Schlueter from the USA talked about "The Cycle of Violence", she gave her own personal experience from her service in the Police Force. Dr. Leena Vilkka from Finland spoke on the "Intrinsic Value of Nature" Dr. Vijay Raj Singh spoke about how storms and Tornadoes are the direct results of extensive fishing and killing of sea animals. Dr. Madan Bajaj spoke of the BSI effect and the plea to stop animals being slaughtered.
On Friday the 23rd July Dr. Irina Medkova from Russia spoke on "Vegetarianism in Health status of sick and healthy people", Swiss Dr. Ernst Bauer's lecture on the "Healing Effects of Raw Food" was read (he was unable to come) and I spoke on Vegetarianism in India.
The entire credit for organizing, and successfully arranging the 7th EVU Congress goes to Sigrid De Leo, the Secretary of the European Vegetarian Union and her family. When it was proposed 2 years ago that Widnau would be the venue of the 7th European Vegetarian Congress it was thought an impossible task but Sigrid made the impossible task possible. Sigrid's daughter Francesca and her two sons Marc and Tommaso were the people who worked from morning till night and made the 7th EVU Congress successful. Sigrid was everywhere. Nobody can say that anybody was dissatisfied except for the Diarrhea on one day due to the consumption of raw beans. The food was enjoyable and it was an experience to live on raw food. Sigrid has put Widnau, which is a small place, on the map of the vegetarian world. Widnau will be remembered in the History of Vegetarianism for holding the successful 7th European Vegetarian Congress.