The Brahma Kumaris became affiliated to the UN Department of Public Information (UNDPI) as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in 1980, and have had Consultative Status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) since 1983, and with UNICEF since 1988.
In July 1998, ECOSOC, on the recommendation of its committee on NGOs, approved an upgrade in our status from ‘NGO on the roster’ to ‘general consultative status’. The upgrade recognizes the broad range of issues we have contributed to in relation to the work of ECOSOC.
In pursuing the goal of upholding the human rights of all people, we work with UNICEF and UNESCO at the UN headquarters and within national committees and commissions, promoting value-based programs and initiatives through our local and national centres. These often include activities specifically designed for women, youth and children.
In 1986, the UN International Year of Peace, the institution launched The Million Minutes of Peace Appeal, which reached 88 countries, involved millions of people and won the support of hundreds of companies and other organisations. Emphasizing that peace begins inside each individual, the project collected contributions of over one billion minutes of peace in the form of prayers, meditation and positive thoughts.
As a result of this Appeal, the Brahma Kumaris received seven UN Peace Messenger Awards. This inspired the first International Peace Messenger Initiative dedicated to the UN, called Global Co-operation for a Better World. Launched from the Houses of Parliament in London in April 1988, this project creatively collected hopes and visions for a better world from hundreds of thousands of people in 129 countries. They were synthesized into The Global Vision Statement, which forms the heart of the UN Peace Messenger and UNESCO-supported publication, Visions of a Better World. The program concluded with an international conference at the headquarters of the institution in Mount Abu. On this occasion, a document titled “Mt Abu Declaration” was adopted. It was later put on the agenda of the UN General Assembly and officially adopted.
In 1994, the institution launched its third international project, Sharing Our Values for a Better World, aimed at raising awareness about 12 universal core values and promoting their development at the individual and collective levels. These values were the central focus of Living Values: A Guidebook, published in honour of the UN’s 50th Anniversary. Using the Guidebook and the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child as a framework, educators from around the world helped to develop Living Values: an Educational Program (LVEP). LVEP, used today in over 70 countries, is a partnership among educators, supported by UNESCO, and is sponsored by the National Committee of UNICEF (Spain), Planet Society (UNESCO) and the Brahma Kumaris in consultation with the Education Cluster of UNICEF (New York). Its purpose is to provide guiding principles and tools for the development of the whole person, including his or her physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual dimensions.