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As usual on the last weekend of September, the European Buddhist Union is holding its annual meeting - at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa in Tuscany, Italy. Sadly most of the roughly 40 participants from many traditions all across Europe are on Zoom this time, for obvious reasons (and your trusty Liaison Officer, Munisha, is sitting in a little hut in Sweden.)
The morning has begun with a presentation from the hosts and the local mayor, followed by the presentation of a wonderful and moving project, partly financed by the Italian Buddhist Union.
Ama-La is a self-help textiles training project and business for refugee women, the result of the repopulation of a village in southern Italy that was crumbling and dying but whose population has nearly doubled in the last few years as the village offers a home to refugees from Africa. Many of them are women, 90% of whom are survivors of sexual and physical violence.
Shop online for scarves, bags and rugs from Ama-la.
Donate to Ama-la.
The rest of the meeting was concerned with work to encourage the development of ethical standards and policies in member organisations and with the appointment of trustees and office-holders.
Most excitingly, after many years of operating on a shoe-string we were able to begin to appoint two part-time paid staff based in Brussels to provide a Buddhist voice much more consistently in European institutions such as the Council of Europe. This has been made possible by a very large grant from the Italian Buddhist Union, which in turn receives money from the Italian government.