Festival of Spirituality and Peace, which runs through to 29 August.
He writes: "The Festival of Spirituality and Peace is now firmly established as one of the key Edinburgh International Festivals and I am delighted to see it go from strength to strength with each successive year. Edinburgh's International Festivals don't just allow us to enjoy arts and entertainment from home and abroad, they allow us opportunities to think about our lives and the world we live in.
"This year's theme of Faith, Hope and Reality is a perfect example of thought-provoking and challenging issues discussed in ways which educate, inspire and entertain, and there is no doubt in my mind that everyone attending the events throughout the coming three weeks will be both educated and challenged by what they see and hear.
"Building a better society is not just the work of politicians, faith leaders and community activists. Real change is driven by all people who are ready to challenge injustice, prejudice and discrimination. I know that this year's festival will be exciting and enjoyable for participants and audience alike, and I pass on my best wishes to all.