Individually and organizationally, in small and large numbers the community of the Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace observed the International Day of Peace. Here are a few examples:
In Australia, on the International Day of Peace, declared by the United Nations, hundreds of all faiths and cultures gathered on the steps between Victoria Park and the University of Sydney to make a united call for peace. Organised by the Ministry for Peace Australia, the 24hr vigil commenced at midnight 20th September with a candlelight procession to carry the World Peace Flame to its cauldron where it remained lit for the duration of the peace celebrations. An elder of the Gadigal Tribe then performed a traditional Smoking Ceremony to commence the vigil.
From the Campaign for a Federal Department of Peace in Ottawa, Canada, they had a Peace Festival, September 21 to October 02. 0ver 20 peace events comprising music, walk, painting, political forum, meditation, film and a dinner honouring Canadian women peace champions took place during the 15 days. September 21 was marked by a Peace Walk starting from two sides of Ottawa River and converging at the Peace Tower at Parliament Hill. One Minute silence was observed at noon and proclamations from mayors of Ottawa and neighbouring Gatineau, Chelsea and Wakefield were read in different locations, The walk ended at Victoria Island with an inter-faith meeting presided by 95 year old Algonquin leader Grandfather William Commanda from Circle of Nations. Information about these events you may also find at these websites: Civilian Peace Service Canada, The Spirit Wrestlers.
In USA, more than 30 Walks for Peace were registered on September 20. For more information and other activities for the International Day of Peace please see in the Peace Day Magazine. A Peace Pole Dedication Ceremony was also held in New Jearsey, please see a photo slide show here.
Wanganui Peace Day Celebration, Sarjeant Gallery – 21st September 2008, New Zealand
- The Wanganui International Day of Peace began, as in past years, with a few people gathering at the Peace sculpture ‘Handspan’ at 12 Noon to link with the international peace vigil in silent prayers for peace and goodwill between all the world’s peoples. A few churches rang their bells to mark this moment of unity.
- The main Peace Day commemoration focused on the 60 anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. School students and young people were invited to speak to their chosen article from the Declaration. They spoke on the rights and the freedoms from fear and abuse and of hunger of children and women; of the right to live in a democracy; article 18 ‘everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion..,’ (please see poem attached written by Laura Hardcastle, Wanganui High School)
- The flags of all UN member states, made by Wanganui school children, decorated the walls of the gallery together with UN Human Rights Posters, and the names of all UN member nations were mentioned as we invoked peace and goodwill between all peoples and nations.
- Our speaker, Human Rights Commissioner, Jeremy Pope, elaborated on the need to see all human rights as being: ‘inherent, inalienable, universal, indivisible and interdependent’.
- Our ceremony ended with the Tapestry choir singing and a poem being read as the peace candle was blown out ‘taking thoughts of love, goodwill, justice to the nations, the earth and all its peoples crying out for peace’.
- The headline of Wanganui Chronicle’s interview with Jeremy Pope, read “Why don’t we have a Ministry for Peace?” One day we will!
A more comprehensive report and photos will eventually be available on OPTU’s website www.peacethroughunity.info
Our colleagues in Pakistan from Organization for Peace and Development through peace education celebrated too and their report you may find here.
In Sierra Leone our colleagues celebrated the World Peace day as a coalition of Civil Society Organizations. The celebration took place in various parts of the country. In the City of Bo they celebrated with Political Party Youths by conducting a 4 day workshop on Non-violence and climaxed it with a football match on the 21st September. In Freetown the day was celebrated with a road musical show playing a non-violence album produced by Sierra Leonean Musical artists. The Celebration was sponsored by the UNDP.
Within Nonviolent Peaceforce a call was sent out by Simonetta Costanzo Pittaluga, Spain to support all the Civilian Peace Teams in Mindanao, Republic of Philippines. They are on the field providing nonviolent accompaniment for the local population. She also practiced meditation for humanity at the Shri Ram Chandra Mission with other members around the world.
In Romania, PATRIR organized a movie showing about the Peace One Day Campaign, offered presentations in schools and also prepared a comprehensive media pack on how to implement peace journalism to reporting.
Karen Barensche, South Africa lit candles and observed a vigil for solidarity with other people in the world. Her organisation, the South Africa Peace Alliance, connected with two other groups in Cape Town. One was an open meditation to everyone on the Seapoint Beach/Promenade and the other was a Buddhist group who held a meditation in the Buddhist Centre.
From Japan, Hideaki Nakagawa informed us that he: “Took part in the organisation of a series of events in my home town of Kunitachi (western part of Tokyo). The event was called Peace Week in Kunitachi and held between 20 and 28 September. I organised a lecture by a university professor and the former mayor, participated in the talk event in which Yumi (Kikuchi, leader of Japan United for Ministry of Peace, n.ed) was the main speaker and sang two songs with my guitar in a gig. I also went to many other events (lectures, movies and concerts) organised by my friends during the week.”
And many more as information comes in. We will keep you posted.
pakistan_idp_2008.pdf – File Size: 304 kb – File Type: pdf – Download File