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Unless there is a spiritual renaissance, the world will know no peace.
|International Day of Peace Celebrated throughout Russia|
International Day of Peace 2012 programs took place in Khabarovsk, Kondopoga, Moscow, Novosibirsk, Perm, Ryazan, St. Petersburg, and Yekaterinburg. Ambassadors for Peace, partners, and activists organized a variety of activities promoting inner peace, peace in families, and peace between neighboring communities, peoples, and nations.
Children in the 1st "G" form were asked to make doves as a symbol of peace, stability, and prosperity, in honor of the International Day of Peace at a program in the city's gymnasium on September 21.
The internal world of children is extremely colorful, rich in imagination and ideas. Therefore, in spite of the fact that doves of peace are traditionally white, the children chose to make them multicolored. The teacher was amazed at the creative approach of the young artists who chose to expand the task and make cuts along the wings' perimeter, making the plumage look like real feathers.
Although the birds could not fly, all the doves carried on their backs good messages, for example: “Let there be no more wars”; “Let people live a long life”; and "Let us never be late for our lessons.” The homeroom teacher said she hopes that her students will grow up to be good people and that their activities will help make the world a better place.
Members of the Young Ambassadors for Peace Club and local activists joined school children in Kondopoga, Karelia, for an International Day of Peace program organized by Ambassador for Peace Mrs. Olga Meshkova, head of the Regional Administrative Department on NGO Relations.
The UN International Day of Peace was celebrated at a school for the entire week. On Monday, organizers installed an information stand with the list of programs for the coming week. On Tuesday, there was a meeting with scouts who spent some time during the summer at the international youth camp “Suunta” in Finland. They made a photo presentation about exiting activities in the camp with scouts from Russia, Finland, Germany, England, and France commuicating in English. On Wednesday students created cards with the message in English “Give a smile to the world”; the cards will be delivered to people in Finland in October. On Thursday, students made paper doves with good wishes on their wings. On Friday, the last day of the Week of Peace, they distributed paper doves to passers-by and drew pictures about peace and friendship on the asphalt.
Students also participated in a poster contest on the theme “Start changes, become peacemakers!” initiated by the Northeast chapter of UPF-Russia. Themes included “Let there be peace on the Earth”; “After a nuclear war”; and “Children of the whole planet make friends.” The poster on the theme “Children of the whole planet make friends” got a prize.
Children from first through tenth forms participated in the programs of the International Day of Peace. Here is a rhyme created by a sixth-former peacemaker Andrei Bryliov from the team “Ambassadors for Peace”:
We are peacemakers; our team
Program at the Peace Embassy: Approximately 50 leaders of NGOs and educators gathered at the UPF Peace Embassy to mark the International Day of Peace on September 20. Dmitry Samko, head of UPF-Moscow, was the moderator of the event. Konstantin Krylov, Secretary General of UPF-Russia, reported about the activities of UPF in Russia and neighboring countries as part of the 100-Day Campaign in preparation for the International Day of Peace. Ambassadors for Peace shared the news of their activities and future plans.
Among the presenters at the event were Vladimir Arsenkin, a Korean War veteran, and Mr. Evgeny Nesterov from the “Pokrovitel” Charity Foundation. They shared their poetry on the theme of peace and proposals for further joint projects. The participants also commemorated the passing away of UPF Founder Dr. Sun Myung Moon on September 3.
Ms. Elena Harlamova, a prominent youth leader in Moscow, was appointed an Ambassador for Peace.
Play Football for Peace: The final stage of the "Play Football for Peace" project aimed a promoting a culture of peace, tolerance, and healthy lifestyle among young people finished on September 21. The tournament was part of the target program "Team 2018" and supported by a grant from the National Prospects Foundation, which considered the "Play Football for Peace" proposal among the best submitted by the "Technology of Goodness" group at the Seliger 2012 Youth Forum. The tournament was also supported by the municipal authorities of the Lyublino district of Moscow.
Teams competed vigorously in a stubborn fight that nobody wanted to lose. Finally, the first prize went to the Lyublino Children's Sports Center team. Two teams, Harmonia and the Lyublino Central Sports Society, competed for silver and bronze, and Harmonia won. The Stardvor Friends team won fourth place. The winners received medals, cups, and valuable prizes. Such sports competitions are effective methods to teach children, teenagers, and their parents the way to unite people of different ethnic groups, races, and nationalities based on ideals of sovereignty, mutual prosperity, and good neighborliness.
To counter prevailing news about conflicts in the media, a public forum on “Sustainable Peace as a Guarantee of Our Secure Future” and a charitable activity called “Send a message of peace and friendship" took place in Novosibirsk in support of the UN International Day of Peace.
Forum: Ambassadors for Peace and grassroots activists shared their views about the importance of each person taking responsibility for establishing peace. Peacemaking activity should be a concern of all people. Only on this condition can lasting peace be established. The delegates of the forum talked about the important role of families in establishing peace in society. At the end of the forum, there was a training session on the role of Ambassadors for Peace and methods of solving conflicts.
"Give a smile to our world": On September 22 young people distributed leaflets in the city park with information about the International Day of Peace and gave flowers to passers-by. People were invited to take part in a photo contest on the theme “Give a smile to our world.” About 250 picture cards and dozens of flowers were distributed. If each person sends the card to his or her relatives or friends and informs them about the International Day of Peace, many new people could join the peacemaking projects.
One participant in the project, Ksenya Kolpakova, reported: “We met people of different nationalities, faiths, and ages and asked them about International Day of Peace. We told them about the history and meaning of the day. To each we gave a picture card with the UN logo and asked them to add a few good words and send the card to their relatives or friends. Their smiles warmed our hearts. I think the day was a positive experience for those who gave and those who received the light of peace."
"I received much positive energy," reported Alexandra Sitkina." People responded in various ways: "some appreciated the opportunity to share good words on the occasion while some showed almost no interest. I felt happy to be involved. If we want to improve the world, we’d better start with ourselves."
Planning meeting: Ambassadors for Peace and like-minded people – grassroots organizations activists – met at the Public Center of the “Chkalovsky” district of Perm on September 6 to pay tribute to the memory of UPF Founder Dr. Sun Myung Moon, who passed away on September 3. Then they started making plans for celebrating the UN International Day of Peace. After getting acquainted with this year's theme and listening to the address of Mr. Jacques Marion, Secretary General of UPF-Eurasia, participants shared ideas and made plans to carry out the most interesting ideas.
Photo project: The “Smile is a bridge for peace” project started in the municipal library #5 on September 19. Children of schools No. 12 and No. 15 together with their teachers, teachers and students of the Agro-industrial and Pedagogical colleges, activists of the public center “Chkalovsky,” after listening to an introductory lecture about the International Day of Peace and the responsibility of each person to build peace, went out into the streets of the city in search of smiling citizens. This presumably simple task was in reality rather complicated, because routine concerns wiped out smiles on the faces of the majority. So the peacemakers and photographers had to use special methods and their own supply of energy to make people smile.
Display at the Perm State Puppet Theater: The 50 best photos were selected for display in the hall of the Perm State Puppet Theater. With the opening of the 76th theater season on September 20, all spectators would have a chance to visit the photo presentation. Before the first performance, welcoming speeches were given by representatives of the local district and city administration, and by Lyubov Kuklina, President of the Women’s Federation for World Peace in Perm. They congratulated the spectators on the beginning of the theater season that coincided with celebration of the International Day of Peace and the opening of the wonderful photo exhibition. The atmosphere was filled with peace and goodness.
Making doves for peace: At the entrance to the Perm Pedagogical College, students and teachers were given paper doves of peace made in advance by students. Later at the library, all who wished participated in a master-class where they learned origami skill and practices in making “Doves of Peace.” Later, children and teachers handed out their doves and fliers with information about the International Day of Peace and UPF activities to passers-by.
Craft fair: Also on that day, representatives of the Women’s Federation for World Peace of Perm participated in the handicraft fair organized by the trade center “Stolitsa.” President of the Women’s Federation L. Kuklina and a volunteer S. Sedochenko, both skilled artists, sold their work to raise funds for public programs of the Women’s Federation.
The Ural chapter of UPF highly appreciates the activities of Ambassadors for Peace and activists from Perm L.P. Ivanova, Yu.V. Orekhova, T.S. Sherstnevskaya, L. Nikylina, E.L. Korban, I.V. Gankina, E.D. Garayeva, L. Kuklina, and S. Sedochenko in support of the celebration of the International Day of Peace.
Distributing leaflets: Leaflets with information about the UN International Day of Peace were distributed in Ryazan on September 20 and 21. They contained the UN's suggestions about what impact each person can make on this date for the sake of world peace and words of congratulations on the occasion.
Meeting: At an Ambassadors for Peace meeting, people paid homage to the memory of the UPF Founder, Dr. Sun Myung Moon, reported on the results of their summer activities, and discussed future plans.
Skype conference: On September 20, a Skype conference on “Bridge of Peace” initiated by UPF took place in St. Petersburg. Among the participants were schoolchildren from three locations: St. Petersburg, Novosokolnikov (Pskov region), and Kondopoga (Karelia). At the beginning, by means of Skype, the participants could meet each other visually. Then, they shared opinions about how people should live to preserve peace. Given the task of developing rules for peaceful life, they concluded that no one can achieve peace separately, because people cannot live isolated from each other. Peace is experienced when relationships between people are harmonious. Also, participants met Ambassador for Peace Valence Maniraghen, who shared about his peacemaking activity.
Celebration: On September 21, during celebration of the International Day of Peace, all gathered together in a very beautiful hall of the Neugart mansion. They once again confirmed their desire for world peace. In her welcoming address, the Secretary General of UPF-Northwest Russia, Tatyana Krasnosumova, told about the annual tradition to celebrate the International Day of Peace by striking a Bell of Peace. Japan presented the Bell of Peace to the United Nations in 1954. It was cast from coins collected by children of 60 nations and is located at the UN headquarters in New York. Twice a year it is sruck: on the first day of spring (the vernal equinox) and on September 21, the International Day of Peace, when people assemble to remember the victims of conflicts and declare their determination to establish a more secure and just peace. The inscription reads “Long live world peace!”
The Secretary General of UPF-Eurasia, Jacques Marion, addressed the participants, and afterwards a video “We Must Improve the World” was shown. Then participants viewed posters submitted for a contest on the theme of “Start changes and become a peacemaker." They could admire the placards of the winners:
The winners were handed certificates, prizes, and a photo with the Bell of Peace. Those who could not come personally for the prize will receive it by mail. Participants also enjoyed a concert by the ensemble “Tempus mecum” from the studio Galaxy at the Center of Outdoor Activity in the Kalinin District of St. Petersburg, artistic director Yulia Kovrigina. They performed three pieces:
Then there was a stirring dance “Russian Soil,” performed by a group from school No. 3 in Kirishi. After that a veterans' choir performed the “Moonlight Sonata” by Beethoven, “Krinitsy” by Eshpai, and “May You Live Long” dedicated to the entire population of the world.
Finally, following the UPF tradition an Ambassador for Peace appointment was presented to Zaborovsky Yury, who very emotionally talked about his peacemaking activity. Then the audience learned about the activity of the club of Young Ambassadors for Peace from the president of the club, who was among the participants. At the end of the celebration all participants, both children and adults, made origami doves of peace, which were then fixed to balloons and released into the open sky symbolizing peace and friendship among peoples and nations of the world.
In hopes of harnessing the potential for peacebuilding by representatives of different religions and traditions, UPF-Urals organized numerous events on the theme of “Towards peace through faith” on the International Day of Peace
Interfaith program: Followers of Sai Baba, Brahma Kumaris, Raja Yoga, the Unification Church, and International Noosphere Spiritual and Ecologic Assembly of Peace assembled on September 22. The address of the Secretary General of UPF-Eurasia, Mr. Jacques Marion, was read to the audience. In support of the slogan “Sustainable peace for sustainable future,” Mr. Marion said: “True happiness is impossible without freedom of mind. We will not experience peace as separate individuals because we cannot live isolated from each other. Therefore, we will have true freedom when we learn to live for the benefit of each other.”
After lightning the Candle of Peace, participants read quotations from different holy scriptures on “Faith and Peace” to prove that different spiritual and religious organizations have much in common. It was emphasized that the responsibility and duty of each believer should be to bring this message to all the people of the world, surmounting isolation and promoting mutual understanding and respect between followers of different faiths and cultures. Representatives of the International Center Brahma Kumaris prepared cards, each with a description of some virtue emphasizing that it should be practiced among other good habits in everyday life for the purpose of establishing peace and harmony in the society. Each participant picked out and read aloud his or her choice. All virtues taken together signify that unity of faith, thoughts, freedom, tolerance, simplicity (all based on love) multiplied by commitment will make a foundation for sustainable peace. At the end of the meeting participants offered the traditional united prayer about peace.
Towards a Youth Council of Peace: An attempt to establish a Youth Council of Peace was undertaken on September 21. The event was promoted as a meeting of like-minded people to discuss values and principles that could unite them in their many types of activities. Nine people – students and graduates - participated in a training session about UPF's five principles of peace. They discussed this year's theme, “Sustainable peace for a sustainable future,” and agreed that sustainable development centers on distribution of resources on the basis of moderating one’s desires and on education in values.
The work of the Youth Council (meetings of like-minded people) will promote moral values and the five principles of peace in particular. Participants outlined the main directions of the Council’s activity in which they would like to apply their efforts and talents. The list included nine directions: ecology, amateur sports, volunteerism, interreligious projects, peacemaking, promoting family values, youth programs for personal growth, good governance (monetary system), and school education reform. All like-minded enthusiasts will be welcome at the meetings.
Teaching lessons of peace: UPF activists and representatives of grassroots organizations (Natalya Tagiktseva from “Forum of resettlement organizations," and Leonid Grishin from “Ural Home”) presented a program on September 20 to 5th formers of school No. 43, and 3rd formers of school No. 163. Both of them have experience of living in the zones of international conflict; before coming to Yekaterinburg, Natalya lived in Abkhazia and Leonid in Kazakhstan. International conflicts caused them to move to Yekaterinburg. These wonderful people cannot stay idle knowing that others suffer because of war. In 2000 they worked with others to organize a “Flight of Peace” to Chechnya bringing with them not only humanitarian aid but also children’s drawings and letters of friendship.
Then they made a trip to Kyrgyzstan. Knowing that sometimes humanitarian aid does not reach the target, they decided to mobilize volunteers from grassroots organizations to escort the shipment. The main feature of the project was the slogan “From heart – to heart; from hand – to hand.”
Tagiltseva and Grishin witnessed many war atrocities. On photos and videos, the children saw sorrow and anguish of people of different ages and nationalities, including suffering small children. All this corroborated the words of the UPF representatives about importance of the UN International Day of Peace and the great mission of peacemakers. During the meeting children were asked to describe what “war” and “peace” meant to them. Here are some answers:
Children prepared beautiful messages to distant friends, and some made small paper gifts. Participants in the meeting decided to meet again in the project “Flight of Peace.”
Armenian cultural program: The next in a series of “Tree of Nations” meetings was held in the hall of the cultural center of the Ural Library on September 22 2012. This opportunity to get to know the cultures and national traditions of Armenia coincided with celebration of the UN International Day of Peace. The main topic of the meeting was peacemaking. The event opened with a presentation of Armenian literature, both classical and contemporary. Beautiful photos and national ornaments were on exhibit. Then the director of the project, Ambassador for Peace Ekaterina Shkel, shared about the UN International Day of Peace, its history, meaning, and traditions.
Representatives of the regional grassroots organization “Armenian community ‘Ani-Armenia’” presented a very interesting and informative report about traditions of the Armenians in the sphere of establishing peaceful relations with other nations and in their own nation. For such a small nation as Armenia, peace has always been highly treasured, because for many centuries the Armenian people suffered attacks and harassment from followers of other religions. Being a Christian state since 301 AD, Armenia was compelled to defend its faith from neighboring nations, initially pagan and later Muslim. In a desire to preserve their faith and traditions, Armenians developed special ways to resolve conflicts and establish peace; all this made a great impact upon their everyday life.
After this presentation, participants watched a short comedy film “Shelkovitsa” (Mulberry Tree) by the Armenian producer G. Melkonyan, which portrayed the cause of the conflict and the way to solve it on a grassroots level. It was quite clear that such situations could also rise up between two states which claim the same territory or resource. At the end of the meeting, guests wrote their wishes for humankind on the wings of paper doves that thereafter were released into the open sky by means of snow-white balloons.
For more reports about International Day of Peace 2012 programs click here.