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Peace Education

Pakistani Artist Gives Talk at UPF-Canada Meeting

Canada-2018-09-22-Pakistani Artist Gives Talk at UPF-Canada Meeting

Toronto, Canada—World renowned Pakistani artist and philanthropist Jimmy Engineer gave a talk at the September Educating for Peace meeting, co-organized by the Canada chapters of UPF and the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP), an affiliated organization. The event, whose theme was “Artists and World Peace,” was held on September 22, 2018 at the Canadiana restaurant in Etobicoke, an administrative district west of Toronto, Ontario, with 43 guests.

The program began with an invocation by Islamic author Mr. Qamrul Khanson, which was followed by an overview of the work of UPF and WFWP—which was presented by Mr. Mitch Dixon, co-chair of UPF-Canada’s Central District, and Mrs. Lilly Tadin, president of WFWP-Canada—and a video about WFWP.

Mr. Engineer’s visit was facilitated by WFWP’s good friend and well-known local radio host, Ms. Arooj Aarooj, who introduced him. Mr. Engineer was born on August 13, 1954 in Balochistan, Pakistan in a Parsi family and raised a Zoroastrian. In his adult life he was guided and influenced by a Sufi master who called him to be “the servant of Paksistan,” to eschew all material possessions, and to “give without thinking.”  His biography is “In Search of My Master,” and his personal motto is “Always remain a student.”  His website is www.jimmyengineer.com.

Mr. Engineer has created in excess of 2,000 original artworks and nearly 1,000 calligraphies. Over 200,000 prints of his exquisite work are in private collections in more than 50 countries. He has held over 60 art exhibitions around the world. He also has led more than 50 walks for noble causes. For 15 years he raised awareness of the needs of handicapped, blind and orphan children, before turning his attention to young prisoners and then widows. Although he is now hard of hearing, Mr. Engineer graciously answered many questions after giving his deeply inspiring testimony.

A keynote address followed, given by Senator Salma Ataullahjan, who will accompany Mr. Engineer to Canada’s Parliament, where he will speak in the coming week.

Senator Ataullahjan, who was also born in Pakistan and is also an artist, began by expressing how she was humbled to speak after Mr. Engineer. She quickly captivated the audience with her description of her work as a senator, working on issues surrounding newborns, the Middle East and the Rohingya crisis, and later spoke about the role of art in helping Syrian refugee children resettled in Canada recover from the trauma of their wartime experiences. Senator Ataullahjan, who heads the Canadian Senate’s committee on the Middle East, also talked about the difficulty of finding a topic that can be discussed. When the committee was reviewing the “role of water” they had to define between “new” and “old” water; art, however, needs no translation.

The meeting closed with a panel discussion on the theme: “What Lessons Can be Learned Through Centuries-old, Enduring Art that Could Add Value to Human Life Now and in the Future?” The panelists were Hon. Sheref Sabawy, a member of provincial parliament representing Mississauga—Erin Mills; Mrs. Eveline Stewart, representing WFWP-Canada; and Rev. Stoyan Tadin, representing UPF.

Hon. Shabawy, an Egyptian-born Coptic Christian, spoke of his philosophy of “the community working with community to serve the community,” and the importance of NGOs to help preserve and protect what Canada has. Mrs. Stewart began by reading a quote from Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the co-founder of UPF and WFWP with his wife, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon: “People often think that politics moves the world, but that is not the case. It is culture and art that move the world. It is emotion, not reason that strikes people in the innermost part of their hearts.” But she warned that even in art we must, as St. Augustine said, “love the right things” and that “people fail because they love the wrong things. A nation defines itself by what it loves, and the wrong kind of love condemns it to eventual ruin.” Mrs. Stewart concluded her remarks by explaining the five principles of the new cultural initiative inspired by Mrs. Moon, the Hyo Jeong Cheon Won (Garden of Filial Love).[1]

Rev. Tadin spoke that “truth is true,” “a smile is a smile,”   “a cough is a cough,” and that yes, “art needs no translation.” He emphasized that each one of us has so much to give, to add to our rich inheritance; however, we must be careful as there are two internally contradictory art forms: the love of life and the love of death. The latter is so often on display in the products of Hollywood. Even faith communities can fail us by being exclusive instead of inclusive. Thus, each of us must be “the greatest” and an “artist for world peace.”

Afterwards, everyone enjoyed lunch together.

 

[1] For a full explanation of the initiative, please read the article, “Towards a Hyo Jeong Philosophy of Art”:  https://journals.uts.edu/volume-xviii-2017/291-towards-a-hyo-jeong-philosophy-of-art.

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