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UN International Day of Peace 2009

Day of Peace in The Hague, Netherlands

The Hague, Netherlands - On September 21, UPF-Netherlands participated in a Suikerfeest, the Eid ul-Fitr celebrating the end of Ramadan, at the Hague University of Applied Sciences. The theme of the evening was "Make the best of yourself," and it was organized by the Mashriq [the word means "East" in Arabic] student organization.

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The evening was hosted by Ambassador for Peace Naeeda Aurangzeb, a television and radio journalist and producer. He illustrate the theme of the evening by recitations from the Qur’an.

Rita Salaris, UPF-Netherlands’ representative in The Hague, who had organized UPF's contribution with the Den Haag Mashriq chairman Umar Chaudry, supplied two short films, and a student read UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's International Day of Peace statement.

UPF-Netherlands Secretary General Wim Koetsier congratulated the Muslims on completing the Ramadan fast. “We might all want peace,” he added, “but the question is how to create it." He talked about creating unity between our heart and our ideals and our actions. He also talked about the need to strengthen families as a basis for peace and develop greater respect for the environment. While UN resolutions are desirable, peace involves individual investment.

Naeeda Aurangzeb coordinated a light-hearted general cultural knowledge quiz, which was followed by a comedy skit by journalism student Farbod and soulful songs in Arabic, Dutch, and English by Kathi Otmani. Faisal Mirza, founder and national chairman of Mashriq, which is established in The Hague, Rotterdam, and Amsterdam, spoke about the organization and its activities over the past six years. "We want to always stand for peace,” he said. “Our color is red, the color of love." He introduced new board members.

The program ended in typical Dutch manner with lavish presentations of floral bouquets, followed by a major element of the post-Ramadan festival of Eid, food and fellowship.

Most of the 120 participants were Muslim students, some from the Middle East and some second-generation Dutch citizens. Noticeable behind one of the serving tables was a Chinese girl in Cantonese dress, since Mashriq [East] aims to be fully inclusive.

In addition to organizing a seminar on the International Day of Peace during the previous weekend’s European Leadership Conference, UPF-Netherlands arranged this joint celebration as a way to promote the International Day of Peace to a new and appreciative audience.

To read UPF's Declaration on the International Day of Peace 2009, click here.