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UN Japanese Tea Ceremony

Peace, Harmony Felt at Grenada/Nigeria Tea Ceremony

New York, United States—Ambassadors to the United Nations from Grenada and Nigeria co-hosted a Japanese tea ceremony in cooperation with UPF International.

The “tea gathering for peace” was hosted by Grenadian Permanent Representative to the United Nations H.E. Mr. Denis G. Antoine and Nigerian Permanent Representative to the United Nations H.E. Mrs. U. Joy Ogwu. The event took place on December 2, 2015, on the 21st Floor of Nigeria House, the Consulate General of Nigeria.

The more than 20 participants included 12 ambassadors and three diplomats from member states of the UN, and also staff members from the UN agencies Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), as well as a permanent observer to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Mrs. Amy Yang Miyamoto, the emcee and organizer, introduced the two host ambassadors, who are also UPF Ambassadors for Peace. H.E. Mrs. Ogwu of Nigeria said she would like to share a sense of “peace and security” through this tea ceremony, which was occurring near the end of her two years on the Security Council. H.E. Mr. Antoine of Grenada testified about how he had become an Ambassador for Peace, and commented on the value of passing on traditions and their meaning to the younger generations.

After that, Mrs. Lynn Walsh, on behalf of Dr. Taj Hamad, the secretary general of the UPF Office of United Nations Relations, expressed appreciation for all the participants’ tireless dedication for the sake of the world, and invited everyone to enjoy a peaceful change of pace through the ceremony.

Mrs. Kyoko Sato gave a fascinating explanation of the meaning of the Way of Tea and gave instructions for the participants in the ceremony. There was a shared sense of nervousness, humor and warm camaraderie as each participant wondered if he or she would remember these exact instructions during their turn.  

Mrs. Fumie Watanabe, the tea master, was introduced. Mrs. Watanabe had decorated the venue beautifully with ikebana flower arrangements, colorful origami folded paper sculptures and items of Japanese art. With great precision and focus the tea master performed the ceremony, using specially chosen bowls to make tea individually for each participant.  

After tea, Mr. Andrew Miyamoto performed the song “Edelweiss” on the trumpet, which was appreciated by all the ambassadors. H.E. Mr. Antoine of Grenada was seen to be smiling throughout the ceremony. Even the Japanese representative who attended this event said, “It was wonderful.”

As H.E. Mrs. Ogwu concluded, “Every participant loved this ceremony. Through this tradition we experienced together a comforting sense of harmony and peace.”