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Day of Peace in Antwerp

Antwerp, Belgium  - The United Nations International Day of Peace was celebrated in Antwerp, Belgium on September 21, 2008. The event was sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation, the Dhammakaya International Meditation Centre, and the Institute of Peace and Development.

To mark the day, initiated by the United Nations in 1981, the above-mentioned sponsors organized a major event in which approximately 130 people took part.


The participants, from Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Thailand, India, Pakistan and other countries, represented various cultures and religions. They first listened to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's message, which was read by Mrs. C. Cunningham, president of the Women’s Federation for World Peace-Belgium. After this, one minute of silence was observed by the entire audience.

Subsequently, there was time for representatives of the various religions to express their views on how to develop peace in this world.

To read UPF's Peace Declaration and reports of observances in other nations, click here.

Letter from the UN Information Office:

Dear friends,

Due to other events today, I will not be able to be with you. But I would like to congratulate the organizers for their initiative.

As such, your gathering is part of a world chain that underlines that, as conflicts begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.

At the beginning of his message, the UN Secretary-General is calling on world leaders and peoples around the world to join forces against conflict, poverty and hunger and for all human rights for all.

Indeed, peace is not only the absence of war.

Poverty in the South, but also in our countries; non respect of the other and of diversity; individualism and intolerance are at the core of non-peace situations.

Let's think together on what we could or should do to improve the conditions for peace...  And let's begin with direct and concrete actions with all our brothers and sisters whether they live next door or across the world.

This year, the EU-Benelux desk of the UN Regional Information Centre wrote a letter to the religious communities in the Benelux countries and also to associations of non believers to remind them the importance of this day.

All of them answered positively to this initiative.

Let's continue this action in support of UN efforts for a better world, keeping in mind that the UN is YOURS.

Do re-invest in the UN and be part of the slogan: We the people!

Jean-Luc Onckelinx

Desk Officer for EU and Benelux
United Nations Regional Information Centre, Brussels

Watch videos of the event:

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