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Day of Peace in Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh, Cambodia - On September 21 about a hundred university students celebrated the International Day of Peace 2008. The program started at 9:00 am with greetings by H.E. Sok Seng Yan, Master of Ceremonies. Mrs. Masumi F. Schmittat, Secretary General of UPF-Cambodia, explained the goal of supporting the United Nations and its efforts to promote world peace.

The guest speaker, H.E. Nhek Buntha, is a spiritual adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen and President of the Buddhist Association of Cambodia. She spoke about the importance of having a mindset of compassion, forgiveness, and unity. Dr. Akio Nishimura, former Rector of Nagoya Gakuin University, encouraged students to have a big vision as they work for the future of their country.

After a tea break, Mr. Yoshiharu Sakai, Chairman of Life Forum Japan, described his activities on behalf of Cambodia since 2002 in Kompong Speu province. He is a good example of living for the sake of others beyond nationality, religion, and language. He has worked to build bonds of heart between the Japanese and Cambodian people through service activities such as collecting donations, planting trees, and cultural exchanges.

Sixteen Collegiate Ambassador for Peace and four Young Ambassador for Peace certificates were awarded to people who completed a five-day seminar in Kompong Speu and Angkor Wat.

Four black-belt masters of Tongil Moo Do Federation-Cambodia demonstrated another way to promote peace and harmony by doing breathing exercises and movements with music.

Then everybody joined singing the theme song of the Global Peace Festival, “Where Peace Begins.” Everyone, both young and old, enjoyed singing together with enthusiasm. This song raised people’s spirits and inspired a sense of unity.

Mr. Sakai, who was moved by the song, returned to the stage and demonstrated a Japanese tea ceremony. This helped create a peaceful atmosphere and showed a good example of serving people.

The master of ceremonies read the message of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and challenged the audience to work to fulfill the dream of humankind of living in a world of peace.

When the gong sounded at 12:00 noon, everybody closed their eyes and prayed in silence. It was a time to unite with all people of goodwill who participated in the International Day of Peace events in more than 190 nations.

H.E. Nhek Buntha was so inspired that she returned to the podium and expressed her gratitude toward the Universal Peace Federation for holding such a peaceful and joyful gathering. She lamented that Cambodian people these days are often motivated by greed and self-centeredness as they pursue economic growth. As a spiritual leader, she reminded everyone again that Cambodia already has great teacher, Buddha, and Cambodians should practice his teachings to promote peace.

At the end many students and Ambassadors for Peace assembled for a joyful group photo.

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

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