Day of Peace in Tbilisi
Written by Vitaly Maksimov, UPF - Georgia
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Tbilisi, Georgia - On September 21, 2008 the Universal Peace Federation, in collaboration with City Hall, the park administration, and Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Abkhazia, Ministry of Culture of Abkhazia, volunteers from the public movement “Multinational Georgia” and the humanitarian center “Abkhazety” organized a holiday for youth to educate them in the spirit of peace and true love. One hundred and forty children (local orphans and internally displaced persons from Abkhazia and Ossetia) joined the International Day of Peace celebration in Vake Park’s summer theater.
At noon, the program began with a silent meditation for ceasefire and world peace. Afterwards, participants exchanged hugs with the people around them. The Minister of Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Abkhazia and Ambassador for Peace Mrs. Dalila Khorava delivered the International Day of Peace message, calling for reconciliation and forgiveness. The children then listened to stories about famous peacemakers: Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King, Jr. With great enthusiasm, they answered peace-quiz questions; correct answers were awarded with prizes. The MCs were soon bombarded by the children. No one wanted to be merely an observer; everyone was extremely excited to participate in more games and contests.
Together with adult volunteers, children made “Pinwheels for Peace” and numerous origami doves and cranes, drew peace posters, and painted banners with peace slogans and wishes. Many worked together to create a giant Peace Dove ready to “take off” to the sky.
Next, participants enjoyed a wonderful concert. Young singers performed in four languages, sometimes melting hearts with gentle songs about Abkhazia and mother’s love, sometimes filling the air with high energy and power.
After the concert, the children received presents from the organizers. Then together, they went on a peace walk through the park, holding banners, proclaiming peace slogans and our longing to live in friendship. Children shared handmade articles with people in the park, wishing them peace and happiness.
To conclude the day, participants attended an exciting children’s football competition. As a truly hopeful symbol during the day’s events, several white doves were making circles around us, a promising sign of blessing and peaceful life to everyone.
Our event was shown twice on the main national TV channel Rustavi 2 and will be published in several newspapers.
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Novazzano, Switzerland—A children’s soccer tournament that rewards friendly and sportsmanlike behavior was held in the Italian-speaking Swiss canton of Ticino.
Monza, Italy—Peacebuilding through sport was discussed in a conference and demonstrated in a football tournament.