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Day of Peace in Oslo

Oslo, Norway - The Universal Peace Federation–Norway, organized an evening program with speeches and cultural performances to celebrate the UN International Day of Peace at the Amati Conference Center in downtown Oslo on September 21, 2008.

After one minute of silence, as is customary on this day, an explanation of the meaning of the day was given by the MC, Mr. Steinar Murud, secretary general of the Universal Peace Federation–Norway. A declaration of peace from UPF, emphasizing the importance of the contribution of the world’s religions, the family’s role as a school of ethics, peace education, universal solidarity, and a culture of service, was read by Mrs. Jane Toresen, board member of UPF.

This was followed by several appeals for the day:

  • Major Nils Steen Egelien, who served for many years in the UN forces and is now a leader of the veterans of the Korea conflict, spoke with passion from his personal experiences in UN service.
  • Mr. Paal Arne Davidsen, a political adviser on foreign affairs at the Norwegian Parliament, talked about freedom, economic development, and democracy as necessary elements for peace.
  • The founder of the Buddhadhamma Association, Mrs. Shantana Berg, presented the Buddhist approach to peace.
  • Mr. Hatef Mokhtar, chairman of the NGO Global Peace, emphasized respect for all religious beliefs as central for global peace.
  • Mr. Anwar Chaudhary, leader of Asra Norway, reminded us about the importance of human rights in promoting a peaceful world.

All the appeals touched on important aspects of peace, and the appeals also reminded us of basic values.

The MC gave a presentation about a significant peace project in 2008: the Global Peace Festival. The festival, including its service projects, has so far this year brought together thousands of people in various nations for the sake of peace. Often, the timing was perfect, as in Kenya, where Prime Minister Raila Odinga thanked the Global Peace Festival for mobilizing so many Kenyans for a peaceful purpose in a time of national crisis. Or, in Mongolia, where the festival gathered a multitude of people for peace after the recent post-election violent confrontations there. In Washington DC, the Washington Post described the festival as the largest interfaith event in US history. Throughout 2008, 16 festivals will be organized.

Cultural performances, ranging from contemporary sounds to more traditional classical music, featuring artists from both the East and the West, enhanced the meaning of the day.

Presentations of Ambassador for Peace certificates and social fellowship closed the evening.

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

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