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Day of Peace Observed in Kabul

Kabul, Afghanistan - Four days after six Italian soldiers and more than ten Afghan civilians were killed in a suicide bombing in another part of Kabul, over 70 Afghan Youth Ambassadors for Peace gathered together to make a statement. “We can make a change” was their message on September 21, the day designated as the United Nations International Day of Peace.

UPF celebrated on the assigned day, although it fell on the second day of Eid, one of the most important days of the Muslim calendar, after the holy month of fasting. The Ambassadors for Peace felt it was important to sacrifice time with their families in order to make this statement and demonstrate a life of living for the sake of others.

The event was held at the Pishgaman High School, a new private school — one of many now sprouting up around Kabul. The Director, Nabi Khalili, welcomed the crowd and explained the meaning of the day. Umberto Angelucci, Director of UPF-Afghanistan, read UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message of peace as well as a message of peace from President Hamid Karzai, which was extremely appropriate for the event. We also read the four points of the UPF Peace Declaration.

Master Bernard Villegante, director of UPF’s newly established chapter of Tong Il Moo Do martial arts in Afghanistan, presented his women students, who did a demonstration for the crowd. The young Tong Il Moo Do students also performed, and the kindergarten students of Pishgaman presented a song of peace.

Because of the Sports for Peace work, the program was attended by some renowned local martial artists: Master Wahid Joya, Founder and Director of Ashihara Karate in Afghanistan; Ghulam Jamali Ghoub, President of the National Karate Federation; and Amir Hussain Haidari, Director of Afghanistan New Full Contact (Shin Gi Tai).

The occasion was intended to be more than a day of talk. The Young Ambassadors for Peace were inspired to show their determination to take responsibility and make a difference, so they contacted the local religious leader, Mullah Rahim, and arranged to do a clean-up campaign at his mosque. The work expanded, and by the time the cleaners were finished they had cleaned not only the mosque and school yard but also the surrounding neighborhood. The local people were amazed to see the crowd working together — youths from different tribes harmoniously united to make a change. Armed with gloves and plastic bags, they attacked the garbage and junk and transformed the environment with a heart of service which is the root of peace.

To read UPF's Declaration on the International Day of Peace 2009, click here.

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