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Day of Peace in Sydney

Sydney, Australia - For the last few years, UPF-Australia has collaborated with the Ministry of Peace, which has been organizing the International Day of Peace celebrations in Sydney. This year the celebration took place from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm on September 21 at Martin Place in the heart of downtown Sydney, not far from the New South Wales Parliament.

UPF and the Women’s Federation for World Peace combined forces along with young volunteers to help set up the chairs for the crowds who would be coming. The weather was picture perfect, although the morning air was a bit chilly.


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The Peace Vigil “is the only day on the calendar year that unifies the city’s disparate voices and different cultures into one voice for peace,” said Ms. Biannca Pace, Chair of the Ministry for Peace.

An aboriginal welcome and purification ceremony followed the words of welcome by Biannca Pace. UPF was asked to kick off the Sydney Peace Festival. Rev. Enrique Ledesma, Director of UPF-New South Wales and master of ceremonies, read from the words of great peace leaders about the essence of peace. Mrs. Tracy DeGeer and Jynene Helland from the Women’s Federation for World Peace read moving poems about the quest for peace, and Mr Daniel Treacy shared a youth perspective on world peace.

UPF had a large “peace choir" comprised of Australians as well as people from Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Japan. Mr. Chihiro Midorikawa, director of UPF-Tonga, was visiting, and with his beautiful guitar accompaniment led the crowd in singing “Heal the World,” “We Are the World,” and “Let There Be Peace on Earth” between the various presentations.

Flags from 194 nations graced the plaza, and people on their way to work stopped by to join in the singing as the festival got underway.

Throughout the day, many colorful groups from various cultures, religions, and ethnic groups danced and sang as hundreds of people took time out from their busy schedules to breathe in the atmosphere of peace and tranquillity. Interest was expressed in UPF, being the most diverse group on the program.

The event was televised on Channel 7.

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

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