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Day of Peace in Chennai, India

The Universal Peace Federation and Religious Youth Service, in association with the Federation of Gandhian Institutions, commemorated the International Day of Peace in Chennai, India on September 21, 2010. Interreligious prayers for world peace, nonviolence and ceasefire, and a candlelight vigil marked this occasion. More than 200 people from different organizations and institutions joined together for this occasion. Prayers were offered from Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and Sikhism for the cause of international peace.

This year’s observance focused on youth and development under the UN's slogan for the day, “Peace = Future.”

Honored guests included Ambassadors for Peace of UPF, Religious Youth Service alumni, and dignitaries from various walks of life. The chief state election commissioner Mr. Naresh Guptha IAS, Mr. P. Maruthi, Head of the Gandhian Integrated Forum, senior politician Mr. Kumari Ananthan, renowned Gandhian, Mr. Raghavalu, and many others from various organizations joined with us to make this a very memorable occasion.

Religious Youth Service and its partners focused on youth primarily because the world depends on our youth as the future leaders. Therefore, we are designing new concepts and strategies to involve them.

On this occasion, 200 candles were lit by the participants. The lighting of candles depicts our burning desire for a new world of peace. The whole hall was filled with emotion as all the candles were lit and a sincere call for peace was made. Everyone present felt the deep and urgent need for peace at this time.

A Peace Proclamation was read by Mr. Guptha, and all participants were invited to rededicate themselves to the task of promoting peace and peace initiatives. It was a proclamation for solidarity and human happiness: "Peace can come only when nations and societies are free and when human beings everywhere have freedom, security and opportunity. Peace and freedom therefore must be considered from social, political and economic aspects. We are urged to promote the human spirit as a spirit for peace which can develop in peaceful families, societies, nations and into a new world of peace.”

Many addressed the gathering and urged all to take up with renewed determination the mission to promote peace through dialogue, tolerance, forgiveness, reconciliation, and nonviolence. There was a call to respect and accept differences, and observe justice and equality, while always respecting rules. In addition, self-control, communication skills, team spirit, and personal integrity were identified as important ingredients for dialogue and peace. The remedy exists within every individual who is willing to train himself or herself to express peace in every walk of life, irrespective of caste, creed and religion.

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