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Poetry Awards Presented on Day of Peace in Buenos Aires


Buenos Aires, Argentina - “Es tiempo ya…” and “Para la paz es esta poesía,” by Irma Droz (Santa María de Punilla - Córdoba province) and Raúl Oscar Ifrán (Punta Alta – Buenos Aires province), respectively, shared the first prize in UPF-Argentina's fourth annual International Poetry Contest on the theme "Words of encounter and universal awareness," at the celebration of the International Day of Peace on September 21.

he UPF Argentina celebrated the International Day of Peace, as we celebrate every September 21st, this year under the motto “An everlasting peace for a sustainable future,” with a cultural-religious-artistic meeting performed in the Auditorium of the Champagnat School, in the City of Buenos Aires.

Peace in our minds

At first, some of the many messages received for the occasion from government agencies and NGOs were read. A video of the message of UN General-Secretary Ban Ki-moon was shown, followed by one minute of silence "in honor of the victims, both of those who have been killed in the conflicts and those who have survived and now they have to deal with trauma and suffering."

As is customary in UPF-Argentina's celebrations, there were invocations by religious leaders at the beginning of the event, since peace is unthinkable without a sincere dialogue and cooperation between the different traditions inspired by God in different cultures, so that people can reconnect with their true essence. Faiza Yahia, from the Mosque El Ahmad (Islam); Pastor Darío Martínez, from the Evangelical Church El Camino and vice-president of the Argentine Parliament of Religions (evangelical Christianity); Pastor Eduardo Corales, from the American Clergy Leadership Conference (Unificationism); and Brother Ángel Duples, Coordinator of Pastoral Care at the Champagnat School (Catholic Christianity) offered prayers. We also honored the other spiritual traditions that could not be present, particularly the Jewish community, which was in a period of reflection after the celebration of Rosh Hashanah (New Year) and leading up to the celebration of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).

After the prayers, the awards were presented in the fourth annual International Poetry Contest of UPF-Argentina, which this year had the motto "Words of meeting and universal consciousness," in honor of the International Day of Peace. "Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed" (UNESCO Constitution Preamble) was once more the main point of the meeting, being aware that art can make an important contribution in building a culture of peace. This year, the participation exceeded all the expectations of the organizers, with the reception of more than 450 poems from different countries of America, Europe, and Asia.

A generous soul

Previously, Prof. Bertha Bilbao Richter, a literary critic, gave the rationale behind the jury's choice of poems, noting that there were submissions from people in City of Buenos Aires and 15 other provinces: Buenos Aires, Corrientes, Río Negro, Mendoza, Córdoba, Santa Fe, Tucumán, Entre Ríos, Jujuy, San Juan, Neuquén, Catamarca, Chaco, and Chubut. Poems were also received from Mexico, Uruguay, Cuba, the United States, Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Venezuela, El Salvador, Bolivia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Spain, Italy, Sweden, France, Portugal, England, India, and Japan; hence the merit of those who were awarded.

The winners received diploma and books donated by the Ministry of Culture of the City of Buenos Aires, which sent a letter of congratulation for the initiative. Distinctions were handed by the contest judges: Prof. Bilbao Bertha Richter, professor at ISER, member of the Hispanic Literary and Cultural Institute (ILCH) and the Argentinean Society of Writers (SADE); Lic. Liria Guedes, writer and Girdle of Honor of the SADE, member of the American Association of Poetry and the ILCH; the writer Mabel Fontau, Girdle of Honor of the SADE, member of the ILCH and People of Letters; and the poet Donato Perrone, from the Argentine Poetic Cultural Center, Coordinator of the Lyric Corner of Café Tortoni, and representative of Group of Poets Livres of Santa Catarina (Brazil). In addition, Carlos Varga, Director of the Unification Movement in Argentina, and collaborator with UPF, gave each winner a copy of the autobiography of Dr. Moon, A Peace-Loving Global Citizen.

Members of the jury also received a diploma as well as the Brazilian poet Marina Fagundes Coello, a bilingual writer who is a member of various literary circles of the region, has been distinguished as an Ambassador for Peace. The award was presented "for her lifetime achievement in the arts, for the creation of fraternal ties between Argentina and Brazil, for being a kind and warm person, and for all her contributions to culture, which is another way of promoting peace." She was described as a "generous soul," by an official of the Argentine consulate in Brazil. Marina has been a poetry contest sponsor since 2011, and this year joined Dr. Juana Alcira Arancibia, poet and writer, founder and president of the Hispanic Literary and Cultural Institute (ILCH) and chief editor of the prestigious International literary magazine Alba de America.

Sustainable future

In tribute to all the participants of the Poetry Contest, Carlos Flores, leader of Los Laikas, a musical group formed in 1972 of Latin American artistic ambassadors who published 26 albums (four in Japan, one in Bolivia, and 21 in Argentina), sang to all the guests and peace builders. Flores played songs of "Canto a la poesía," his latest creation of music based on poems by renowned poets from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Chile, Peru, and Cuba: "Más allá" (by Marina Fagundes Coello), "Mensajes" (Juana Alcira Arancibia), and "Quiere a tus sueños" (Alejandro Guillermo Roemmers).

At the end, the two poems that won the first prize were recited. The shared prize was another evidence of peace that is built by sharing, rather than competing against the other. First, Mabel Fontan read the poem "For peace is this poetry," by Raul Oscar Ifrán (Punta Alta - Province of Buenos Aires), who could not be present on the occasion. Then Irma Droz (Santa Maria de Punilla - Province of Córdoba) recited with strength and conviction at the center of the stage her poem, "It is time now..." which invites people to "reach out to our friend, to be able to look at ourselves in the eyes and offer our arms outstretched. It is time to lift our foreheads and see that dawn has finally arrived!"

At the end of the meeting, the choir of the Family Federation sang, directed by Carlos Varga. He dedicated the songs of his authorship, "Heaven" and "World of Peace," to Sun Myung Moon, founder of the UPF, who died on September 3 at the age of 92, in recognition of his legacy and commitment to peace. There was a surprise at the end, the song "Peace," beautifully performed by Claudia Palazzi, a member of the Argentina to the Nations Path to the Truth Foundation. The convergence of emotions was summarized in a comprehensive way by Marina Fagundes Coello in her heartfelt message of gratitude: "Learn to learn, learn to understand, and understand to love; because love is the beginning, the middle and the end; and because there is no other path to reach peace." It is a phrase that sounds like an imperative for the "cause of peace," personal and universal, a right way for a “sustainable future."

Translation: Ricardo Gómez

For more reports about International Day of Peace 2012 programs click here.

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