Day of Peace Observed in Sydney, Victoria, and Brisbane

Events commemorating the UN International Day of Peace 2012 took place in Sydney, Victoria, and Brisbane, Australia.

Sydney
A free ‘Peace and Harmony Concert’ was held in Sydney at the Oceania Peace Embassy on September 20 in recognition of the UN International Day of Peace.

The event was co-sponsored by UPF-Australia, the South Sydney Community Aid Multicultural Neighbourhood Centre, and Eastern Sydney Multicultural Access Project.

Some 100 guests enjoyed a diverse program of entertainment (singing, dancing, and music) and a sumptuous lunch. Performers came from around the world including China, Indonesia, Italy, Russia, Samoa, and the Solomon Islands. The audience was even more diverse

Victoria

UPF-Victoria celebrated the UN International Day of Peace with a study of the Principles of Peacebuilding on September 22. The event was held in the Law Building of Monash University. New and long-time Ambassadors for Peace discussed the lecture contents and how these principles can be realistically implemented in our society.

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Discussion touched on the dilemma new Australian families face with their youth regarding traditions that were torn apart during refugee times and now coping with the more wealthy Australian culture; additional areas of interest were the values taught during the school years and ways to promote greater interfaith cooperation.

The study focus was on the following topics: Vision for Peace – One Family under God, presented by Rick McInerheney; Understanding the Cause of Conflict, presented by John Bellavance; and the Principles of Restoration and Peace Building, presented by Anne Bellavance.

A highlight of the day was the discussion about a proposed interreligious peace council, brought forward by John Bellavance. The proposal for a national council to begin was timely, based on the recent religious conflict around the world and within Australia. The proposal is as follows:

The recent violent events in Australia and around the world regarding the reaction to the American anti-Islam film demonstrates a need for interfaith dialogue and cooperation. In addition, as a multicultural and multi-faith society, Australia needs a national interfaith council that will stand for the values that underpin peace. Such a council can bring the moral and spiritual insight of the world’s great religions to address conflict and promote respect and peace.

The Council will seek solutions to global problems, such as war, conflict, poverty, hunger, and disease, offering assessments and recommendations for addressing them based on the knowledge, expertise, wisdom, and vision of spiritual leaders, which will supplement the political insight, experience, and skill of the political leaders.

In addition, the Council will address situations of religious and ethnic conflict and make recommendations thereon. It will promote interreligious dialogue, understanding, and cooperation for peace. Moreover, the Council can urge active engagement on the part of believers and faith-based organizations.

As a step in this direction, UPF-Australia encourages people of various faiths to come together in a spirit of cooperation to establish an interfaith council. UPF looks forward to input and advice from representatives of all faiths and all social sectors.

Brisbane

The Queensland branches of UPF and Women's Federation for World Peace observed the UN International day of Peace on September 22 at the Logan Entertainment Centre in Brisbane. The city of Logan was chosen for this event because it is named after Captain Patrick Logan, a pioneer of Queensland who laid a solid foundation for the development of the state and also because Logan has such diverse ethnic communities.

The afternoon program began by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land and was followed by a minute of silence for peace in the world. Three congratulatory addresses were delivered by distinguished guests: Councillor Russell Luttn, the Deputy Mayor of Logan representing the Mayor; Agnes Whiten OAM, the Chairperson of the Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland; and Lady Carla Davis, the widow of former Prime Minister Sir Thomas Davis of the Cook Islands and a proud Ambassador for Peace.

A DVD introducing UPF was followed by welcoming remarks and talks by sponsor representatives John Adamedes (Queensland Chair of UPF) and Mamiko Rattley (Queensland Chair of the Women's Federation for World Peace). Believing that peace and harmony cannot develop without coming to know and understand the ethnic communities that are increasingly part of the Australian fabric, prominent leaders of some major ethnic communities in Queensland were invited to address the gathering. Four speakers representing the African, Indian, and Pacific Island communities gave talks on challenges and trials they face in Australia and how they try to promote peace in their communities and encourage their community members to harmonize with rest of Australia:

  • Mr. John Okello, President of the African Seniors Club of Australia, who was recently appointed as one of 14 inaugural members of the African Ministerial Consultative Committee to the Australian Federal Government
  • Dr. Gurudeo Anand Tularam, a Senior Lecturer in Mathematics at Griffith University as well as priest of an organization called Vedic Philosophy and Religion of India
  • Mrs. Wanita Limpus, Secretary of the Kiribati Australia Association and recipient of Distinguished Service Award from Kiribati Government in 2009
  • Ms. Kalisi Bese, a Project Officer with the Diversity and Social Cohesion Project at Multilink Inc and an Ambassador for Peace

The whole program was interspersed with musical performances: beautiful songs from the “Ladies Quartet” led by Alexa Blonner; the Afrodisa Band, which provided energetic traditional African music; and an entrancing traditional Kiribati dance performance.

Closing remarks were offered by John Adamedes, who was inspired by the diversity of people who filled the room and praised everyone’s unique contribution to the day’s event. The program closed with everyone singing "Let There Be Peace on Earth”.

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

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