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Day of Peace Observed in 5 Russian Cities

UPF-Russia organized a variety of events commemorating the International Day of Peace, September 21, in Moscow, Novosibirsk, Ryazan, Serov, and Volgograd.

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Moscow: Honoring UN Peacekeepers

The United Nations Information Center in Moscow held a program on September 23 commemorating the International Day of Peace. The event took place in a unique place. In the heart of Moscow at Poklonnaya Gora Park there is a Monument in Memory of UN Peacekeepers. The master of ceremonies of the program was Mr. Alexander Gorelik, director of the UN Information Center. A representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia addressed the participants about the role of the UN in preserving peace. Representing the NGO sector, Mr. Konstantin Krylov, Secretary General of UPF-Eurasia, described the peace projects of UPF and called on participants to join efforts in intercultural and interfaith dialogue during the International Decade of the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022). After a short concert, the main presenters laid floral wreaths at the monument.

Moscow: Conference on “Education for Peace”

UPF-Russia held a conference inspired by the UN International Day of Peace on September 19 in the Peace Embassy in Moscow. Focusing on this year’s theme - "Education for Peace" - about 50 Ambassadors for Peace and Young Ambassadors for Peace discussed their peacemaking activities.

The program began with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s International Day of Peace address, read by Alexandra Ovchinnikova, a representative of the UN Information Centre in Moscow.

Olga Vakulinskaya, president of the Women's Federation for World Peace, Eurasian region, spoke of a Bridge of Peace ceremony between women of Poland and Russia which remembered the Katyn tragedy of 1940. The Katyn mass execution of approximately 22,000 Polish nationals by the Soviet secret police has long been a painful issue in relations between the two nations. Through the Bridge of Peace ceremony, women of Russia and Poland could feel each other’s pain and find the strength to forgive. Although it will take time and diplomatic efforts to fully heal the wounds, the participants of the ceremony discovered that reconciliation can also take place on the individual level, and they decided to continue these programs.

Sergei Suprunyuk, president of the international association Super-Marathon, spoke about the Super-Marathon Moscow-Paris that was held in the summer of 2013. He emphasized the special mission of sports: creating a spirit of peace and resolving conflicts where politicians and diplomats are powerless.

The Universal Peace Federation traditionally starts counting down 100 days before the UN International Day of Peace, with its summer peacekeeping projects as a lead-in to this important date. Konstantin Krylov, secretary-general of the Universal Peace Federation, Eurasian region, reported about UPF programs. He emphasized that UPF is correlating its activities with the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures proclaimed by UNESCO.

The meeting ended with a gala event during which eight people joined the ranks of Ambassadors for Peace. They were congratulated by singer Aziza Ibragimova, a favorite on the Ukrainian version of the “X Factor” TV show.

Moscow: Youth Forum

Representatives of the leading Moscow universities, NGOs and government agencies attended a meeting held by the Eurasian Club of the Youth Ambassadors for Peace on September 19. The central theme was implementing social projects in the current financial climate. Among the projects discussed was the Intercultural Bridge between the nations of the European Union and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Another project of the Youth Ambassadors for Peace, the Mister and Miss University Pageant, is unique because the competitors are judged less on external beauty and more on character and lifestyle. The competition, usually held during the school year, is attended by Russian and foreign students of Moscow universities. In the framework of the contest, the participants carry out volunteer projects, participate in workshops and attend video presentations. The finale of the competition is a dramatized show in which the participants creatively share about themselves, their life goals, beliefs and dreams, demonstrate their talents, and tell about the projects completed during the contest.

Another project is the international volunteer program Goodness Without Borders. The Eurasian Club currently is stimulating Russian-Israeli cooperation in support of UPF’s Middle East Peace Initiative.

A favorite project of the Eurasian Club is the UN Model – a youth forum on implementing youth initiatives in the scientific area. The UN Model is active at Moscow State University, in the Russian cities of Kazan, Izhevsk, Perm, and Tyumen, as well as in Hong Kong. This initiative contributes to the creation of an information network between the UN Model projects.

The next meeting of the Eurasian Club will focus on “Eurasianism” as the symbolic dialogue between Europe and Asia in the context of social projects of non-profit organizations and the business sphere.

Moscow: Screening the Movie "The Interrupted Song"

As the last in a series of events marking the International Day of Peace, the Universal Peace Federation of Russia, together with the Young Ambassadors for Peace, held a special showing of the film drama “The Interrupted Song” in Moscow on September 29. Actors from the film attended the private screening, as did the film’s director and screenwriter, Ambassadors for Peace and other guests.

In addition to being entered in several international film festivals, “The Interrupted Song” has been broadcast on a Russian national TV channel and has enjoyed success in early screenings. The film examines an inter-ethnic conflict without choosing sides. The main characters show the tragic consequences of failing to see the human side of the other.

The film stimulated a lively discussion afterward, in which the attendees came to the conclusion that before we see others as representatives of a religion or nationality, we should see them as possessing the dignity of children of God, the same as ourselves.

The program concluded with a meal comprising the national dishes of different countries. This was the first such event initiated by UPF-Russia, but all the attendees agreed that such meetings should continue, so that art, and in particular film, can bring the culture of peace and understanding to all people.

Novosibirsk: A City-Wide Festival

A celebration of the International Day of Peace for the residents of the city was jointly organized by the Center for Healthy Recreation “Mirra” with support by the Novosibirsk Ministry of Culture, the regional public organization for assistance in the field of peacemaking, Universal Peace Federation and the international non-profit organization Peace One Day (based in London). Altogether, about 3,500 people participated in the celebration.

In his welcoming speech, the Secretary General of UPF-Siberia, Dmitry Oficerov, presented the coordinator of the event, Andrey Alexeev, a certificate of appointment as Ambassador for Peace. Addressing the gathering, Andrey Alexeev said: “The Day of Peace gives us all new opportunities to establish peace, live in peace, and live a healthy and happy life.”

To improve their health, the citizens were invited to join the Indian yoga master Swami Samarpananda in morning exercises. Also, participants had the opportunity to learn pottery making, practice sand painting, and prepare healthy meals. Children constructed cardboard eco-towns, played giant chess games, and stroked tame fox and fluffy rabbits from the Contact Zoo.

When the Bicycle Race for Peace started, still more citizens learned about the need to preserve and develop the culture of peace.

On the bank of the Ob-River enthusiasts planted a “Tree of Peace” and created a “Peace Arch.” The event was accompanied by music; people danced, sang songs, and rested on the eco-benches.

On the same day in the Library for Family Reading a conference on “Education for Peace” was attended by public figures, students, and veterans. Library staff prepared a bibliography on peace education. The conference opened with a Minute of Silence. Then the participants watched a video about the activities of Malala Yusupfszyay to protect the children’s right for to education. Currently about 57 million children have no opportunity to receive any education.

Dmitry Officerov presented a peacemaking concept of education in which moral education is given priority over the development of practical skills and professional competencies.

Kamdem Collins, a student from Cameroon, spoke about the role of Russia in supporting education of young people from Africa. He mentioned with delight that the genealogy of Pushkin has root in northern Cameroon.

Nadezhda Latrygina called for people to recognize the value of peace. By her calculations, confirmed by research results of the Australian Institute of World Economy, every young man who died a violent death could have earned more than 100 million rubles in income if he lived 60 years. And if the world in 2012 had become 25 percent more peaceful, the global economy would have been boosted by 9 trillion US dollars. Today, no consideration is given to human resources, although families spend a lot of money on education.

Margarita Vladovskaya said: “Peace will be attained when peace and tranquility reign in the minds of people.” She conducted a masterclass on preserving one’s peace of mind in stressful situations.

The closing ceremony of the First National Festival of Happy Families started after a tea break. The audience enjoyed the performance of the folk music group from the village Matveevka “Many Long Years.” Students of the Siberian Railroad Institute sang a song, and an honored poetess of Novosibirsk, Lyudmila Faibushevich recited her poetry about the Motherland, home, and family.

The Chairman of the Siberian Academy for National Culture, Rimma Zvereva, a sociologist and researcher of Siberian life, shared that the culture of peace is the permanent resident in Siberia.

Then the ceremony of handing letters of appreciation to the participants began. The Belokon family, comprised of 28 people of six nationalities including the families of four sisters with their children, was outstanding. The organizing committee of the Festival proclaimed the family of Angelica and Konstantin Belokon as best exemplifying the motto “Fatherland, Home, and Family” and proposed to nominate them for the all-Russia “Family of the Year” contest.

In conclusion, Young Ambassador for Peace Maria Lelekova gave a presention about her project for the Park of World Culture in Novosibirsk.

Participants decided to organize activities aimed at promoting international harmony and peacemaking and hope that next year more people will join celebrating the International Day of Peace.

Ryazan: Roundtable on “Education for Peace”

A roundtable related to the UN International Day of Peace theme of "Education for Peace" took place in the city of Ryazan on September 18, in the House of Public Organizations. Organized by the regional public organization Teachers for Spirituality and Morality together with the Universal Peace Federation, the event created a warm atmosphere of mutual understanding and cooperation.

The main report was presented by Ambassador for Peace Elena Ajiyeva, an associate professor of pedagogics and pedagogical technologies. First she covered the concept of “education and training” and the principles of the UN General Assembly’s 1978 Declaration on Peace Education for Peoples (Resolution 33/73) – which, unfortunately, are being violated everywhere. Then she suggested how to build a culture of peace at the state, pedagogical and personal levels.

Ambassador for Peace Valentina Katkova, an honored teacher of physics, spoke on “Moral Education as One of the Components of the Formation of a Citizen of the World.” Sharing her experience of working in a boarding school, she stated that modern parents neglect their children and try to shift their children’s upbringing to social institutions such as schools and universities. Even the best courses on spiritual and moral education cannot replace the love that children should receive in their family, she said.

After a lively discussion, the participants adopted a resolution that calls for peace education in the family, schools and mass media, as well as expanded International Peace Day activities.

Serov: Screening the Video: "Peace One Day"

In the fifth year that schoolchildren in the Russian town of Serov organized International Day of Peace events under the leadership of Ambassador for Peace Lyudmila Turanova and with the support of UPF- Russia, news of their activities became known in the United Kingdom. On September 10 representatives of the British non-governmental organization Peace One Day telephoned to propose cooperation with the Serov group in holding the 2013 Day of Peace events.

A 2004 documentary, also named “Peace One Day,” was scheduled for a screening in Serov. The British NGO also offered to hold a video conference with the Serov group in which about 40 Serov schoolchildren could present their impressions and questions about the film. As the video conference would be in English, this was an incentive for the schoolchildren to study up on English before the event. They especially wanted to chat with Jeremy Gilley, the film’s director.

On September 21, preparations started in the school foyer at 7:30 am. Each person who entered the school was greeted with the words “Hello, today is the Day of Peace! Make peace, forget all quarrels!” The “Peace One Day” film was shown during the breaks between lessons. All the primary school pupils were taught “Lessons of Peace.” Children made silhouettes of boys and girls with joined hands and formed a very long chain of 600 silhouettes in the hallway. Thus children were linking hands symbolically in the name of peace. The program was attended by 300 people.

Despite the rain, the celebration continued at 5 pm in the town square near the Church of the Transfiguration. A choir of more than 100 singers performed, accompanied by a “flash mob” of dancers. The model airplane club Kvant launched a working model of a bomber, which instead of bombs dropped a pennant of peace and “golden rain.” The activities were broadcast by the city television channel.

Visit the school site at to see an article (in Russian) and photos about the video conference and other Day of Peace events.

Volgograd: Play Football Make Peace Tournament

In the city of Volgograd, youth celebrated the UN International Day of Peace on the football (soccer) field. In the framework of Play Football Make Peace, a project initiated by the Universal Peace Federation, the third Peace Cup football tournament was organized by the Cosmos and Burevestnik youth centers in the city’s Krasnoarmeisky district.

The participants were Team 2018, the regional center in the sphere of youth policy, the UNESCO club Dignity of a Child (President I.S. Malovichko), the Museum of Peacemaking Activity (Director V.V. Gergel), and volunteers of the project Play Football for Peace (project leader Dmitry Samko).

The competition began with a reading of the mission statement of Play Football for Peace by kickboxing champion Isa Mimolatov: “to develop a culture of heart not only on the football field: to be able to accept and respect people of different cultures and traditions, to resolve conflicts through peaceful dialogues and reconciliation, to be able to forgive.”

Those words were confirmed on the football pitch, with some of the best players representing different nationalities: Famil Eyyubov (Burevestnik sports association), Shirkhan Gamzayev (Sports School No. 71), Artem Pletnikov (Cosmos sports club), Ilya Zuyevich and Dmitry Beloborodov (Fort sports club), Artemy Smolyakov and Yaroslav Sidlyak (13th Quarter sports club), Tolma Hakobyan and Yuri Meltsov (Quarter sports club).

Several local teams participated in the competition. The referees were led by the trainer of the Cosmos sports club, Lev Andreev. All eight teams participating in the Peace Cup championship received certificates with the symbols of the UN International Day of Peace.

The Peace Cup was won by the Fort sports club MU Forum, with the Quarter and 13th Quarter sports clubs taking second and third places, respectively.

See also reports from other nations of observances of the International Day of Peace 2013.

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