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International Day of Peace Celebrated in Australia

An Interfaith Walk and Prayer for Peace commemorated the International Day of Peace 2014 in Brisbane, Queensland, Sept. 21, and a Bridge of Peace ceremony brought together representatives of different nationalities in Victoria on Sept. 20.


An Interfaith Walk and Prayer for Peace commemorated the International Day of Peace in Brisbane, Queensland, Sept. 21, 2014. The walk began at Queens Park and ended at the Speakers Corner in front of the Parliament House. Kim Raymond, emcee, explained the program, and an aboriginal elder, Aunty Kerry Charlton, offered a blessing for the event, and Freya Ostapovitch MP, member for Stretton, welcomed the participants.

After a peace song by Demont Dorgan, faith leaders offered prayers for peace: Ven. Hui Jin, Buddhist; Pandit Dr. Gurudeo, Hindu; Ms. Margaret Neylon, Christian; Imam Mohammed Raza, Muslim; Rev. Mariva Barry, Spiritualist; Rabbi Ariel Heber, Jewish; and Ms. Batoul Aghdasi-Yeogneh, Baha'i. Then everyone joined in a common prayer for peace.

Prayers for peace were attached to a Prayer Tree, and peace statements were read.

UPF-Australia partnered with Believing Women for a Culture of Peace and the Women's Federation for World Peace in organizing the program.


A beautiful Bridge of Peace event was held to commemorate the International Day of Peace on Sept. 20, 2014 in Victoria at the Aboriginal Burrinja Cultural Centre in Upwey with over 70 people in attendance. It was an honor to have as our women leaders for the event Aunty Janet Turpie-Johnstone, a Mullum Mullum Aboriginal Elder in the Yarra Ranges district, and Yue Ying Wang from the Australian Chinese Women’s Association. After Aunty Janet graciously opened the event by welcoming everyone ‘to country,’ Jason Wood, federal MP for La Trobe and Cr. Samantha Dunn from the Lyster Ward of Yarra Ranges also welcomed everyone to the Burrinja Centre and their electorate.

Anne Bellavance (national president of the Women’s Federation for World Peace-Australia), MC for the event, introduced the theme for this year’s International Day of Peace, ‘The Rights of People to Peace’ and presented UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message of “Let us all reflect on peace and what it means for our human family. Let us hold it in our hearts and minds and tenderly nurture it so it may grow and blossom." Anne commented that this is what the Bridge of Peace is about: it focuses on the strength of people’s hearts and offers grassroots healing and reconciliation. Anne then gave a short presentation on the history of the Women’s Federation activities and the Bridge of Peace internationally, within Australia and within the Oceania region.

There were many highlights of the event; John Hurley and his grand-daughter Jasmine brought along 11 white homing pigeons from ‘Doves for Peace,’ which were symbolically released by 11 lucky volunteers. A very special orchestral performance by teachers and students of the New Eastern Arts School played traditional Chinese classical music wearing traditional costumes, with Mrs. Qian Qian Wang as the principal and founder of the orchestral ensemble leading. Participants met their sister or brother at the lunch tables and had the opportunity to get to know each other’s story during the buffet lunch period. Kellie Grattidge and Matthew Fagan brought the afternoon to a conclusion with a collection of ancient Celtic music and songs, having participants singing along and being mesmerised by Matthew’s guitar work.

The most important section to the Bridge of Peace is connecting with a new sister or brother and pledging to join in friendship to build a bridge of peace and reconciliation between the two nations each represents and strive to be a harmonizer and peacemaker in all levels of society. Comments from participants who filled out the evaluation form after the event were: “wonderful people, exciting and unforgettable, great event, truly moving.” Many participants expressed that they felt the spirit of God and were visibly moved and joyful.

Partners for the event were Yarra Ranges Council, Universal Peace Federation, Africa Day Australia, Knox Interfaith Network, Zimbabwe Community in Australia, Nigerian Community, Doves for Peace and Paradigm Images. Sincere appreciation to the Victoria Committee Members and volunteers of the Women’s Federation, whose team work made this year’s Bridge of Peace a deep and moving experience.

International Day of Peace 2014 from Universal Peace Federation International

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