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CALENDAR OF EVENTS

December 2019
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International Day of Peace Celebrated in Trinidad & Tobago

Diego Martin, Trinidad & Tobago – The International Day of Peace 2014 commemorations included a service project on Sept. 21 and a program on Sept. 22.

The service project took place at the Diego Martin Girls Roman Catholic School, a public school for girls between the ages of 5 and 11. It is a school of brilliant, talented pupils and a dedicated staff, but the school compound needed some life to reflect the beauty and hope that UPF organizers saw in these children. In the quest for peace, the soil was prepared and a peace garden created in front of the school and filled with a variety of flowers of different colors and sizes, so when the students enter the school yard each day, they can be warmly greeted with a smile. The students were so happy, not to mention excited, to get their hands dirty planting their flowers in their own garden.

UPF leaders taught them how to plant the flowers and explained that this is their special place of peace, a sacred place where they can resolve their differences; it is their own garden of peace and they should take ownership and responsibility to take good care of it.

They had fun, and they also bonded with each other as they worked arduously creating their garden. They promised that they would take good care of it.

In the school compound there are some large trees that are very dear to the children – one in particular they named Anna – so the UPF organizers painted the bark of the trees and the blocks around the trees with bright colors and also filled them with flowering plants.

Unskilled as the organizers were, the hearts were filled with joy by the many “thank yous” received as the children passed back and forth, carefully supervising the work at hand. The painters were quite nervous, because of large, young audience, and tried earnestly to please them.

Markings for hop scotch and jacks games were also drawn on the school yard; these are traditional games that have almost been forgotten by the children.

The garden and beautification work at Diego Martin School were completed before noon the next day, with the promise of future support.

At 2:30 pm on Sept. 22, the festive part of the International Day of Peace program began at the UPF headquarters in Diego Martin. There were approximately 200 guests, including many pupils and residents from the Diego Martin community, where the headquarters is located.

A speech educating the public of UPF’s work towards supporting United Nations initiatives towards building a world of peace was given by Ms. Lisa Cowan. On that special day. Ms. Jacintha Da Silva, chairman of the Friendship Foundation, was appointed an Ambassador for Peace for her creative teaching techniques, incorporating drama, music, crafts and puppetry, and also for her years of service as a volunteer life coach and teacher to children across the nation. As Ms. Da Silva received her certificate, she said “I will endeavor my best to be worthy of such a title.”

Then there was a ceremonial signing of the UPF peace declaration by Pundit Ravi Bharati of the Param Dhama Ashram; Pastor Jenelle Israel of Breaking the Silence Deliverance and Healing Ministries; Mr. Agnideva Dassa, president of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON); Ms. Jacintha Da Silva, chairman of the Friendship Foundation; Ms. Lisa James, chairman of Helping Angels; Mr. Simeon Prince, technical director of the Friendship Foundation; and Ms. Anisha Duprey, principal of Angels Academy Preschool.

There was also back-to-back entertainment including students from various schools in Trinidad and Tobago depicting peace, love and unity through songs and puppetry. Mr. Roger Beharry also added some special flavor to the event by singing some Elvis Presley classics. The program ended with an interfaith service of planting a peace pole and releasing white doves as a symbol of peace.

At the end, many people commented that it was the first time they had experienced a program that included people from different religions and cultures, and they expressed their desire to support UPF’s work in Trinidad and Tobago. Principal Duprey said “It was the first time the pre-schoolers (ranging from 3 to 5 years old) ever took part in and experienced an intercultural, interreligious event.” Mr. Everard Charles, youth officer from the Ministry of Youth and Gender Affairs, attended the event and expressed his desire to know more about UPF and collaborate with it. The members of the Diego Martin community were truly touched by UPF’s efforts and expressed interest in supporting peace initiatives towards building a better Trinidad and Tobago.

Reflections

Ms. Penelope Allong, family member of the president of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago: “I would like to take the opportunity to commend you on a job well done. The video shown in the initial part of the program teaching our people that the Universal Peace Federation is a global network of individuals and organizations dedicated to building a world of peace centered on universal spiritual and moral values was very captivating. I was also very impressed by the performance of the many young, talented and gifted children who showed the potential to be our future leaders of tomorrow.”

Ms. Jacintha Da Silva, chairman of the Friendship Foundation: "It was extremely refreshing to witness the different religious leaders coming together in a genuine embrace, not seen in any other interreligious gathering. It was truly a Day of Peace in which groups of all ages and backgrounds interacted and embraced each other. I would like to give special thanks to UPF-Trinidad and Tobago for making this event possible.”

Words of wisdom from Pundit Ravi Bharati, Param Dhama Ashram: “The child is the future. With the right spiritual guidance, the child becomes an asset to a nation. If parents can only understand their responsibilities and fulfill their duties, then the child of today will be embraced into a more peaceful lifestyle. Biologically, we become parents, but what does it take to be a parent, and how many of us are prepared to do our duties? The child is a young tender bud, yet to blossom; we as parents should allow the blossoming to be a beautiful part of life for our children. Let us aspire to inspire before we expire. I would like to thank UPF for the opportunity to be part of the International Day of Peace program.”

International Day of Peace 2014 from Universal Peace Federation International

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