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Think Tank 2022


May 2023
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Standing Room Only at Festival Launch

Toward success of the first festival of 2008

ASUNCION, PARAGUAY - On May 12, the official "kick off" ceremony for the Global Peace Festival (GPF) was held at 7:30 pm in the prestigious Excelsior Hotel. The hall was overflowing, with no place to sit, and even no place to stand. Everyone looked excited to be part of what they expect to be a great festival July 2-5.

Before the event GPF committee members were anxious about the turnout, as Omar Halasa, GPF Executive Director, said, “We prepared for only around eighty people. We even set up tables for a buffet dinner in the back of the room so it would not look empty.” However, contrary to their expectation, by 6:50 pm staff had to take all the tables outside to make a room for more chairs, and in the end, more than three hundred people attended the launching of the festival.

The program started off with three songs performed by Generation, a highly popular folk music group. Then, Mr. Thomas Field, co-chair for GPF, greeted the audience and spoke with enthusiasm that many people will be coming to Paraguay from all around the world to attend the festival in July. Oscar Solomon, President of the Congress, explained how important GPF is to Paraguay. Ministers of Education and Tourism declared GPF “an event of national interest in tourism.”

In the audience there were a number of congressmen and other high-level government officials from Asuncion and other cities, as well as high-level business leaders and social movement leaders. Journalists from various newspapers, television and radio stations came and interviewed GPF leaders.

After the ceremony, no one left immediately. People enjoyed stand-up buffet snacks and stayed around for another hour or more, talking about the festival. “There was a high excitement in the air,” said Mr. Halasa.

Much of the success of the official launch seems to be attributed to Paraguay’s GPF committee with co-chairperson, Senator Lilian Samaniego and her network of high-level supporters, which has attracted many to join in response to GPF’s vision, “One Family under God.” GPF Paraguay has the potential to influence not only on the national level, but furthermore, on the regional level. GPF Paraguay’s leadership itself consists of people of many nationalities: Argentina, Chile, Japan, Uruguay and more. The team is delighted and highly inspired: “We are now full of hope, encouragement and determination to make a model GPF in Paraguay so we can bring about a new culture of peace.”

This launching ceremony was broadcast in Paraguay. The ABC newspaper, one of the largest daily newspapers in Paraguay, reported the official launching ceremony of GPF. The paper states that Minister Liz Rosanna Cramer, Head of the Secretary of Tourism, has signed Resolution 554/08 dated 24th April. The document expressed “the stated event will have the Republic of Paraguay as its center and with its unfolding it will increase the number of foreign visitors in the country”* indicating that GPF is much more than a world-wide mass movement. It has capacity to serve the interests of a government and citizens of a nation which will be connected to all parts of the world by leaders coming from other countries.

GPF Paraguay has significance for the world-wide project, GPF, in that Paraguay will be the first in the sequence of GPFs in 2008. With the overflow at the launching ceremony and with the presence and recognition from government officials that GPF is of national interest, GPF Paraguay may certainly be expected to be a highly influential, remarkable and exciting program for the people of Paraguay, Latin America and all GPF supporters around the world.

*ABC newspaper issue on Sunday, May18, 2008