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Peace Education

Georgian Peace Cyclist Visits St. Petersburg

Russia-2017-10-30-Georgian Peace Cyclist Visits St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg, Russia—A bicyclist who promotes peace through an ultra-distance trip joined other peace cycling proponents at a press conference in St. Petersburg.

The press conference with Nodar Beridze, the originator of the bicycling project which he has named "Peace Road," was held in the St. Petersburg House of Nationalities on October 30, 2017.

The event was hosted by the head of the Northwest Russia chapter of the Universal Peace Federation, Natalia Chigrina.

The idea and goals of Mr. Beridze’s project are very close and in tune with those of the Peace Road initiative supported by the Universal Peace Federation. Both include propaganda of peace and neighborliness, mutual respect, friendship of peoples, a healthy lifestyle, and strong families.

Mr. Beridze’s journey has received the blessing of the patriarch of Georgia, Ilia II. Its route started in Tbilisi, the capital of Mr. Beridze’s native Georgia, and continued to Beijing, Vladivostok and Moscow before stopping at St. Petersburg. The route continues to Lisbon before concluding in Tbilisi on May 26, 2018.

Such projects attract the attention of authorities, public organizations, and ordinary citizens, encouraging active cooperation and new joint creative ideas. During the ride, a cycling traveler from Kaliningrad, Alexey Samburov, joined Mr. Beridze. "We tourists have such an expression, ‘trailing the road,’ and Nodar is ‘trailing’ the Road of Peace," Mr. Samburov said. "The road that we will trail—we will use it; the more of us, the sooner world peace will be established."

Ilya Gurevich, the chair of the VeloPeter club, organizer of thousands of bike races, also supported the hero of the meeting. His brainchild on which he currently is working is a bicycle ride titled Diaspora for Petersburg. Here is what he says about his project: "Our city was famous for the fact that representatives of different peoples have lived and worked here, all of them Petersburgers. We have the idea of a bicycle project, a trip through the city, in which representatives of different nations and different faiths will take part. We are planning a rally, at which representatives of different diasporas could share something about people of their nationality who lived in Petersburg and what they did for the city. And each of them will finish his speech with the words ‘We love you, Petersburg!’ in his or her own language."

The vice chair of the organizing committee of the association Super Marathoners for a Healthy Lifestyle, Gennady Valugin, told about his many years of working in cooperation with UPF and its Peace Road events.

Gennady Boldyrev, the first deputy chair of the council of the public movement "The Will of Petersburg" and a representative of the club "Active Longevity," also supported the idea of the project, emphasizing that due to such bicycle rides for peace, the tension in relations between peoples will decrease, and we will get an opportunity to make one big family.

Within the framework of the press conference, another interesting charity event was announced—from the Palace Square of St. Petersburg to the highest mountain in Europe: Mount Elbrus in southern Russia. The author of the project is Evgeny Kutuzov, participant of countless marathons and charity runs. "Sport can be healthy, not only for individuals but for society, as an informational occasion for something better and more beautiful, like for example, world peace. I try to do my best to make the world better in my surroundings, and I plan to ride to Elbrus in support of the charity fund," Mr. Kutuzov declared.

"Relations with people reflect your own character," added Mr. Gurevich of VeloPeter. "Relationship problems lie within each of us. And we need to learn to come to any place with a smile, with a positive attitude."

The Georgia bicyclist was greeted by representatives of the Universal Peace Federation and cyclists from the VeloPeter club on the eve of the press conference, and together they laid flowers at the Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad (the former name of St. Petersburg). Mr. Beridze stressed the special role of the Leningraders in the war years, their exploits and kindness, and told a story that touched his heart—about a baker who died of hunger, giving all the fruits of his labor to others and forgetting about himself.

Wartime gives many opportunities for heroic deeds. But the peaceful sky overhead opens even greater horizons for us—our creativity, love, self-realization and cooperation.

Nodar Beridze has taken as his motto "Stop whining—take it up and do it!"—which he first encountered on a roadside billboard.

The Universal Peace Federation invites all to cooperate in the framework of the international peacemaking project Peace Road.

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