Day of Peace in the Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic-2008-09-21-Day of Peace in the Dominican Republic

Higuey, Dominican Republic - To celebrate the International Day of Peace, September 21, 2008 a thousand people filled the auditorium of the National University in the city of Higuey. The initial idea to hold this celebration in Higuey came from the senator of the province, Ambassador for Peace Mr. Germán Castro García, who asked for our support, partnership, and assistance in organizing the event.

The National University (la Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo) was a partner in the celebration, represented by Mrs. Clara Benedicto, head of international relations at the university and an Ambassador for Peace. Following the instructions of the university president, Dr. Franklin García Fermín (also an Ambassador for Peace), the regional director, Mr. Jorge Reyes Medina, offered the auditorium and classrooms for our use, along with staff to take care of the generator, security, and cleaning.

The celebration had an ecumenical character. The Catholic bishop, Mons. Gregorio Nicanor Peña, and the president of the Association of Christian Churches of the province, Rev. José Benito Capois, each offered to give an invocation, but the bishop said it did not seem necessary to make two invocations to the same God for the same event, so he spoke a few words about world peace and let the Evangelical pastor offer the invocation. The bishop based his message on the Apostle Paul's description of peace as one of the "fruits of the Spirit." This noble gesture in deferring to the pastor made a good beginning for the event.

Two declarations of peace were read: first by UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon and next by the Universal Peace Federation. Senator Castro talked about the need to uproot hate, resentment, and arrogance from our hearts and replace them with forgiveness in order to achieve world peace. Prof. Benedicto referred to the importance of true love and the role of women in building a culture of peace. Mr. Cesar Regalado described the work of UPF and explained the motto, “One Family under God.”

Also seated at the head table were Mrs. Maritza Camacho, Vice-President for Finances of the State University, a congressman from the province, a city councilman representing the mayor, and a high-ranking army officer. Another university professor, Mrs. Francia Polanco, was the emcee.

Alternating with the speakers were performances by two groups from different Evangelical churches who danced to songs about peace and a young girl from Higuey who sang two songs about peace. The celebration closed with everyone holding hands and singing together the popular Christian song “Tengo un Nuevo Amor.” Afterwards, sandwiches and juices, provided by the senator’s office, were served.

To read UPF's Peace Declaration and reports of observances in other nations, click here.

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