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Day of Peace in the Czech Republic

Pilsen, Czech Republic - To commemorate the International Day of Peace, the Czech branch of the Universal Peace Federation convened a one-day conference in Pilsen on the topic: "The Desire of the People of All Ages Is Peace" on September 19. A festival took place in the evening. Both events were held under the auspices of the mayor of the municipal district Pilsen 3, Mr. Jiří Strobach. The UN Information Centre in Prague supported the events with materials and posters.

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The conference was attended by 60 participants from the academic, social, and political fields. At the beginning, the welcoming letter by the director of the UN International Centre in Prague, Mr. Jiří Broža, was read.

The first panel dealt with the problem of the root of conflict. Mr. Martin Slezák, a lawyer and lecturer, spoke about the origin of conflict from the beginning of human history.

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In the next presentation, Professor Tomáš Jílek from the West Bohemian University in Pilsen spoke about the Iron Curtain on the Czech-Bavarian border in the years 1945-89. Pilsen is in the western part of the Czech Republic, near the border with the German province of Bavaria. He showed the audience a documentary film from this period. Mrs. Brunhilde DAlberti, a woman of German origin who has been living in the Czech Republic for many years, shared her own experiences with Czech and Slovaks.

The final panel focused on 2009 as the Year of Reconciliation proclaimed by the UN. Mr. Ivo Kaplán, Secretary General of the Union of the European Federalists, spoke about the process of European integration. Mr. Anton Uhnák, senior lecturer of the Universal Peace Federation, offered some deep insights into the human experience.

Each panel was followed by a vivid and interesting discussion. Among the speakers were Richard Sequens, a former Senator; Miloslav Kucera, a former Member of Parliament; and Mrs. Gadernicova, an internationally respected writer and poet.

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Preparations for the event in the Czech Republic started in the spring of 2009 with four people serving as a preparatory committee and two more people organizing activities. Dozens of top Czech artists were contacted and invited to take part without remuneration. The theme song was translated, and a 40-member Pilsen choir rehearsed it for several weeks. For three months, the event was promoted through a web page and social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Approach books, brochures, DVDs, and posters were created in Czech. Visits were made to major newspapers, radio, and regional television stations as well as mayors of nearby municipalities. Ten NGOs set up exhibits about their programs.

The program featured seven entertainers; there was classical music, an Akido performance, a dance team, and a well-known choir. The 300 people in the audience enjoyed the program. This event in the Czech Republic was a valuable learning experience for all the organizers.

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To read UPF's Declaration on the International Day of Peace 2009, click here.

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