Festival of Peace in Ottawa

Ottawa, Canada -  "When should we get out of Afghanistan?" "Confrontation or cooperation in the Arctic?" “Can we be both rich and free of war?" "What are Ottawans doing to prevent nuclear war?" "How can music, art, and meditation help build a culture of peace?" "How can our world religions promote/advocate peace?" "What can Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., teach us today to make our world safer?"

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These are some of the profound questions addressed during Ottawa’s 13-day Festival of Peace that began on the United Nations International Day of Peace, September 21.

UPF-Canada contributed to the festival by assembling an exhibit entitled Martin Luther King, Jr.: In His Own Words. Organized by Daniel Stringer of the National Capital Peace Council of UPF, the 12-panel exhibit featured photos of King matched to his quotes as well as a dynamic new portrait by local artist Komi Olafimihan commissioned for the festival. The exhibit ran from September 15 to 30 at the Main Branch of the Ottawa Public Library.

In addition, the National Capital Peace Council devoted its monthly breakfast meeting to the festival with a talk by Order of Canada recipient Murray Thompson on what we all can do to encourage the decommissioning of nuclear weapons around the world.

Like its official skating rink, the Rideau Canal, Ottawa’s Peace Festival is the longest in the world. A Peace Walk sponsored by the City of Ottawa, aboriginal Elder William Commanda’s Circle of All Nations, and the Canadian Department of Peace Initiative kicked off the festival. Proclamations were read on the International Day of Peace and the declaration of Ottawa as a City of Peace. Embassy representatives carried their flags and wore national costumes. Activities promoting peace continued until October 2, the anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth and the International Day of Non-Violence. Dr. Peter Stockdale, who organized the Peace Walk, is the Secretary of the National Capital Peace Council.

The Festival of Peace was organized by the Ottawa Chapter of the Canadian Department of Peace Initiative, headed by Ambassadors for Peace Dr. Bill Bhaneja and Dr. Peter Stockdale, in cooperation with 18 local peace and justice groups.

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

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