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Day of Peace Observed throughout the United States

UPF chapters throughout the United States celebrated the Day of Peace with a wide variety of program, many featuring representatives of different faiths speaking of shared values.

Little Rock, Arkansas: Ambassadors for Peace held an interfaith prayer vigil on the steps of the Arkansas State Capitol. Todd Montgomery, who works in the education department of Heifer International, described how the organization has saved hundreds of thousands of people from poverty and hunger through donating animals. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's message was read by UPF State Coordinator Bruce Biggin, and leaders of five faiths offered prayers.

Tampa, Florida: The Tampa chapter of UPF organized a “Family Day of Peace” at the University of South Florida. Sixty people participated, led by seven Ambassadors for Peace, and 13 non-profit organizations displayed information tables. The keynote speaker was Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan, joined by Dustin McGahee, President of Youth for Human Rights, Florida; Michelle Walker, Founder and President of Miracles Outreach (helping at-risk teenagers); Cathy Smith, Hillsborough County Department of Juvenile Justice; and Cynthia Keeton, Hillsborough County Department of Health.

Durham, North Carolina: A charity fundraiser, "Peace Expressed through Music," celebrated the International Day of Peace in a program co-sponsored with Lovin' Life Ministries. It was an evening of music, songs, poems, and inspirational readings. Individuals sang and read peace messages from Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Father Sun Myung Moon, and many other important figures. Proceeds from the evening went to the local Liberia Crisis Center, which offers services to the many Liberian refugees who have made North Carolina their new home.

Richmond, Virginia: The International Day of Peace was celebrated with a "Family Peace Festival." More than 60 sponsors, vendors, and non-profit exhibitors participated, and about 1,200 people visited the event. Prominent among the many organizations present were the Interfaith Council of Greater Richmond, Amnesty International, Commonwealth Catholic Charities, the City of Richmond (several departments), League of Women Voters, Falun Gong, the Virginia Interfaith Center on Public Policy, and the Universal Peace Federation.

Seattle, Washington: An interfaith water of peace ceremony featured Mr. Sluggo Rigor, a Catholic; Mrs. Cindy Etter, a Baha’i; Mr. Rizwan Samad, a Muslim; Mrs. Alicia Haq, a Buddhist; Mrs. Lavanya Reddy, a Hindu; Pastor Richard Rivers, a Christian; and Rev. Larry Krishnek and Mrs. Noriko Fisher, Unificationists. Following this, Mrs. Cindy Etter gave a talk about the history of the Baha’i Faith and their work for interfaith harmony and peace.

Washington DC: Over 80 guests, including four Ambassadors and representatives from 13 embassies, attended the program at The Washington Times building. Among them were nine guests from the Republic of Congo Brazzaville and graduate students from George Washington University in DC. Speakers included Farah Al Atassi, Founder and President of the Arab Information & Resource Center in Georgetown; H.E. Srdjan Darmanovic, Ambassador of Montenegro to the United States; and Amelda Beluli, Program Manager at the National Albanian American Council. [For a more detailed report, click here.]

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