Day of Peace Observed with Poetry and Interviews in Accra

Accra, Ghana - UPF-Ghana originally proposed two major events for the commemoration of the International Day of Peace 2013: a Poetry Contest and a Football Competition as well as a Peace Rally. A six-person Committee was put in place to plan the event ahead of time, bringing in two NGO heads who had indicated their interest in collaborating with UPF.

Dealing with challenges

Challenges arose and destabilized both the Committee and all plans. Alternatively, the two collaborating NGOs (Splendors of Dawn Poetry Foundation and Youth ICON Ghana) came together with UPF and made a quick decision to organize something for that day, no matter how small.

A busy location in the center of the city was chosen to inform the public about the International Day of Peace and invite them to speak about their understanding of peace. This idea suited the three organizing bodies.

The Accra "Shoprite" was chosen: a central shopping mall in the city that has over 500 daily visitors and more than 1000 people on weekends. Fortunately, the International Day of Peace 2013 fell on a Saturday.

It was agreed that the Splendors of Dawn Poetry Foundation would bring along their "Young Poets," who would entertain interested passersby with their renditions of "Peace Poems." Youth ICON Ghana however was to arrange for video coverage, and UPF would arrange a banner. It was decided to assemble at 10:00 am and continue for four hours.

On the designated day, everyone assembled at the Accra Shopping Mall with the kids of "Splendors" in their bright outfits ready to entertain people. Permission was obtained from the Mall authority few days earlier. However, a few minutes into the event, the security men on duty started making interruptions. Peace activists were not perturbed by the interruptions, but a strategic spot was no longer available. It was necessary to move around the Mall with the camera men sampling people’s views. In time, things were sorted out with the Authority.

Interviews and poetry recitations

More than 40 people were interviewed about what peace means to them. These were people who actually responded. There were very many people (local and foreigners) who refused to speak or express themselves either because they did not want to be seen or heard on the screen or they just did not want to speak. Eventually, those who spoke gave similar expressions of what peace is all about: "People living in harmony with each other within the family, society or national level."

The youth of the Splendors of Dawn Poetry Foundation had a place to perform and more than enough time for their Peace Poem renditions. Some people who spent time watching their performances encouraged organizers to bring them to the national television.

The video coverage will be uploaded as soon as it is available.

Reported by Dr. Helen M. Osei, Secretary General, UPF-Ghana

International Day of Peace 2013 from Universal Peace Federation International

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