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CALENDAR OF EVENTS

October 2018
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Day of Peace Observed in Auckland

Auckland, New Zealand - An International Day of Peace observance in Auckland on September 21 organized by the UPF and the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP) provided an opportunity for Auckland peace groups to reaffirm their shared values for non-violence, disarmament, and peace, in the community and in the world. It was supported by the Peace Foundation and the United Nations Association of New Zealand-Northern Regional Branch.

This performance event comprised speeches and musical items by representatives of a variety of organizations, e.g., Sri Chinmoy and Soka Gakkai International-New Zealand. It was an ideal opportunity to praise and reinforce the Auckland Peace City Declaration through the Mayor and Councillor Cathy Casey and Orakei Local Board Chair Desley Simpson.

It was able to be organized in the unusually short time frame of two weeks because the UPF is so experienced in the organization of community peace events and dedicated to the vision. They did a brilliant job led by the professional UPF Director Julius Gicole and MC Gerald Trass plus the WFWP Felicity Cairns overseeing the afternoon tea, etc. It is to their credit that they planned and ensured the programme stayed within the 3:00-5:00 pm time frame. They hired and managed the superb venue in St. Heliers Bay Church Hall. The Sound Engineer Julie was notable in her technical competence and cooperative attitude for which we can be most grateful.

The major highlight of the occasion was the presentation by the Peace Foundation-Peace Education in Schools Coordinator Christina Barruel and the students from Mt. Roskill Grammar, who made speeches and performed a song which was outstanding.

This perfectly demonstrated the theme of "Education for Peace."

The appointment of several women as UPF Ambassadors for Peace was very lovely, followed by the pouring of the water into the common vessel accompanied by the "singing bowl."

Candace Robertson produced a good flyer design and it was swiftly printed and quickly distributed in the week before the event. The banner was done equally well for the stage backdrop.

Challenges

Flyers/posters need to be produced and distributed over 3-4 weeks before event and thoroughly saturate the local area and high interest groups, e.g., local schools. Email notification needs to go out to a greater catchment of networks over same period. Preparation of targeted media releases was done, but maybe there was not the vital follow up with reporters to get stories in prior to the event. However, this requires a publicity "hook," arranging interviews, photo shoots, etc., and takes a lot of skilled effort.

Lack of public interest is the core issue and requires a much broader long term strategy. In addition to pre-event promotion, there should also be a "news worthy" release immediately after the event to maximize the potential impact for public awareness and appreciation.

The UN Secretary-General’s message was an important statement worthy of great international attention as the event was being honored in countries around the world. It is sad that the New Zealand media chose to ignore the event.

Given the minimum promotional time frame, the venue was filled mainly through personal word-of-mouth and email networks.

Local National MP Simon O’Connor and Green MP Kennedy Graham both produced significant messages of support for the occasion. These were unable to be read due to time constraints. It would have been better to have one less speaker on the program.

The format of speaker then culture item works well. The last act should be a high quality strong item. Fortunately, the final item was an excellent speech by Julius that gave people the leadership and unifying vision required.

Conclusion

It was a real pleasure and very satisfying to work with this organizing committee. We had two meetings of about dozen UPF members. It was helpful that we did not have to raise funds (already available for purpose).

The UPF statement was particularly inspiring and provides a fresh insight into the foundation for a whole new program on the meaning of "peace education" within schools and in the wider community.

Based on a report by Organizing Committee Member Laurie Ross

International Day of Peace 2013 from Universal Peace Federation International

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