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Day of Peace Observed at a Forum in the Marshall Islands

Majuro, Marshall Islands – An International Day of Peace forum at the Long Islands Hotel in Majuro on September 25 featured Hon. Kessai Note, former President of the Republic of Marshall Islands and now a Senator, as the keynote speaker.

Rev. Kenichi Ito as MC made opening remarks with an explanation of the background of UN International Day of Peace and then read the Countdown Message of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Then Mr. Terry Keju, UN Representative, read the official Message of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for the International Day of Peace in 2013 and expressed his gratitude on behalf of the UN regional headquarters in Suva for his invitation to the event.

Then Hon. Kessai Note gave commemorative remarks about the International Day of Peace and expressed his gratitude to Rev. Ito as well as UPF for its worldwide peace projects. He stressed the importance and necessity of peace education in the Marshall Islands as well as the region and the world. Because of limited resources, more than 30 percent of school age children in the Marshall Islands do not have a chance to go to school. "Educated individual as well as countries are usually healthy and prosperous," he said. "People who are healthy, educated and have the potential to prosper have peace of mind."

Then Imam Joyia recited an Islamic prayer for peace, and Rev. Walter Laelang offered a Christian peace prayer, followed by all the participants holding candles and offering silent prayers for world peace. Rev. Ito asked members of the audience to read prayers for peace from different religions. Then he gave a PowerPoint presentation about observances of the UN International Day of Families in 2013 and a presentation about A Vision of Peace, One Family under God.

After the presentations, there was opportunity for discussion as well as questions and answers with a closing prayer offered by Rev. Walter and people writing reflections about this event. "Students need a deep respect for themselves and others as a foundation for peace education," commented Mrs. Sumiko Hirata, an elementary school teacher. "For a country to strive for peace, there must be a balance between education and family life," according to Mr. Elson Helkena, a national Parliament official.

Religious leaders expressed optimism about peace education in the Marshall Islands. Rev. Laelang was encouraged about the prospects for peace because there have not been incidents of terrorism on the islands. Education is the key to peace, according to Imam Kauser; "To teach tolerance means to educate the masses about the truth of all faiths." Imam Joyia expressed concern about the children who are unable to attend school, who will be liability on the nation and suffer along with it.

Six new Ambassadors for Peace were appointed and received certificates from Hon. Kessai H. Note, a member of UPF’s Global Peace Council. Dinner was served and a celebration cake was cut and distributed. Rev. Laelang sang songs accompanied on the ukelele in conclusion of this International Day of Peace program.
Reported by Rev. Kenichi Ito

International Day of Peace 2013 from Universal Peace Federation International

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