Archive for the ‘At The United Nations’ Category

The International Day of Peace at the United Nations-USA

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

Deborah-Monica IDP 2015 ReportSeptember 21, 2015

The 2015 International Day of Peace began at the United Nations with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the President of the70th General Assembly ringing the Peace Bell while 193 students raised the flags of the Member States during the Minute of Silence.

Peace Bell
Photo by Amanda Voisard

Following the ceremony, the Secretary-General joined 800 people in Conference Room 4 to begin the student program on the 2015 theme, “Partnerships for Peace–Dignity for All.” A full webcast of the event is at


The program was full of celebrities and rich with information and inspiration. Speakers included Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; Messengers of Peace Dr. Jane Goodall, Michael Douglas and Yo-Yo Ma; UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue Herbie Hancock; the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi; Youth Moderator Ms. Zuhal Sultan, the founder of the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq; and the students from UNIFIL in Beirut, Lebanon, who were present live via satellite.

SG and Peace Pole
Photo by Dave Willard

Highlights included Yo-Yo Ma playing his cello and students from South Korea demonstrating advanced Taekwondo techniques, as well as students presenting their projects for peace. The United Nations International School Chamber Ensemble sang, “Heal the World.”

Another memorable moment was when a Security guard brought in a dog in response to Dr. Jane Goodall’s desire to have the non-human community represented. Dr. Jane immediately went to greet this special guest by the Peace Pole in the chamber.

Jane w Dog and P Pole - happy
Photo by Dave Willard

The traditional 12 noon Minute of Silence was introduced by the International Day of Peace NGO Committee Co-Chairs: Deborah Moldow, World Peace Prayer Society; Monica Willard, United Religions Initiative; Michael Johnson, Pathways To Peace; Shawn Sweeney, The Jane Goodall Institute. Mrs. Ban rang the World Peace Prayer Society’s Peace Bell, made of recycled weapons of war, and the silence was closed with the room saying together, “May Peace Prevail on Earth.”

The program concluded with a special 70th Anniversary Flag Ceremony for World Peace developed by the UN Department of Public Information. William Yotive, Education Outreach Director, showed the progression of countries joining the United Nations over the past seven decades by asking the students holding flags of the 193 UN Member States to rise in turn showing the decade in which that country had joined the United Nations.

Students with UN Member Paper Flags
Photo by Dave Willard

An accompanying slide show demonstrated show the growth from 51 Member States in 1946 to 193 in 2015. Then everyone was asked to hold high a paper flag of the United Nations and say together, “May Peace Prevail on Earth.” Mr. Yotive then asked them to repeat the message with more energy, and the call for peace rang out through the United Nations.


Report by Monica Willard and Deborah Moldow

The World Peace Prayer Society at the United Nations for the INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE—NYC-USA

Friday, October 4th, 2013

September 18th,  2013


The World Peace Prayer Society (WPPS) has worked in partnership with the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) on the UN observance of the International Day of Peace (IDP) since 1997. On Wednesday, September 18th, 500 high school and college students arrived at the United Nations early in the morning – international students from Rutgers University, refugee students living in Vermont, an overnight busload of students from Montreal, Roots & Shoots volunteers from along the East Coast, and many more representing diverse peace efforts in their schools and communities.

194 of these students had the privilege of carrying the flags of all the UN Member States into the Rose Garden to take part in the ringing of the Peace Bell by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The Secretary-General gave a moving speech that included a plea for peace in Syria, as well as a strong call to get every child into school. He asked for a Minute of Silence and rang the Peace Bell, as the students raised the flags high.

Room with Peace Pole

The Secretary-General then joined the students in the recently renovated Conference Room 1 of the UN, warmly encouraging them to feel compassion in their hearts and to work for a better world for all. The students also heard inspiring remarks by Dr. Jane Goodall, UN Messenger of Peace, and UN Foundation “Girl Up” Champion Monique Coleman.


The program included a live feed from the UN Peacekeeping site in Haiti, songs by Ta’Kaiya Blaney and by Technicolor Lenses, and talks by numerous dignitaries. But the most exciting parts were the presentations by students of 14 of their own peace projects, from a high school Peace Pledge to the Diversity Rocks International Youth Project to Theatre for Social Change. Two of the young people closed their presentations with “May Peace Prevail on Earth.”

Peace Pals in UN Conference Room

Decorating the Peace Pole

This message of peace was present in the room with a Peace Pole, a display of the winning entries to the Peace Pals Art Exhibition, and the WPPS Peace Bell, for the traditional Minute of Silence conducted by Mrs. Ban. Everyone in the room had a paper flag of one of the UN Member States at their seat.

Students with Paper Flags

At 11:50, Monica Willard of the United Religions Initiative invited Mrs. Ban to come forward to ring the bell. Deborah Moldow of the World Peace Prayer Society invited everyone to rise and hold up their paper flags. After the Minute of Silence at the stroke of noon, all 500 students, chaperones, dignitaries and UN staff said together, “May Peace Prevail in (the country of the flag).” and then three times, “May Peace Prevail on Earth!” Everyone was moved by the profound feeling of peace that filled the room through this simple ceremony.



Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

May 23rd, 2013

The Bruno Gröning Circle of Friends (www.bruno-grö is a worldwide network of groups practicing the natural healing technique popularized by Bruno Gröning (1906-1959). Bruno Gröning was thought to be a miracle healer, but he insisted that any person, by absorbing the life force freely available to all, could bring about healing even of conditions considered to be incurable.

Deborah Moldow, WPPS Representative to the United Nations, presented the Peace Pole to Mr. Dieter Häusler, leader of the Circle of Friends. She noted the relationship between healing the individual and peace for the entire world, and expressed appreciation for the altruistic work over 30 years of the Circle of Friends.


Dieter Häusler received the Peace Pole, saying, “This award signifies the recognition of the life work of Bruno Gröning, and at the same time all of the Bruno Gröning friends worldwide who carry the message of peace, love, and harmony, as well as the possibility of healing on the spiritual path.” He spoke about the peaceful cooperation of friends in Ireland and Northern Ireland, as well as the unusual friendships between Greek and Turkish people and how the communities in Palestine are supported by the friends from Israel, demonstrating the possibility of the phrase, “May peace prevail on Earth.”

The ceremony took place in the ecumenical Tillmann Chapel of the United Nations at the invitation of SaluS, a member the United Nations Staff Recreation Council (UNSRC). A video of the presentation can be viewed at

Members of the Bruno Gröning Circle of Friends expressed interest in planting Peace Poles around the world in honor of the UN International Day of Peace.

United For A Culture of Peace Through Interfaith Harmony — United Nations General Assembly Hall — NEW YORK CITY – USA

Friday, April 26th, 2013

February 14th, 2013

Mrs. Masami Saionji had a vision: she saw a Symphony of Peace Prayers at the United Nations. She saw people of all faiths offering prayers for peace, followed by the flags of all nations lifted in a shared call for peace on Earth. She saw an expression of global unity that would propel the United Nations and all of its member states into a new era of peace.
This vision came to life on February 14th, when 1500 people gathered in the UN General Assembly for a 3-hour event called United For A Culture of Peace Through Interfaith Harmony, in honor of World Interfaith Harmony Week.

H.E. Mr. Vuk Jeremić, President of the 67th General Assembly of the United Nations, hosted the event with the Committee of Religious NGOs at the UN and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Six UN Missions co-sponsored, with four more as supporters, plus six additional NGO coalitions joining the Committee of Religious NGOs.
The program officially opened with H.E. Mr. Vuk Jeremić, President of the 67th General Assembly of the United Nations, who spoke of the founding of the United Nations, where, “each Member State was given a seat around the high table of peace, in the expectation that one day swords may indeed be turned into ploughshares.” Deputy Secretary-General Mr. Jan Eliasson sharing from his long experience in conflict mediation about the importance of interfaith dialogue.

The audience was then treated to a beautiful and heart-filled performance by young Filipino soprano Katherina Saporsantos. Distinguished speakers from the United Nations, UNESCO and civil society then offered insights on the topic of The Role of Interfaith Harmony in the Peaceful Settlement of Disputes.

Mrs. Masami Saionji, Chairperson of The World Peace Prayer Society and Byakko Shinko Kai took the stage to introduce the heart of the program, the Symphony of Peace Prayers. She said, “The prayers of many faiths that will be offered here at the United Nations shall help us transcend the walls of separation, and bring new inspiration to the global community. I firmly believe that this will be a historic event to open the door to a bright and peaceful future.”

Representatives of Indigenous, Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Humanist, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, and Zoroastrian faiths offered their prayers and then stood before the Peace Pole on the stage. Mrs. Saionji joined them for a final bow, bringing the whole world of diversity together in love.

32 children from the UN International School Junior Four Chorus came forward to sing songs of peace. The audience rose to its feet in joy!
Mr. Hiroo Saionji, President of The World Peace Prayer Society and The Goi Peace Foundation, introduced the grand finale of the program, the World Peace Flag Ceremony. He said that, “A true culture of peace is built when we come to understand and respect our differences and appreciate our diversity.” Mr. Saionji mentioned that the ceremony would be very special because, “the flags will be raised by UN staff members, international college students and other volunteers—many of them a native of that country in their national costume.”
The audience was asked to rise, holding the paper flags that had been inserted into each program, to say together the invocation, “May Peace Prevail on Earth.” The grand pageant began as Dr. Noel Brown and Dr. Maki Kawamura announced the name of each Member State while its flag was presented, accompanied by Chris Farrell’s meditative music. Everyone said together, “May peace be in” every nation.

Finally, Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, wife of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, stepped proudly forward to raise the flag of the United Nations. Everyone completed the World Peace Flag Ceremony by reciting three times, “May peace prevail on Earth!”

At that moment, the Unity Made Visible Interfaith Chorus led everyone in song as the flag bearers paraded out. Monica Willard, President of the Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations, delivered a heartfelt vote of thanks, with all the speakers and organizers surrounding her on the stage.

The United Nations General Assembly was aglow with the spirit of unity, love and peace. The event had demonstrated – through words, prayers, music and the flags of all nations – the magnificent diversity of the human family, standing “United For A Culture of Peace Through Interfaith Harmony.” All present were filled with one shared call from the heart: May Peace Prevail on Earth!


Friday, June 29th, 2012

May 24th, 2012

The Committee of Religious NGOs at the UN and the Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations hosted an annual luncheon inter-religious dialogue and cooperation on May 24, 2012. More than eighty people attended, including thirty Mission personnel and representatives of fifteen agencies, as well as NGOs of different faith-based organizations. There was a rich sharing of inspiring partnerships hard at work around the world, while all enjoyed a lovely lunch organized by WPPS Peace Rep Monica Willard, who chairs the committee.

WPPS UN Representative Deborah Moldow, who was an MC for the event, provided greeting cards to be signed by everyone at each of the eleven tables. These cards were for the people of the Japanese town of Rikuzentakata, which was devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The RNGOs had heard a moving report on their plight earlier in the year, organized by Hiro Sakurai of Soka Gakkai international. All the ambassadors, UN staff and NGOs sent their prayers and loving support to the people there. Hiro, who will hand deliver the cards in July, added “May Peace Prevail on Earth” to each card in Japanese, saying, “This will be such as powerful encouragement for the people of Rikuzentakata.”

15th Season for Nonviolence Event at the United Nations – NYC-USA

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

February 15th, 2012

The World Peace Prayer Society has been helping to organize a student program at the United Nations to observe the Gandhi-King-Chavez Season for Nonviolence since its inception.

This year’s theme was: “Global Peace through Social Media: There’s An App for That!”, helping 400 high school students and one elementary school learn to stop cyber-bullying as well as how to use social media to build a culture of peace. A powerful presentation by students of the Conflict Resolution program at Susan E. Wagner High School on Staten Island closed with, “May Peace Prevail On Earth!”

Next came the Trenton Children’s Choir, singing the well-known African marching song, “Siya Hamba/ We are Marching in the Light of God.” After several verses, the children switched the lyrics to “May Peace Prevail On Earth” and invited the audience to sing along.

The students of Susan Wagner High also showed a video flag ceremony! The students researched all 193 flags of the UN Member States and displayed them in alphabetical order, interspersed with pictures of peace leaders, including speaker Ibrahim Sharif at last year’s Newark Peace Summit, with a Peace Pole next to him.

So even without actual flags this year, the message “May Peace Prevail On Earth” was a strong component of the UN Season for Nonviolence event, as the students attending were urged to dedicate their lives to nonviolence and peace.

World Interfaith Harmony Week Program Brings Spirit of Peace to UN General Assembly

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

“Common Ground for the Common Good” NYC, New York-USA
February 7th, 2012

A rare event took place in the UN General Assembly on February 7, 2012: religious and secular leaders from around the world gathered to affirm “Common Ground for the Common Good” to mark the close of the second annual World Interfaith Harmony Week (February 1-7).

The program, hosted by the President of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, was organized by a team of UN NGO representatives that included Deborah Moldow of the World Peace Prayer Society and WPPS Peace Representative Monica Willard, both officers of the Committee of Religious NGOs at the UN.

The program featured Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro and diverse voices, religious and secular, from all over the world, echoing the theme of harmony and the foundation of values shared by both religious groups and the United Nations itself. Four “pillars” of the President of the General Assembly were also addressed: Conflict Mediation; Disaster Prevention and Response; Revitalization of the UN; and Sustainable Development.

The star speaker of the day was young Yuka Saionji, daughter of Chairperson Masami Saionji and President Hiroo Saionji of the World Peace Prayer Society. Ms. Saionji has been working among the Japanese youth who lost so much during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami and needed to find the confidence to rebuild. She brought tears to everyone’s eyes as she spoke movingly of the importance of prayer, and how much the prayers and support from around the world brought comfort to the Japanese people – and she received a standing ovation.

Monica Willard, who represents the United Religions Initiative at the United Nations, stated that the purpose of the event, which honored GA Resolution A/RES/65/5 establishing World Interfaith Harmony Week, was to fill the General Assembly with love. This was accomplished with speakers offering the wisdom of their traditions and also with music, which included an indigenous flute, a chamber ensemble and the Salvation Army New York Staff Band. The Children’s Theater Company offered a delightful presentation of peace quotes and a song of unity by a joyful troupe of young people.

The spiritual highlight of the program was a tree ceremony, co-led by Deborah Moldow with Taj Hamad of the Universal Peace Federation. Representatives of eleven religions were invited to come forward to give water to a common tree, symbolic of nurturing our common ground. The beautiful music of Paul Winter, a member of the WPPS Founding Advisory Board, was a magnificent complement to the ceremony. Deborah closed with “May Peace Prevail on Earth.”

All speakers and organizers came onto the stage for the final music of the ceremony and the concluding remarks of the President of the General Assembly, who stated that, “the fruits of religious dialogue and understanding offer the hope of a new era of peace for all humanity.”

In the great hall of the nations of the world, 1200 active listeners – along with many watching the webcast from different parts of the world – each held a shared vision of a culture of peace throughout the program. The Peace Pole next to the stage silently expressed our “Common Ground for the Common Good,” as it anchored a new spirit of harmony and peace.

The Committee of Religious NGOs Helps Launch the First Annual WORLD INTERFAITH HARMONY WEEK, 1-7 February

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011


Monica Willard, President of the Committee of Religious NGOs and longtime WPPS Peace Representative, and Deborah Moldow, WPPS Representative to the United Nations, organized an Interfaith Breakfast to promote and expand participation in World Interfaith Harmony Week, proclaimed by the UN General Assembly. They enlisted the partnership of the NGO Section of the UN Department of Public Information, which promoted the event to more than 1500 NGOs worldwide.

Deborah Moldow, Kiyotaka Akasaka, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussain, Marc Scheuer, Christine MacMillan, Muhammad Al Nsour, Maria-Luisa Chavez, Monica Willard

An extremely diverse crowd of 100 people attended the event, which was held at Salvation Army building on East 52nd Street. Monica Willard and Commissioner Christine MacMillan, Director of the Salvation Army Social Justice Commission, welcomed everyone. Then Deborah Moldow set the tone with an opening Minute of Silence and invited everyone to say together, “May Peace Prevail on Earth.”

Monica introduced the very distinguished speakers:

Mr. Kiyotaka Akasaka, Under Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information
HRH Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein, Permanent Representative of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the United Nations
Mr. Marc Scheuer, Director, UN Alliance of Civilizations
Mr. Stephen Hanmer, Civil Society Partnerships, UNICEF
Dr. Azza Karam, UNFPA (opened her remarks with, “May Peace Prevail on Earth.”)

Deborah Moldow with Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussain

International Day of Peace Annual Student Observance ~ United Nations Headquarters-NYC, USA

Monday, November 29th, 2010

September 17th, 2010
International Day of Peace UN Student Observance-“Youth, Peace and Development”

Once again, students from the UN International School raised the flags of all nations as the Secretary-General rang the UN Peace Bell in the Rose Garden. A trusted UN security guard actually came out to First Avenue to help us to hurry the flags past security!

A Peace Pole was at the front of the Conference Room in the temporary building used during the five-year renovation. The WPPS Peace Bell was again used for the “practice” 12-noon Minute of Silence with the wife of the Secretary-General, Mrs. Ban Soon-taek. She stayed through the annual World Peace Flag Ceremony, participating the whole time and again taking the UN flag at the end.

Deborah Moldow, UN Representative for The World Peace Prayer Society let the Flag Ceremony. During the Flag Ceremony, youth from Canada’s “Circle of Peace” group led a MPPOE chant, while students raised the flags of every nation in a circle around the room. Everyone paid close attention, following the country names on the PowerPoint projected on the screen. The students continued to wave the flags during the finale performance of “We Are the World” by a group of Japanese students, for a beautiful close to the event. The WPPS staff and volunteers did a terrific job with the ceremony, and the UN Department of Public Information was very happy with the way it went.

This event will be part of the UN video achieve and available at: and


Monday, August 17th, 2009

Monday, August 10th, 2009

Fumi Johns-Stewart, WPPS Executive Director, Deborah Moldow, WPPS, Representative at the UN and Monica Willard, WPPS Peace Representative attended the joint exhibition entitled “Against Nuclear Arms” which opened with a ceremony and reception on Monday, 10 August in the Main Gallery of the Visitors Lobby.

It will remain on display until 30 September.

The exhibitions portray the destruction and terrible damage caused by the A-bomb explosions in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, and decades of nuclear arms testing in the heart of Kazakhstan.  Its goal is to deepen public understanding of the devastating consequences of the use of nuclear weapons and to advance the international movement to abolish nuclear weapons.

Fumi Johns-Stewart, WPPS, Executive Director with Mr. Takasu, Permanent Representative of the Japanese Mission to the UN.
Fumi Johns-Stewart, WPPS, Executive Director with Mr. Takasu, Permanent Representative of the Japanese Mission to the UN.

“Hope of Hiroshima and Nagasaki” highlights the destruction caused by the bombs, the recovery process and survivors’ renderings.  It also includes a presentation of the work of HICARE, the Hiroshima International Council for Health Care of the Radiation-Exposed, established after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster to promote international cooperation.

“The Untold Story of Semipalatinsk Polygon” recounts the untold story of nuclear tests in central Kazakhstan; the medical, social and environmental consequences on population, flora and fauna of the region, the plight of victims scarred from more than four decades of nuclear tests and Kazakhstan’s 1992 commitments to become free of nuclear weapons.

Also forming part of the exhibit are a selection of computer collage artworks by two artists, photographer and video artist Masaru Tanaka, the son of an atomic bomb survivor, and painter Betsie Miller-Kusz, the daughter of a physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project in 1945.  Both artists have collaborated to create peace through their artworks.  The display of these artworks has been made possible by ART Peace.

This exhibition is presented by the United Nations Permanent Missions of Japan and Kazakhstan, as part of ongoing efforts for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and in view of next year’s Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.  The exhibit is presented in cooperation with Hiroshima City, Nagasaki City, Semey City, HICARE and the National Nuclear Center and Central State Archive of Kazakhstan.  MAY PEACE PREVAIL ON EARTH!