Archive for the ‘Peace Rep News’ Category

WPPS & URI-Africa Sign an Agreement to Promote a Culture of Peace in Africa

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WPPS & URI-Africa Sign an Agreement to Promote a Culture of Peace in Africa

March 28, 2017

The World Peace Prayer Society (WPPS) and United Religions Initiative-Africa (URI-Africa) signed a partnership agreement to enhance the working partnership at the national, sub-regional and continental levels in Africa to promote a culture of peace.

The agreement was signed in San Francisco at the Global Support Office of the United Religions Initiative on March 28, 2017 by Ms. Fumi Johns Stewart, Executive Director of WPPS, and by Ambassador Mussie Hailu, Regional Director of URI-Africa, Representative of URI to the African Union and United Nations, and Global Envoy of URI.

The objectives of the agreement are:

• To collaborate and maintain a close working partnership to promote a culture of peace and non-violence in the spirit of the universal peace prayer “May Peace Prevail on Earth”
• To organize world peace prayer ceremonies
• To plant peace poles in the spirit of peace building
• To commemorate UN Days through public events like the International Day of Peace on September 21st
• To support the principles, goals and programs of the United Nations (UN) and its agencies and to disseminate information and educational materials about the work of the UN on peace issues
• To work together for a sustainable peace with the participation of NGOs, individuals and intergovernmental organizations involved in educating and ending domestic violence, as well as with the corporate, faith and media sectors
• To promote a culture of peace, the teaching of the Golden Rule, and inter-religious and intercultural constructive dialogue, and to build trust and peaceful coexistence in Africa
• To organize workshops, meetings, and seminars, and to develop and implement peace projects jointly.

The partnership agreement sets out clear areas of engagement and a plan of action for the two organizations to work together.

On the occasion of the signing of the agreement, Executive Director of WPPS Fumi Johns Stewart said, “What a tremendous opportunity to ignite the spark of peace, tolerance and compassion in our hearts, to work toward a common goal in building a culture of peace beginning in Africa and rippling out to other continents of the world.”

On his part, Amb. Mussie Hailu said, “As a bridge-building interfaith organization, it is such a great pleasure for URI-Africa to foster this institutional working partnership with WPPS to promote a culture of peace and non-violence.  At this opportunity, I want to recognize the extraordinary work and contribution of WPPS since its establishment in 1954 in promoting the culture of peace through the spirit of the universal peace prayer of May Peace Prevail on Earth in the world.”

World Peace Prayer Society is a non-political, non-religious, international peace organization that works to share the message of “May Peace Prevail on Earth” through the Peace Pole Project, with over 140,000 Peace Poles planted around the globe.

URI-Africa is an interfaith organization which is working to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence, and to create cultures of peace, justice, and healing for the Earth and all living beings. It has 200 member organizations in 32 African countries, with a regional office based in Nairobi, Kenya. There is a sub-regional office based in Uganda for Great Lakes Region Countries, in Nigeria for West African Countries, in South Africa for Southern African Countries, and in Djibouti for the Horn of Africa.

Both organizations have NGO Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

MAY PEACE PREVAIL ON EARTH

IDP Celebration at St Paul College of  Pasig City,  Metro Manila – PHILIPPINES

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

The St. Paul College of Pasig City, celebrated IDP this year, spearheaded by the coalition of groups supporting works of UN. The UNIHARMONY sponsored this year’s celebration at the college to educate the youth on their role in the implementation of the Building Blocks for Peace- Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) adopted one year ago by the 193 UN member state nations.

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One of the groups in the Uniharmony is the Peacemakers Circle Foundation- where I served on the board,and where the BSK- Mandala holds office.

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St. Paul is in Metro Manila, a commercial center in the metropolis.   Dr. Genevieve B. Kupang of  St. Paul College Research Dept., and member of Peacemakers, coordinated all the preparations with our help.

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Mario “Toots” Fungo
WPPS Peace Representative in the Philippines

The National Kidney and transplant Institute-NKTI celebrates Peace Day, Quezon City-PHILIPPINES

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

 

NKTI celebrates Peace Day during IDP week,at the Peace Pole planted in 2015.

The peace day is the hospital’s way of joining UN/IDP OBSERVANCE every year.  The NKTI is a government hospital situated in the heart of Quezon City, the political capital of the country.  Department heads of the hospital also attend the celebration.

Marion “Toots” Fungo
WPPS Peace Representative in the Philippines

 

2016 United Nations International Day of Peace, NIGERIA-AFRICA

Friday, December 30th, 2016

It was a great day in Uyo, Nigeria as guest from all walks of life meet together during our peace convocation on the International Day of Peace,  September 21. Thank you for your prayers.

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Mojima Etokudo, WPPS Representative in Nigeria (on left)

Mojima Etokudo, WPPS Representative in Nigeria (on left)

Mojima Etokudo, WPPS Representative in Nigeria (on right)

Mojima Etokudo, WPPS Representative in Nigeria (on right)

Dr. Iiniodu Ukpong

Dr. Iiniodu Ukpong

May Peace Prevail on Earth.
Mojima Etokudo
Nigeria Representative
WPPS

World Peace Flag Ceremony Marks the 2016 International Day of Peace at the United Nations-USA

Friday, December 30th, 2016

By Rev. Deborah Moldow
Representative to the United Nations for The World Peace Prayer Society

Following the official observance of the 2016 International Day of Peace at the United Nations on September 16th, a dedicated group gathered across the street to send their prayers for peace to every nation of the world.

More than 100 people filled the Tillman Chapel at the Church Center for the United Nations for an event hosted by Chaplain Dionne Boissiere of the United Methodist Women and organized by the World Peace Prayer Society and the United Religions Initiative.

Included among the participants was a busload of youth brought to the International Day of Peace observances from Vermont by Children of the Earth. These young people, many of whom are refugees from various countries, came to the event directly from a luncheon visit to the Mission of the United States, where they were greeted by Amb. Samantha Power.

Rev. Boissiere opened the event with a warm welcome that reiterated her commitment to opening the chapel to the International Day of Peace each year. Deborah Moldow, Representative to the United Nations for the World Peace Prayer Society, serving as M.C., began by introducing Monica Willard, Representative to the United Nations for the United Religions Initiative. Monica read the URI’s moving Nuclear Prayer in the spirit of the International Day of Peace. She also spoke about some of the inspiring events planned to take place for the International Day of Peace on September 21st all over the world.

Interfaith filmmaker Ruth Broyde Sharone next told the touching story of the Israeli Palestinian Women’s Peace and Healing Quilt, which was displayed behind the chapel altar. A brief video explained this joyful vehicle for healing and peace in the Holy Land.

Peace Quilt with Ruth Broyde Sharone, Rev. Dionne Boissiere, Monica Willard (Photo: David Willard)

Peace Quilt with Ruth Broyde Sharone, Rev. Dionne Boissiere, Monica Willard (Photo: David Willard)

Deborah then explained the World Peace Flag Ceremony, in which all present would participate, raising the flag of every Member State of the United Nations – the very same flags that had been lifted by students at the Peace Bell as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon rang it that morning for the final time in his administration. She demonstrated how each participant would announce the country name and present the flag.

Sasha Reed, Deborah Moldow, Patrick McCollum (Photo: Patrick McCollum)

Sasha Reed, Deborah Moldow, Patrick McCollum
(Photo: Patrick McCollum)

 

Sasha Reed (Photo: David Willard)

Sasha Reed
(Photo: David Willard)

Deborah then introduced Rev. Patrick McCollum to tell the story of the World Peace Violin, hand crafted to contain fragments from around the world from places of conflict that had been healed. Patrick introduced Ms. Sasha Reed, a beautiful young violinist who would accompany the ceremony with her transcendent music.

The flag distribution team of Brandon Perdomo, the WPPS Youth Representative to the UN, Yuji Hiraiwa, Akiko Imaizumi, and Dr. Joni Carley took their places, and the World Peace Flag Ceremony began.

(Photo: Patrick McCollum) 

(Photo: Patrick McCollum)

 

(Photo: David Willard) 

(Photo: David Willard)

As the music of peace flowed from the World Peace Violin, people of all ages and many nationalities took turns praying for peace to prevail in each country as its flag was raised. From time to time, Deborah sounded the World Peace Bell made from recycled weapons of war and everyone paused to proclaim, “May Peace Prevail on Earth!” The World Peace Flag Ceremony was a profound experience, as the chapel filled with everyone’s prayers from the heart.

Two of the students from Vermont, Johnny Strek and Aidan Lodge, posted a report on their UN experience. They wrote:

One of the many powerful parts of the day was the flag ceremony. Taking part in the UN chapel, 196 flags of the world were held up and met with the wish “may peace prevail,” while the world peace violin was played. There is a great deal of conflict in the world that seems to be caused by conflicting ideologies. To be in a chapel in which one’s faith didn’t matter and the hope for peace was sent out to everyone was truly incredible.  

May Peace Prevail on Earth!

International Day of Peace celebration in Zachelmie- POLAND

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

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On  the 24th of September we had a Peace Pole dedication in Zachelmie; it is near Hotel Chojnik where the regular meetings of Angloville are held (English school with international staff).

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Jacek Kozlovski, WPPS Representative in Poland

The City of Greater Sudbury plants Peace Pole on the International Day of Peace, Sudbury-CANADA

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

MAY PEACE Prevail in Canada!  May Peace Prevail On Earth!

The City of Greater Sudbury invited Sudburians, including school students and community groups, to participate in the International Day of Peace by planting a Peace Pole in Memorial Park on September 21, 2016.

Mayor Bigger & Councillor McIntosh

Mayor Bigger & Councillor McIntosh

Morning sunshine greeted the many peace doves which had been suspended from trees and fluttered in the gentle breeze. The doves, some white, others brightly coloured, and bearing wishes for peace, were created in advance by community members and local school children. What an idyllic setting for the dedication of Greater Sudbury’s Peace Pole at the apex of a triangular floral garden.

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Anne Gervais, Recreation Coordinator of Leisure Services for the City of Greater Sudbury, and Lori Adams, WPPS Representative in Canada, were pleased to emcee this very special Peace Pole Dedication Ceremony.

To acknowledge the people on whose traditional territories we gathered, the Ceremony recognized the Atikameksheng and Wahnapitae Anishnawbek First Nations for their stewardship of this land throughout the ages.

A number of introductory comments, given in both English and French, framed our intentions for peace.

Trinity Thibeault

Trinity Thibeault

Everyone then joined in the singing of “O’Canada” led by Trinity Thibeault.

Following the anthem, Cindy Dent, Manager of Recreation at the City of Greater Sudbury, shared a Prayer for Peace, after which Chief Ted Roque offered greetings from Wahnapitae First Nation, and Mayor Brian Bigger addressed the gathering.

The highlight was the dedication and unveiling of the Peace Pole. An explanation of the Peace Pole Project included the following details:

Ø    The Peace Pole Project, an initiative of the World Peace Prayer Society, was started in 1976 as a way to spread the message May Peace Prevail on Earth. Over 200,000 Peace Poles have been dedicated in nearly every country on Earth, and are recognized as some of the most prominent international symbols and monuments to peace.

Ø    Mrs. Masami Saionji, Chairperson of the World Peace Prayer Society and the Goi Peace Foundation, inspires us with these words … “No matter where we live on this planet, we share the individual and collective responsibilities to promote and foster world peace.”

Ø    The Peace Pole bears the message May Peace Prevail on Earth in five different languages – English, French, Ojibway, Braille and Sign – and links us with people all over the world who have planted Peace Poles in the same spirit of peace.

Mayor Bigger and Councillor McIntosh proudly unveiled our City of Greater Sudbury’s Peace Pole.

The Starr Fire Choir from Sudbury Secondary School sang “Let There Be Peace on Earth” reminding us all that Peace Begins with ME.

Star Fire Choir

Star Fire Choir

In the closing remarks, participants were invited to tour the park, enjoy the exhibit and take part in a community art project by making a collage of thumbprints on a large paper dove to further demonstrate their commitment to peace.

All were thanked for joining this circle, affirming that we are ONE, ONE committed to fostering a peaceful community, nation, and world.

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May Peace Prevail on Earth

Respectfully Submitted by:
Anne Gervais, Recreation Coordinator, Leisure Services, City of Greater Sudbury
Lori Adams, WPPS Peace Representative in Canada

International Day of Peace in Warsaw, POLAND

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

 

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WPPS Peace Representative in Poland, Jacek Koslovski, organized a Peace Pole Dedication Ceremony in honor of the International Day of Peace.

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Mayor of Warsaw and Ambassador of Japan were involved.

Naomi Yamazaki, Secretary General of the Goi Peace Foundation attended as representative of Mr. Hiroo Saionji, President and Mrs. Masami Saionji, Chairperson of the Goi Peace Foundation.

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Jacek Kozlovski, WPPS Peace Representative works closely with the Japanese culture group in Poland such as: Tea, Bow and Arrow, Japanese fencing and more.

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Sonoko Tanaka, WPPS Peace Representative in Italy also attended.

 

The 2016 International Day of Peace Student Observance at the United Nations-USA

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

By Rev. Deborah Moldow
Representative to the United Nations for The World Peace Prayer Society

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The International Day of Peace student observance at the United Nations began in 1997, when the Education Outreach division of the Department of Public Information (DPI) decided to invite local students to observe five UN-appointed days, including the International Day of Peace, then marked on the third Tuesday in September, the annual opening day of the General Assembly. The World Peace Prayer Society’s UN Representative offered a World Peace Flag Ceremony with the Middle School students raising the flags of all the Member States. DPI agreed to try it, and from then on the World Peace Prayer Society and Pathways To Peace were NGO partners in planning this event each year, later joined by the United Religions Initiative and the Jane Goodall Institute.

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Over the years, the NGO partners worked with DPI on the annual theme and helped outreach to schools and entertainers. The NGOs also encouraged DPI to invite the Secretary-General into the student event from his ringing of the Peace Bell until his presence and that of the celebrity Messengers of Peace in attendance became a regular feature. They also succeeded in getting the UN to invite the students to offer short presentations on their own peace projects, which is always inspiring. And they asked for the students to be allowed to carry the flags outside to where the Secretary-General rings the Peace Bell.

In 2016, the 20th student observance of the International Day of Peace at the United Nations took peace to a whole new level – literally. After raising the flags high at the UN Peace Bell, the students processed in to their event, which was held in the prestigious General Assembly Hall! After a rousing hip-hop presentation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the students and asked them to become champions of the Global Goals.

Secretary-General Photo by D. Moldow 

Secretary-General
Photo by D. Moldow

The President of the 71st General Assembly also spoke. Then it was time for the Messengers of Peace. Actor Michael Douglas then took on the role of M.C., and then showed a video on disarmament.  Dr. Jane Goodall spoke touchingly about the need to preserve the natural world.

Dr. Jane Goodall Photo by David Willard

Dr. Jane Goodall
Photo by David Willard

Stevie Wonder told of overcoming his disability to reach millions with his music.

Stevie Wonder Photo by David Willard

Stevie Wonder
Photo by David Willard

Leonardo DiCaprio – a favorite with the students – showed a trailer for his new film about climate change.

Leonardo DiCaprio  Photo by David Willard

Leonardo DiCaprio
Photo by David Willard

And Midori played a stunning piece on her violin, before explaining the importance of giving children the experience of living arts.  Following the introduction of the Global Teacher Award honoree, Ms. Hanan Al Hroub of Palestine, all were treated to a beautiful series of songs performed by the Rainbow Choir of children from the Republic of Korea, which was very warmly received.

Rainbow Choir Photo by Ashley Young

Rainbow Choir
Photo by Ashley Young

But that wasn’t all! There were three Nobel Peace Prize laureates to speak to the youth about their passion for peace: Ms. Tawakkol Karman of Yemen, Ms. Leyma Gbowee of Liberia and Ms. Shirin Ebadi of Iran. As youth moderator Dena Mekawi took the podium, there were video links to the UN Peacekeeping missions in Cyprus and Liberia, as well as a student presentation from Rome. Then six students offered brief presentations of their own peace projects, after which Mrs. Ban rang a peace bell inscribed with “May Peace Prevail on Earth” for a 12 noon Minute of Silence, as she has each year of her husband’s term as Secretary-General, which concludes this year.

Mrs. Ban rings the Peace Bell

Mrs. Ban rings the Peace Bell

Following the event, Deborah Moldow and Monica Willard presented Mrs. Ban with a desktop Peace Pole in recognition of her dedication to the students and to peace.

Mrs. Ban, Rev. Deborah Muldow & Monica Willard (from left to right)

Mrs. Ban, Rev. Deborah Muldow & Monica Willard (from left to right)

This spectacular morning of peace ended on a high note with the students being led in a chant of “SDGs – Building Blocks for Peace!” They will not forget their visit to the United Nations – where peace was celebrated at the highest level.

May Peace Prevail on Earth!

UN Photo by Rick Bajornas

UN Photo by Rick Bajornas

World Peace Prayer Ceremony at Ananda European Center Assisi-ITALY

Monday, November 21st, 2016

On August 27th, we held a beautiful WPFC at Ananda Assisi, the European community of the followers of Paramhansa Yogananda, where people practice Yoga, meditation and prayers in order to awaken their divinity, to elevate and expand their consciousness. Around 200 people gathered not only from all over Italy but also from USA and other countries in Europe. I planned and prepared for this peace celebration day in a perfect collaboration with a team of Ananda Community.

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On August 24th, in the center part of Italy where I live, we had a strong earthquake which caused a lot of destruction in many towns in three regions. This peace ceremony was planned to be held only three days after the disaster, and we were still having a lot of small but continuous earthquakes. I felt all that was happening must have already been planned in the divine world a long time ago. In the first part of the ceremony where each spiritual leader offered a talk and a peace prayer, we offered our deep prayers and meditation for those who were facing a very difficult moment and a lot of pain losing their families, friends and houses.

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I told them that in Japan and in every part of the world people were praying for Italy and supporting us, and said, “In 2011, when a terrible earthquake and tsunami hit one third of Japan, we received many messages of love and prayer supports from all over the word. Just like that time, now all the members of our associations and also many other people in different countries are constantly praying for Italy. Thoughts are energy and prayers reach to the hearts of people. We, Japanese people, know very well how much healing and encouragement a spiritual support and a thought of love can give to the people when they feel like to have lost everything.”

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The world top leader of Ananda Community, Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi talked first, Jyotish said “Every religion teaches the same thing, for example, in all sacred words of great masters of each religion says, “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others” or “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. We follow the same teaching.”, and talked about the importance of respecting diversity and yet recognizing that we are all same in our original nature. Then, the talk was followed by our guests, a Camaldoli father(Christian), an Imam from Perugia, a Tibetan monk, a representative of Baha’i, and a director of My Life Design Foundation and of International School of Forgiveness.

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Tibetan monk said, talking about the disaster of earthquake, “In an emergency, unconditional love manifests and a pure desire of serving to and helping people becomes awakened in the heart of humanity. Rescue workers never care nor ask at all if the person in need to be saved is a man or a woman, of what age, or of which religion. There exists only a human being in need for a help. Our brothers and sisters are there asking for help. Rescue workers do not mind even to risk their own lives to save someone, in this beautiful action only shines a respect of life. Facing such a disaster, a beautiful heart of love and of compassion manifests in ourselves and we feel a sincere desire of helping others and a desire of offering love”. Also Imam, who is a surgeon, said, “All religions teach us to love others. None of the religions teaches us to take somebody’s life. When I operate a patient, I do not question if the patient is an Italian or a German, etc. The word Salam(Peace) contains Allah(God) within, Allah is Peace itself”.

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We concluded the first part with a short mediation guided by a leader of Ananda community, then we all went out of their beautiful temple and prepared for the World Peace Flag Ceremony. Everyone united immediately their voices and hearts as soon as we started, this was also the inauguration of my new large flag set, and I was very happy to use them for the first time for such a great event.

Spiritual leaders thanked me for being invited to be part of a wonderful ceremony, their faces were open and shining. My five partners of the ANANDA peace committee were all full of joy and said, “We held other Interfaith conferences in the past, but this is completely different. we never saw before today the representatives of different religions becoming so open to communicate with each other.” One of them said, “Next time we would love to organize the event over two days and create more prayer meetings, workshops, more collaborations with local spiritual groups, music and dance etc. It was an incredibly touching day, all the wonderful moments are still alive in me and I am sure they will continue to live forever in my heart. Many people were strongly moved and wholeheartedly felt deep resonance. There is no doubt that our peace ceremony elevated our consciousness, and not only the level of our consciousness was heightened but also we were expanded to the world at a horizontal level as well.”

Another peace committee member and one of the leaders of the community said, “While raising flags, my heart was filled with a deep emotion, we, all participants, shared the light of Love and Joy. All of you, World Peace Prayer Society members are truly beautiful ambassadors of Peace, who have been working for the creation of Peace in the Universe. Let’s build more and more wonderful days like this in the future. May all the hearts of humanity be filled with Peace and Harmony”.

Many people thanked me with tears in their eyes, many others hugged me with shining faces, saying that this World Peace Flag Ceremony was the best. I am so happy that we could offer our peace prayers with people who share the same spiritual understanding. It was a great joy to create a Light Field of Oneness together with people who have already elevated consciousness and who know the power of prayer.

Infinite Joy!!! Sonoko Tanaka, WPPS Representative in Italy