May 28th, 2009
Naomi Tutu, daughter of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, came to UNICEF on May 28th at the invitation of the United Religions Initiative at the UN to speak about “Reconciliation: Healing the Wounds. The meeting, held in the lovely Danny Kaye Visitors Center, opened with a warm welcome from Stephen Hanmer, Partnerships Manager for Civil Society Partnerships Outreach at UNICEF. Deborah Moldow, WPPS, UN Representative and facilitator of URI-UN, led a meditation on opening to the heart of Africa, followed by a moment of silence and a shared prayer: “May Peace Prevail in Africa. May Peace Prevail On Earth.”
Monica Willard, WPPS Peace Representative and UN Representative for the United Religions Initiative, gave a brief introduction to the mission of the URI, and also the URI-UN’s focus on the 2009 International Year of Reconciliation. She then introduced a clip from a moving video about reconciliation in Rwanda entitled, “As We Forgive,” which featured Rwandan President Kigali explaining the release of thousands of prisoners who had confessed to taking part in the 1994 genocide. For more information, please see www.asweforgivemovie.com.
Deborah closed the event by asking everyone to take one of the flags of Africa that decorated the room. There were just about the same number of people as African countries (55), and all spread out into a big circle. Focusing on sending peace to each nation, the participants announced the name of the country whose flag they were holding, one by one across the continent. Then all repeated the words of the opening prayer, “May Peace Prevail in Africa. May Peace Prevail On Earth!”