A Call To Peace ~ Peace gathering at The World Peace Sanctuary, Wassaic, NY-USA

September 25th, 2011

Flag Ceremonies, Taiko drumming, Celtic music and song, Hawaiian Dance and more, to celebrate the International Day of Peace (IDP).

A Call To Peace is an annual peace gathering held at The World Peace Sanctuary, headquarters of The World Peace Prayer Society and home of The Peace Pole Project.

September 21st marked the United Nations’ 30th Anniversary of the International Day of Peace, designated by resolution in 1982 for the purpose of highlighting efforts to end conflict, cease fire and promote peace.

The Boys and Girls Scouts of America (community troops from the Hudson Valley) arrived in uniform and participated as flag bearers in both the World Peace Flag Ceremony (WPFC) and The United States of America Flag Ceremony, along with the Peace Pals youth group from Connecticut and children and families from the community.

Each year, the Peace gathering is held under the canopy of a century-old Walnut Grove.

The Program begins by asking the attendees to join in a prayer ceremony for the indigenous peoples of The United States of America. This year the Native American Prayer Ceremony was presented by Grandmother Silver Star and Grandmother Echata Wilisa Dinane. Music accompaniment was provided by Roland Moussa and Mark Pukmel.

A beautifully orchestrated World Peace Flag Ceremony (WPFC) was presented by Fumi Johns Stewart, Executive Director of The World Peace Prayer Society.
The September 11th Memorial Peace Pole was placed in the center of the Ceremonial field as the focal point for the WPFC. The Ceremony was presented respectfully by region. In totality, flag bearers carried national flags representing 196 countries of the world, as they proudly proclaimed “May Peace Prevail On Earth” for the people and land in each country.

Closing with prayers for all the indigenous people throughout the world!
This year’s Finale was The United States of America Flag Ceremony, prayers for each of the 50 states in USA and its territories, presented by Ann Marie Robustelli, Executive Assistant of WPPS. The Girl Scouts from the Hudson Valley presented the USA national flag to seal the prayers for The United States of America!

This year marked the 14th Annual Peace Pals International Art and Award Ceremony. Bahrain, Botswana, Ethiopia and Uganda were added to the list of nations that were represented this year. The artwork was juried by a panel of international judges for the final selection. Jules Lamore, Peace Pals Coordinator announced the winners in each of the 4 categories. All artwork submissions were beautifully displayed on panels for all to enjoy. To view the winning entries, please visit: www.peacepals.org.

The Peace Pole Art Youth Project: Jim Dugan, WPPS Sanctuary Manager and a coordinator of The Peace Pole Project, created a Peace Pole kit that included a blank (8) foot Peace Pole, paint and 36 language translations of the message “May Peace Prevail On Earth” for the youngsters to choose from. Jim actively engaged in outreach to schools in the surrounding area. Schools and Youth groups from fourteen locations took part in the Project.

A very special Peace Pole representing South Sudan was crafted and presented by Jim Dugan, WPPS. Jim led the audience into a special ceremony honoring South Sudan newly found independence. Since July 2011 South Sudan has been an official and independent member state of the United Nations.
The Peace Pole representing South Sudan now joins the 193 Peace Poles on the Peace Path at The World Peace Sanctuary.

Japan Tsunami Recovery Fund- Poem written by Kenji Miyazawa was read aloud by Japanese WPPS member Keizo Aoi in native Japanese language and read again in English. Donations collected were sent to support friends (in Iwate Prefecture, Japan) who are actively engaged in the Tsunami Recovery Efforts for children.

Uplifting peace songs and music provided by very talented musicians, singers/songwriters: Jenna Greene, Aliza Hava, Roland Moussa, Aly-sun Panichi, Karcher Reynolds, and 7 year old Kammy Zheng.

Hawaiian dance by the graceful Mana Yuimi Koike.

Taiko drumming by the very energetic and talented Keizo Aoi.

Activities included:
Art of Aikido demonstration, Arts & Crafts, Face Painting and Petting Zoo

Representatives from non-profit organizations came to share their social services and community volunteerism.

Infinite appreciation and joy!

May Peace Prevail On Earth!
Ann Marie Robustelli
The World Peace Sanctuary, headquarters of The World Peace Prayer Society
Wassaic, New York-USA