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- New York
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USA 12 April: New York International Launch
Today we formally launched our World Harmony Run at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, a block away from the United Nations in New York City. This was the beginning of the 13th global torch relay since it was founded by Sri Chinmoy in 1987.
World Harmony Run coordinators from all over the world carried their torches into the ceremony.
Manhattan's mid-town skyscrapers provided the backdrop for our event.
Harashita Sunaoshi, representing Japan, lit the cauldron.
Executive Director of the World Harmony Run, Salil Wilson, welcomed the guests and invited members of the United Nations and Diplomatic Community to participate in the traditional World Harmony Run "Parade of Nations." (Guests in order of appearance - quotes are below names and titles)
H.E. Dr. A K Abdul Momen, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations.
H.E. Mr. Petr Kaiser, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations
Mr. Jean Pierre Kempeneers, Counselor, Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations.
"Initiatives like the World Harmony Run remind us all of the importance of harmonious efforts to make the world better."
H.E. Mr. Bandula Jayasekara, Deputy Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations.
Ms. Evy Eeman, Attache, Permanent Mission of Belgium to the United Nations.
Mr. Rodrigo Andrade Cardoso, 1st Secretary, Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations.
H.E. Ms. Nima Ome, Deputy Permanent Representative of Bhutan to the United Nations.
"It is an honour to be in this very important event symbolising the aspirations of the people of the world for a harmonious world. I wish the event all success."
Jean H. Charles representing Association for the Integrated Development of Haiti (AIDNOH) and currently running for President.
"I want to thank the world for all the help that you give to Haiti."
Ms. Kavina Escamilla, Community Affairs, Permanent Mission of Mexico to the United Nations.
H.E. Dr. Henry Macdonald, Permanent Representative of Suriname to the United Nations.
Mr. Herman Mendoza of the Stepping Stones Ministries from the Dominican Republic.
Mr. Carl Smith, Consul General for The Bahamas to New York.
"The Bahamas was very privileged to host the Harmony Run earlier this year, and we look forward to welcoming all of you to The Bahamas again. We are a country committed to the attainment of peace and harmony around the world."
H.E. Muyambo Sipangule Deputy Permanent Representative of Zambia to the United Nations.
"I would like to pledge our country to this wonderful occasion. The Harmony Run is indeed a complement to the United Nations. Zambia itself uses sports as a uniting factor in our own national affairs. So I am most delighted to be with you for the schools, the young people and the rest of the other athletes who participate in this important launch of the Harmony Run 2010."
H.E. Mr. Gankhuyag Sodnom Deputy Permanent Representative of Mongolia to the United Nations.
"Joining with others, Mongolia is one of the host countries of the World Harmony Run. Welcome to my beautiful country!"
Mr. Andras Roth, 3rd Secretary, Permanent Mission of Hungary to the United Nations.
"I would like to wish great success for this year's World Harmony Run."
Dr. Amalle Daou, wife of H.E. Mr. Oumar Daou, Permanent Representative of Mali to the United Nations.
"I am coming from Mali, representing Mali in particular and all Africa in general. Africa is the cradle of all civilisation in this world. It is for peace and sport."
Hon. Andrey Yushmanov, Consul General of Russia to New York.
"I wish great success to this event for peace and harmony in all the world."
Ms. Adriana Aristazabel, Consul, Consulate of Colombia to New York.
"We want to invite all of you to our beautiful country. We are people of peace."
Mr. Motumisi Tawana, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of South Africa to the United Nations.
"I wish you a successful event. Keep it up!"
Mr. Josip Babic Attache, Permanent Mission of Croatia to the United Nations.
Dr. Azza Karam (Egypt) representing the United Nations Population Fund.
All our guests from the United Nations and International Community.
The audience looks on as the runners announce their country.
The first children to participate in this year's Run in the US were from the Family School.
Devashishu Torpy made sure everyone felt welcome in his role as emcee for the day.
Ambassador Anwarul Karim Chowdhury holds the torch aloft after being presented with the World Harmony Run Torch-Bearer Award for his pivotal efforts in facilitating the UN resolutions declaring the year 2000 as the ‘International Year for the Culture of Peace’ as well as the ‘Special Decade for the Culture of Peace.’ Ambassador Chowdhury is an inspirer, encourager and facilitator who brings to fruition the highest ideals of the United Nations, within the United Nations itself, and around the globe.
"I am very delighted to be here because I was associated from the very beginning with the World Harmony Run. I am also particularly touched by Adhiratha's reference to my brother-friend Sri Chinmoy, whose image you see here, who instituted and inspired the World Harmony Run. He has been and continues to be a great soul with a true vision for peace."
"I remember many, many years of my collaboration with him. I remember his message, which he used to define as a oneness-world of peace. This message has a vision for each one of us, each individual, as well as for humanity at large. His inspiration and his humanitarian objectives have touched countless people in this world. I remember more so because when I was representing the world's most vulnerable countries of the United Nations, Sri Chinmoy and his colleagues had undertaken a series of missions to help these poorest countries, the least-developed, the landlocked and the small island states. His inspiration moved all of us in such a way, I feel personally that I am a better person today."
Ambassador Chowdhury is also Former Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the UN.
Mr. Jim Sherlock expresses his gratitude after being presented with the World Harmony Run Torch-Bearer award. Mr. Sherlock's inspired efforts in economic development particulary in Mali and in Haiti have drawn broad based appreciation. His magnanimous spirit pervades all his work and we are honored to have the opportunity to recognise his significant contributions on the international stage.
"When the runners came running down this street here, you could feel the spirit jump in your hearts, as it did in mine. That's the spirit we all share together."
"You see, we all have one God, and as far as I'm concerned, God to me means love. And if we can show our love, there will be peace in this world."
World Harmony Runners getting ready for their long journey.
Ms. Rochelle Roca-Hachem, Programme Specialist for Culture, UNESCO greeted the gathering and shared the ideals of the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures as designated by the United Nations and UNESCO for 2010.
"I really want to express my pleasure and pride and support for this initiative, and for what the World Harmony Run stands for, because really what it does is walk the talk. In fact, it runs the talk. It is doing something effective and positive in that it brings individuals together and it brings people together. And that resonates very much with the work of UNESCO."
"Indeed, 2010 is the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures. It is also, as Ambassador Chowdhury mentioned, the last year for the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World. Also, on August 12 of this year we will have the launch of the International Year of Youth. So these UN initiatives, these three that I have just mentioned, all share the ideal of what the World Harmony Run is promoting."
"These Runs, and in fact the symbolism of the act of passing a torch, are really a way of celebrating our diversity, celebrating our cultures, celebrating mutual understanding and mutual respect, and celebrating the culture of peace. It is a way of connecting. When you are passing this torch, you are passing a smile, you are passing a hand, you are passing a message, you are passing on your language, your identity, your people, your nation. Anyone who is doing the run and passing the torch is acting as an ambassador of peace."
"I want to congratulate again the World Harmony Run for all these great initiatives. It is really an inspiration to all of us. It is really embodying the messages of the United Nations and the Member States."
As part of the celebration, Sing for Hope Donor Artist Mezzo-Soprano Blythe Gaissert performed.
New York City Councilman Jim Gennaro shared his encouragement for the runners.
"We have to recognise in a very special way, my great inspiration, and the inspiration for many of us here, Sri Chinmoy, for all that he has meant to all of us, all that he has been to the world."
"Sometimes the most profound things, some things that work the most, are the most simple - just reaching out to your fellow human being, putting your hand out and making something very, very special happen, like what is happening here today."
Blythe joined the ever inspiring New York City Housing Authority Youth Chorus in a song entitled "One Voice, One Heart" composed by Julie Gold. The choir, as always, was led by the wonderful Larry Matthew to send the runners on their way. See a short video showing a song performed on 12 April 2010 as part of the World Harmony Run opening ceremony. http://vimeo.com/10957410
Former Executive Director, Shambhu Vineberg, offered a final wrap up before a rousing rendition of the World Harmony Run song.
Kyle Resnick, Sing for Hope Donor Artist, accompanies the choir.
The World Harmony Choir and Orchestra performed our theme song composed by founder Sri Chinmoy. They made sure we left on a high note.
Representatives from six continents light their torches...
... and begin their 45,000 mile journey through more than 100 nations.
Gallery: See more images!
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