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- USA 21 April: Ashland, VA - South Hill, VA
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- USA 12 April: New York - Global Launch
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- Route 2012
- Schools and Kids
- World-Harmony-Run Song
- Torch-Bearer Award
USA 12 April: New York - Global Launch
Global Launch and International 25th Anniversary Celebration across from the United Nations at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in New York.
Get up to the minute photos from the road at worldharmonyrun.tumblr.com.
It is now a familiar sight, but no less of a thrill. Runners from many nations, heading along 47th Street, all of them holding a burning Harmony Torch.
Once again, as part of an event that is held is every second year, the runners gathered at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza for a Global Launch and the Opening Ceremony of the U.S. World Harmony Run. It was a ceremony both energetic and meditative, as befits the multifaceted world of Peace and Harmony during the runs 25th Anniversary year.
Salil Wilson, the global coordinator of the World Harmony Run, stepped up to the podium to welcome runners, guests and members of the public. Salil joined the Peace Run (as it was then called) in its very first year: 1987. As a young runner, he was part of the team that ran through his native Australia. Now, he announced that this year marks the 25th anniversary. Of course, it has been an exciting quarter-century.
Note: Originally the Global Launch in April and the International Ceremonial closing in August also marked the first and last days of the run around the world. Representative runners from many countries attend these 2 big events. However, as participation has grown, in some countries local events now begin as early as January first and others continue up till December 31.
The event was introduced by Dr Davidson Hepburn, former President of the General Conference of United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 2009 – 2011. Ambassador Hepburn, who hails from the Bahamas, and served for many years as as his country's Permanent Representative to the UN is a recipient of:
- the Order of the British Empire (OBE) from the United Kingdom;
- title of "Chevalier De La Legion D'Honneur" from the French Government;
- the Paul Harris Award of Rotary International; and of
- The Torch-Bearer Award for his work towards international friendship and understanding.
Dr. Davidson Hepburn: "UNESCO has a motto:
'Since wars begin in the minds of men,
it is in the minds of men that
the defenses of peace must be constructed'
And that is what this group is all about... coming from all of these countries ... to show their desire to all live together in peace as one. Twenty-five years ago, Sri Chinmoy, who was a very dear friend - breathed life and action into the simple idea that we are a oneness-world-family. The global run, known then as the "Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run," powerfully demonstrates this blossoming truth.
I think Sri Chinmoy was searching for a way to bring the essential spirit of the United Nations, an organization he dearly loved, to people all over the world.By carrying the torch from one city to the next, one country to the next, with joyful reception all along the route, the run highlights the fact that there is far more that unites us than divides us.
And one part of my philosophy is that we should make our differences work for us and not against us. I was very happy to have the opportunity to organize a conference in the Bahamas on Small Island Developing States (SIDS). And by combining all these countries together we were able to come up with a resolution that is going to make the SIDS very strong.
By visiting schools, you are enabling children and young adults to experience a real feeling of peace as well as to take an active role in celebrating world unity. ...by linking different religions, you are highlighting our unity in diversity.
By encouraging musical and poetic expression, you are showing creative ways to experience and share harmony. ...I was deeply moved by the choir that sang here, ... They touched my heart. (Applause).
...I must say something briefly about Sri Chinmoy. And to do that I stole a verse from Longfellow's poem : A Psalm of Life
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sand of time;"
The New York City Housing Authority Youth Choir, one of our favorite regular musical guests, got the crowd into the mood with a happy musical number - led with panache by their director, Larry Matthew.
The day's first Torch-Bearer Award - to honor those who inspire others through their own lives and deeds - was presented by a previous recipient and close friend of the WHR, Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Former Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the United Nations.
"Sri Chinmoy's work and dedication and determination to promote peace throughout the world were manifested in various ways: through his poems, through his music, through his paintings, through his expression of physical strength. And this World Harmony Run is his contribution to the world as a means to bring people together. This is a wonderful event that takes place all over the world. We saw how many countries are represented in today's ceremony. This is a beautiful thing."
"This year's World Harmony Run Torch-Bearer Award . . . has been dedicated to the people of Japan in general, because . . . their commitment to peace, their commitment to promote world understanding, is impeccable. But today we also recognize the strength, the fortitude, the forbearance, the patience, the faith, the determination and the resilience of the people of Japan after the tsunami and the earthquake that struck that country last year. They face disaster and destruction with a spontaneous support to each other. It is really an example for all of us."
Ambassador Chowdhury garlands Mr. Takahiro Nakamae, Minister of General Affairs of the Japan Mission, with the World Harmony Run Torch-Bearer Award, and they both hold the torch.
The Award was accepted by Mr. Nakamae, on behalf of the the People of Japan.
Mr. Nakamae:"I am deeply honored to receive on behalf of the people of Japan the Torch-Bearer Award, a symbol of this remarkable torch race around the world. This medal will serve as a memento for the Japanese people of the solidarity the international community expressed to them during the difficulties caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake.
... In Japanese, we use the word "kizuna," which could be translated as "bonds," as a concept which has very much to do with Sri Chinmoy's idea of "oneness." We believe in that idea of kizuna. Each day our belief is becoming more and more strong.
...Your support for the values and spirit which the United Nations strives to achieve, as well as for the people of Japan, who believe in "kizuna" and "oneness," is highly cherished by the international community, and I encourage you all to continue running for world harmony.
Harashita Sunaoshi, co-ordinator of the World Harmony Run in Japan, also presented Mr Nakamae with Jharna-Kala artwork by World Harmony Run founder Sri Chinmoy, dedicated to Japan.
The second Torch-Bearer Award of the day was presented to Paula Savage (right foreground), President of the International Peace Garden Foundation. Established in 1992, it is a non-profit organization to advance global friendship and international understanding, through the creation of peace gardens and cultural programs around the world.
The Award was presented to Ms. Savage by Mangala Keenan, co-ordinator of the World Harmony Run in Ireland:
"For over twenty years, Paula Savage and her team of volunteers have facilitated the creation of twenty-two gardens in, at this stage, every corner of the globe. An inspirational plaque is erected in each garden with the message, "Let the seeds of peace begin here and spread throughout the world." ... In addition, Paula organises programmes that help many students all around in the world in the countries where the gardens are created, with scholarships and educational programmes. ...The Torch-Bearer Award is presented to individuals who inspire communities through their own lives and deeds, and Paula is a shining example of that, so I would like to invite Paula here."
"I am truly honoured and humbled to be standing here before you today as the recipient of the coveted Torch-Bearer Award.... Over twenty years ago, when the first International Peace Garden was presented by Canada to the United States, we never imagined that this journey would take us across five continents and introduce us to so many wonderful people. It has been a journey of inspiration and opportunities - opportunities to deliver a global message of world peace and friendship, much like that of the World Harmony Run. ... We strive to foster global friendship and to make our world a kinder gentler place...
'Margaret Mead once said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.'
...You have opened our eyes to a new friendship and close collaboration. Together, we can change the world."
We were honoured to have guests from a number of UN Missions, all of whom accepted the Torch.
One of our noted guests was Dr Phil Shinnick, founder of Athletes United for Peace, and a UNESCO Good Will Ambassador. As a long-jump champion in 1963, Dr Shinnick jumped 8.33, which bettered the then world record of 8.31.
Many nations were represented at the programme. excerpts of some brief remarks as they announced their country are below:
Malta - H.E. Mr. Christopher Grima, Permanent Representative: "Malta is privileged to have long-standing ties with the World Harmony Run, almost dating back to the very beginning, and proudly embraces the values and ideals which this movement represents. Occasions such as this are not only symbolic; they represent important calls for peace. They also serve to inspire each of us in our efforts towards building a better, more peaceful and more harmonious world for our children."
Antigua and Barbuda - Brenda Eshram: "I would like to thank the World Harmony Run for extending an invitation to us."
Saint Lucia - Victoria Bousquet, Consular Officer: "I hope that we can welcome you back to St. Lucia sometime in the future."
Montenegro - H.E. Mr. Milorad Scepanovic, Permanent Representative: "I congratulate the organisers and participants in this valuable, extraordinary movement... I bring our message of peace, of love, of solidarity and harmony to you, all of you, from Montenegro."
Ethiopia - Mr. Aman Bame, Deputy Permanent Representative: "I am from a country of great runners, legendary runners - Ethiopia ... we continue running for harmony and peace. ... Together we can change the world."
Mongolia - Gerelmaa Davaasuren, Second Secretary: "...I would like to congratulate all runners around the world ...And I am also very happy that runners are going to run 1,800 miles in Mongolia and deliver the message of peace to the local communities."
Italy - Giuseppe Maria Perricone, First Secretary. "I would like to thank and congratulate the organisers of this event. And as a runner myself I would like to wish the runners a very pleasant and exciting run."
Hungary - Mr. Attila Zimonyi, Deputy Permanent Representative.: "I would like to convey our gratitude to you for what you have been doing for the sake of peace and better understanding among peoples."
Kazakhstan: "I know that the road (of the Asia-Pacific meets European Run) is ending in the capital of Kazakhstan, in Astana (25 July). And so, I say welcome to everyone to our new capital."
Croatia: "I am a runner myself, and I wish the runners all luck in the run. Croatia is very happy and honoured to be present this year and the last couple of occasions."
Bahamas - Sasha Dixon, Attache: "it is a special pleasure ... to join all of you in the commemoration of twenty-five years of running for peace...the Bahamas was very pleased to welcome the Run to its beautiful shores in 2010, and very much looks forward to welcoming the Run again."
Indonesia - Mr. Abraham Levelauw, Consul: "We believe that with running - I congratulate the runners - we can live together and stay in peace for the world so we will achieve a better future, not for ourselves, but for the next generation."
Nepal - Ms. Sangy Singh, Secretary: "The World Harmony Run has happened in Nepal in the past, and we would like to host this again. It is going to be a great pleasure."
In a salute to 25 years of the Run, Shambhu Vineberg, the original Executive Director of the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run, reminisced about the early days, when Sri Chinmoy asked him to co-ordinate a Torch relay around many nations of the world. Since 1987, the event has taken place in over 140 countries.
See also: History of development and expansion of Sri Chinmoy Oneness Home Peace and World Harmony Runs. From the Preface "I ... had some of the greatest moments of my life leading this event...It began in May 1986 when Sri Chinmoy asked, while we were walking through the hallowed halls of the United Nations, if I could organize a global Peace Run. The United Nations had proclaimed 1986 the International Year of Peace, and Sri Chinmoy wanted to offer a heartfelt and sincere expression of peace on a global scale."
"...whether you are the guy asked to put it together, like myself, or whether you are a person who is running or observing, we are all the same, because in the end, it is not the role that we play; it is the fact that we play the role. Not the role that we play, but the fact that we take the action and that we put our life and we put our heart and soul into that action. ... this ceremony will end in a few minutes, but it is really another beginning of another beautiful event, and it will involve millions of people in over a hundred countries..."
NYC Councilman James Gennaro, a long-time supporter of the World Harmony Run, offered a closing message.
"I am honoured to represent the City of New York in this beautiful, beautiful event. Sri Chinmoy was not only a great world ambassador of peace and harmony, but by far the leading peace advocate in our great city, which I am so happy he made his home 48 years ago tomorrow. I believe he saw New York City as a very, very special place, not only because of the presence of the UN, which he so dearly loved and served, but because it is the most diverse city in the world - with so many different people, so many different languages, so many different systems of belief. It is indeed the world capital of differences and divisions, it really is. But these differences, if they are able to be harmonised, if they are used to inspire and unite instead of divide, are this city's greatest strength.
"I believe Sri Chinmoy saw this in New York City and really embraced our city, and we delighted in his loving embrace, in his peaceful embrace, and we were very much enriched by his really sublime presence. And we were proud that his presence here in New York City made our city, by extension, the world harmony capital of the world, which it certainly did. [Applause].... New York City is really divinely proud that lovers of his great vision embark today on this really terrific and really wonderful world mission of harmony. This honours and fulfils Sri Chinmoy and honours our good city."
The New York City Housing Authority Youth Chorus unde the drection of Larry Matthew offered another upbeat musical number.
This time, they had the bonus of Belinda Munro on lead vocals.
See also full text of remarks for:
• First organizer of Peace Run, Shambhu Vineberg, Salutes the 25th Anniversary
• NYC Councilman James Gennaro, a long-time supporter of the World Harmony Run, offered a closing message.
• Special mention of Larry Matthew, chorus director and Carmen, choir coordinator for New York City Housing Authority Youth Chorus!
• Appreciation for Friends of Dag Hammarksjöld Plaza and Sherrill Kazan
• A story of two songs: Peace Run and World Harmony to represent this torch relay. Arrangement of two songs, directed by Prachar Stegemann
The runners were preparing to leave, but there was one last number to perform...
The World Harmony Run song, performed by the World Harmony Run Choir - but with a difference. Saluting 25 years of the Run, this was a special, multi-part arrangement of two Sri Chinmoy compositions: the World Harmony Run song, and a fondly remembered classic from the past: the Peace Run anthem.
Just as the Peace Run was transformed into the World Harmony Run, the two songs were masterfully blended into one vocal extravaganza by Australian musician Prachar Stegemann, who conducted the Choir.
Like the runners, the singers represented many nations, and were dressed in the familiar blue tracksuits and World Harmony Run logos. Many of these singers were also members of the running team, putting into action the singing practice that they had received by singing these songs at schools and public ceremonies from New Zealand to the New Hebrides.
In past years, a runner has taken the Torch, running from the Plaza to begin the World Harmony Run across the USA. This time, it seemed only fitting that multiple runners, each representing a different part of the world, began the American leg of the world's longest running relay. It is a team effort, and the team will continue through 50 states.
Wherever they go, the Torch will light their way...
Special thanks to photographers - Apaguha and Jowan.
Video Message from Davidson Hepburn, President (2009 - 2011) of the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for 25th Anniversary of the World Harmony Run and a vision for the decade: "Toward a Oneness-World".
Full Text of the 25th anniversary message and link to 25 language informal Translations: http://www.worldharmonyrun.org/25or Click on language button for separate youtube videos wth sub titles in varous languages
- Youtube video on African experience which illustrates IYY slogan "Our Year Our Voice" International Year of Youth - Zambia World Harmony. They surprisingly mention Presidents and UN Secretary-General in a unique way!
On 27th April 2012. in many cities around the world, special events marked the WHR 25th Anniversary
Below is the Music Score for the 1991 Peace Run Song:
Peace Run, Peace Run, Peace Run, Peace Run!
Oneness-world-heart-joy has begun.
Peace Run, Peace Run, Peace Run, Peace Run!
Sisters and brother, our peace-torch-flame.
Shall feed the globe-harmony-game.
Peace Run, Peace Run, Peace Run, Peace Run!
Gallery: See more images!
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