UN Peace Day Ceremony & Gandhi Peace Concert
On September 20th, Peace International Foundation (PIF) invited a large gathering of peace supporters to celebrate the International Day of Peace at Cyberport Arcade through a whole-day programme. It was an event packed with music and performances that featured the message of peace.
The event received support from people of different ages and backgrounds. The Peace Day event opened with Yoga for Peace and followed by Paint for Peace by young children in the morning.
The Peace Day Ceremony started at 1.00 pm with the Hong Kong St. Andrew’s Pipe Band escorting the guest speakers onto the stage, followed by unveiling of the Peace Pole, Observance of One Minute Silence, Ringing the Peace Bell, and an International Fag Parade by the children after Mrs. Singh raised the UN Flag.
Mr. Abhimanyu Singh, Director of UNESCO and Representative in Beijing gave a keynote speech. He described the work of UNESCO in advancing the goal of peace, and informed that the UN General Assembly endorsed UNESCO’s call for 2010 to be the International Year of Rapprochement of Cultures. This will involve activities on inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation for peace throughout next year 2010.
Video message from Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon was shown. Indian Consul General in Hong Kong, Mr. L.D. Ralte gave an introduction of Gandhi’s work towards peace.
Other guest speakers included Sir David Akers-Jones, Hon. President of PIF, Senator Ken Wong , National President of JCIHK, and Mr. Michael Wong, PIF Peace Ambassador. To end the Ceremony, Tharangini in Hong Kong performed the song “Peace Within’ especially created for this occasion by Jairam Parameswaran, the Founder.
The Gandhi Peace Concert then proceeded with a series of performances featuring the theme of peace. Michael Wong and his Big Band kicked off the concert daunting pop songs. Wonderful piano recital by Phoebus Chan, followed by Chinese tradition of lion dance performed by students of the Li Po Chun United World College. Tharangini gave a stunning performance by singing Gandhi’s favorite song Vaishnavo Janato.. Gandhi was brought live by a manned statue during the song sequence. Tharangini also took the audience by surprise when they sang the famous Chinese song ‘Under the Lion Rock’ joined by Phoebus Chan on the piano and PIF’s Youth Committee team members. Children of Bala Tharangini presented a song for peace, dressed up in various religious costumes.
In addition, the Choir and Chinese percussion performances by the Sacred Heart Canossian College students, Samulnori Korean Drum by Kim Su Yang, “The Prayer’ sung by Watson Chao & Roxanne Lo, and the classic performance by Matrix 4-tet, composed of Sheryl Lee (piano) and her friends from the HK Philharmonic Orchestra, Gallant Ho (violin), Anna Kwan (cello) and William Lane (viola).
The event came to a climax as volunteers from the Youth Committee and audiences joined the Indian choir Tharangini and Michael lead the parade around the venue to express the joy of celebrating the Peace Day.
Towards the end of the celebration, the Youth Committee again joined, Michael, Roxanne, Watsons and the Sacred Heart students in the song ’We Are the World’ on stage, – a tribute to Michael Jackson., and urging people to start giving and be mindful of those who are suffering.
The entire concert was dedicated to World peace. In the speech of the Foundation Founder, Maria Ying-Matthews, she stressed that it is her own mission and the mission of the Foundation to motivate individuals in Hong Kong and beyond to be proactive in spreading the message of peace, to make a difference to those in urgent need. She strongly believes that such a mission has to be accomplished through educating the youth who are our future generation, to become global citizens.