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U.N. International Day of Peace

Wednesday, 21st September 2011 was a memorable day for the 500 people who came in the morning, afternoon or who stayed the whole day at the beautiful building, the Convention Centre Dublin to celebrate the U.N. International Day of Peace. Ireland joined the more than 100 million around the globe who were marking that day as a DAY OF PEACE. The Director of the Day, RTE’s Dave Donaghy, the Presenter of the Day, RTE’s Geri Maye, the Producer of the Day, Finbarr Tracey of Kairos, produced a programme which was flawless in everyway. Mary Sheehan, Edel Lambe, Liz Prunty and Michael Duggan formed a perfect team responding to every need as the delegates started arriving, in record-breaking time, earlier than the published opening hours. And when the Filipinos arrived in their colourful native costumes to offer the services of ushers and usherettes, we knew we were ready for a great event!

Rosemarie L. Lucero was the master mind of it all. It was she who decided on the diversity of the speakers on Peace, the flow of the forums from the spiritual to the economic, to the passionate young and to the FINALE that showcased “Talents for Peace”, culminating with the memento-signing of a ten-meter Peace Cloth. It was amazing how the young took the message: “Goodness, Beauty and Truth: the Ground of Peace” shared by all religions, cultures and traditions. Delivered by the opening Keynote Speaker, Rev. Fr. Dr. Antonio Pernia, SVD., this scholarly work is a treatise on peace and it will, in my estimation, become a classic in due time. It was also very impressive to see how the students got so excited about the talk of Camilla Schippa, the Director of the Institute for Economics and Peace in Sydney, Australia, entitled: “Peace is everybody’s business” illustrating with the best technological tools in the Convention Centre, how to measure the impact of Peace in economic terms. The students who held their own spontaneous roundtable discussions during the coffee breaks were an inspiration to behold.

As a foreigner living in Ireland now for more than ten years, I found it touching to hear from Irish people that they are delighted to know about their very own Saint Columbanus for the first time, the greatest of Irish missionaries. UCC’s Dr. Damian Bracken delivered a passionate talk on: “St. Columbanus: Irish Peacemaker in the 6th-7th Century”. Responded to by Seán Gallagher in his “A 21st Century Response to a 7th Century Irish Peacemaker” -- Saint Columbanus and thoughts of him stole the hearts of young and old Irish. Seán was not campaigning for Presidential election during his talk, but we have heard of some voters making a favourable shift on account of Seán Gallagher’s non-campaigning reflective talk.

Justin Kilcullen’s “The Global Role of the Irish in Peacemaking” made the Irish proud and the young inspired to volunteer in peacemaking abroad. This was aptly preceded by Michael D. Higgins’ talk which he entitled: “The Building of a Mind of Peace” -- these two talks were vintage Irish! We missed Mairead Maguire due to sudden illness unfortunately, but the presentations of Cameron Stewart, Darragh McCashin and Seán M. Kelly were a collage of surprises.

In the closing ceremonies with Brandon Bays’ “Forgiveness, the Ground of Peace” followed by the powerful speech of a man known to be an “embodiment of forgiveness” himself, Hon. Dr. Richard Moore who spoke on “World Peace Begins in the Human Heart” we had a perfect culmination of thoughts and reflections on World Peace Day.

The Irish artists: Deirdre Ní Chinnéide; Jerry Lynch; Judith Sibley and her professional ballet dancers from Europe; Mike Donaghy; Don Baker and Finbar Furey gave us all a real treat which only the Irish can. We were thoroughly honoured! As someone said: “ It was feast for the senses, a banquet for the soul!”

And speaking of souls, we were so highly honoured that Brahma Kumaris generously flew-in their global-trotting, planetary-speaking, Sr. Denise Lawrence, to lead us into a Peace Meditation in the morning and to give us blessing at the end of the day. Brahma Kumaris gather thousands and thousands of souls in their 8,500 centres around the world to meditate on World Peace for one solid hour every third Sunday of the month. And they have been doing this quietly for so many years.

To one and all, a HEARTFELT THANK YOU from all at Instruments of Peace.

Please email Rosemarie at exdir@instrumentsofpeace.ie if you wish to reserve places for:

on 16th December 2011 at the Convention Centre Dublin.

Or visit our website: www.peacebeginswithme.eu to find out if the videos of all the talks are already available.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Fr. Henry Barlage, SVD., Executive Secretary

World Peace Day Events in Ireland – an initiative of Instruments of Peace