Peace Award to Sister Jean

Background to the Peace Award presented to Sister Jean

by the United Nations Association of Guyana on September 21, 2013

Our relationship with the United Nations Association of Guyana (UNAG) began in 1998. That year marked the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. October 24 was United Nations Day. In support of these, an innovative project called “the Peace Link” was created. The essence of it was to have a powerful, nation-wide minute of silence, spent in the unified thought of good wishes for the well being of each other. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) bought into the idea immediately, as it promised to promote peace and respect for human rights. They offered to fund it. As a result of the funding, the project exploded into a large publicity campaign, utilising radio, television, print media, government networks, and the help of many inspired organisations. As the time approached, some radio and television stations and newspapers did a countdown to the day and the minute. The radio played peace songs. At the designated minute, some radio and television stations went silent. When the minute passed, there were reports of organisations and individuals, from shoppers in the market to the President, who stopped all activity for the minute, some moved to the point of tears.

We believe it was the impact of this unforgettable moment that started a relationship that culminated in the peace medal. As it was such a major activity in support of the UN, we are sending you samples of some of the promotional material used, and newspaper clippings from our Peace Link scrap book. You will notice the UNDP logo alongside the BK logo in some of the materials, which was authorised by UNDP – the project was promoted as “An initiative of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University, in association with the United Nations System in Guyana.”

Since then, our relationship with UNAG continued to grow, especially with our support for their active promotion of United Nations International Day of Peace, over the years. We also worked with them in the formation of “Peace Councils,” in a village outreach programme which they initiated. The Peace Councils were established to deal with conflict in small communities, and our role was mainly in helping to plan strategies toward this end.

Additionally, the Brahma Kumaris have also independently organised various programmes in observance of UN Day and UN International Day of Peace at our own premises. From time to time, these have been attended by UN officials and other dignitaries, who have experienced peace in a personal way at the centre. The nature of our relationship with them has been one of mutual support. The most enduring relationship has been that with Justice Donald Trotman (retired), President of UNAG, who has expressed a great regard for the work of Brahma Kumaris nationally and internationally, which he has taken time to familiarise himself with. UNAG recognises the ongoing work of the Brahma Kumaris in teaching meditation and helping people improve the quality of their lives. Justice Donald Trotman was particularly impressed when, eight years ago, he attended the opening ceremony of a new centre in the outlying district of Essequibo, which was the result of our outreach efforts.

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