By Anna Faerber and Suganda Betioux, UPF Seychelles
UPF Seychelles in collaboration with 5 organizations; the University of Seychelles, Citizens Engagement Platform( CEPS-an umbrella organization of all NGOs within Seychelles), Seychelles National Youth Council(SNYC), the Seychelles Police, and Anse Royal Youth Hostels held the Peace Road 2018 on the 21st of September 2018.
September 21st was chosen for the Peace March 2018 to commemorate the International Day of Peace, commonly known as World Peace Day, which is celebrated on September 21 annually.
The Peace Day commemorations were held as a three part program that began with a ‘Right to Peace’ forum at the Ceps office at Orion Mall, followed by the Peace March from the Mall to Peace Park with live entertainment by youth from schools and affiliated organizations around the island.
Present were Vice-President Vincent Meriton, Bishop Denis Wiehe, Bishop French Chang-Him, Anglican Archbishop James Wong, Superintendent of the Prison Raymond St Ange as well as representatives from the University of Seychelles, Seychelles National Youth Council (SNYC), Seychelles Police Force and Anse Royale Youth Hostel. The forum and March was attended by 70 people.
The theme for this years’ celebrations was “Connecting the World through Peace” and ‘The Right to Peace – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70’ in recognition of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted but the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in Paris in 1948 as a common standard of achievement for all people and all nations.
To begin with forum True Father’s poem, “Crown of Glory” was recited by a young police officer, Roberto Lege, who is also the leader of the National Youth Assembly. Anna Faerber who was the MC of the forum gave a brief history of the poem as well as a commemorative introduction to True Father as the founder of UPF.
Subsequently, representatives from various organizations facilitated short presentations around peace. Presentations were delivered by SNYC and the Seychelles Interfaith Council (SIFCO) whereby they talked about the meaning of peace according to their perspective and explained the founding principles of various religions with regard to peace and unity.
A reflection was given by Bishop Chang-Him who facilitated a short presentation and highlighted the importance of peace among communities and countries and recounted how several leaders who were fighting for peace have suffered in the process. He made mention of Prophet Muhamad, Jesus, Mahatma Gandhi, Buddha, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King as well as former and founding President of Seychelles Sir James R. Mancham.
The forum concluded with a group photo with the Vice President.
At 3PM the Peace March began in which the participants from the forum happily marched through the streets of Victoria singing and chanting local slogans of Peace. The march was a 10 min march to the Peace Park, in which the Peace Road banner was held and presented the whole way.
The program concluded at the Peace Park with poems and songs about peace from youth from various schools and youth affiliated organizations. The poems highlighted the history of Seychelles as a Peaceful nation as well as the history of which the nation was founded on.
To conclude blue and white balloons were released to show everyone’s commitment to peace.
The event was covered by the news media, SBC (the local TV station), and The Nation newspaper.
A big thank you to our Heavenly Parents and True Parents who guided us through all the preparations and the event.
The participants were highly encouraged and appreciative of the the whole event, and are looking forward to next year’s program. They testified to having a deeper insight to the real meaning of peace and will make the effort to change themselves to become examples for others.
We were encouraged to make it an ongoing program for which we promised to do so. We are looking forward to future programs as well as next year’s Peace Road 2019!