Words of Peace Global News
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[Thu, 06 Feb 2014]
On Sunday 2nd February, 183,500 people attended the official launch of the Youth Peace Fest in New Delhi, India. The Times of India Foundation and The Prem Rawat Foundation co-sponsored event marked a pivotal step towards cultivating a culture of peace and wellbeing for young people in a city that has experienced much media attention due to tragic violent incidents. The unprecedented turnout indicated the strong demand for an event of this nature, with crowds flocking to hear about the possibility of peace.
Youth Peace Fest began in response to the challenges faced by young people in New Delhi. Long working days, social pressure and the constant distraction of technology all contribute towards a stressful quality of life for those residing in the busy capital. Passionate young members of the community decided to instigate a movement to combat these problems, and Youth Peace Fest was born.
After months of planning and the dedicated efforts of over 1200 volunteers, the dream was realized, the festival launched and the call to action answered- with extraordinary results. Close to two hundred thousand people gathered at Sector 23, Rohini to hear live music, film and inspiring speeches on the subject of peace.To cater for the huge crowd, the largest LED screen in India was used and additional speaker delay towers to reach the back of the 16 hectare site. Even then it was hard for people at the back to see and hear due to the numbers attending. During his address, peace ambassador and keynote speaker Prem Rawat spoke about the role we each play in creating such a culture:
When someone realises ‘peace is within me and it is my responsibility to do something about it’, then truly peace is possible. Do you understand the responsibility that goes with it? Take action! Try to understand that you are a part of it. This is the time, that if we decide, then truly peace in this world—within the heart of every individual—is possible.
The organisers of Youth Peace Fest are looking to build on the impact of the first live event for young people in New Delhi and develop artistic and cultural peace activities including poetry, music, and peace projects all focused on young people.
Stay tuned for more stories, photos and quotes from the Youth Peace Fest in New Delhi, India.
The event partners were our sister organization, The Prem Rawat Foundation, and The Times of India Foundation.
Photo Credits: Mehau A. Kulyk and Priyanka Saini
[Tue, 14 Jan 2014]
2013 was an exciting year for Words of Peace Global. We hosted 68 live events and meetings in 23 different cities attended by close to 32,000 people. During our South American tour in June, gang members in Ecuador who had been listening to Prem Rawat’s message of peace had the opportunity to attend live events and share their inspiring stories. Many more people attended events for the first time in 2013.
Important interviews were captured last year, including one with Fernando Mauro Trezza, President of the Brazilian Association of Community Channels and another with Jeremy Gilley, international peace advocate and founder of Peace One Day. Two other interviews with Ecuadorian and Brazilian TV channels reached an estimated 35 million people.
The interview with Fernando Trezza marked a decade of Words of Peace Global TV broadcast in Brazil and Jeremy Gilley’s conversation with Prem Rawat was released on September 21st, International Peace Day, subsequently broadcast to over 25 million people. After the meeting, Jeremy Gilley said to Prem Rawat “When I think about like, a Jedi Knight, you know, those guys in Star Wars… You’ve got to be the greatest peace warrior on this planet!”
We also launched a new logo and a new tagline. All in all, it was another excellent year working towards bringing the possibility of peace a little closer for everyone. Looking ahead to 2014, we are exploring new avenues and new ways to share this message of peace with people all over the world. We are currently planning a busy schedule of events as well as many new and inspiring videos for the coming year.
Please enjoy this photo gallery of iconic moments and some ‘behind the scenes’ shots from 2013.
Photo Credits: Mary Rozzi, Mehau Kulyk, Dayana Mayorga
[Mon, 06 Jan 2014]
We are always looking for new ways to share the message that the need for peace is fundamental, as we work towards a world where peace is possible for anyone, anywhere, anytime. You can attend live events with Prem Rawat, you can watch WOPG TV on a channel in your area and in some places you can even tune in and listen on the radio. And there’s one more way for you to keep in touch with our work: WOPG Facebook. Our WOPG Facebook page brings you quotes from Prem Rawat, stories, new products and updates on a daily basis.
There are 1.5 billion active users on Facebook. Every day 700 million people use Facebook for an average of 20 minutes. Our WOPG English page on Facebook has over 36,000 fans. A good post can be Liked by more than 500 people, and seen by over 15,000. A dedicated team of volunteers manages this page and is constantly looking for new ways to help connect our supporters to our work.
The Facebook team recently launched two new pages: WOPG Spanish and WOPG Hindi. Why? We are a global nonprofit and we want our supporters to be able to follow in their own language as much as possible. The WOPG Spanish page already has over 1,000 fans and is continuing to grow. One fan commented, "The best thing is that Facebook is so practical. I can have his words really near to my keyboard and my mouse. Thank you so much."
Laura Pérez Velasco, manager of the WOPG Spanish page on Facebook, witnesses people using the page for many different reasons: “There are a lot of messages from people sending a big thank you to the team to have the opportunity to receive quotes, pictures, videos and events information. The page helps them when they need a phone number to call for more information or to find event information. We have the opportunity to bring this message to all the Spanish-speaking people in social media all over the world; this is our goal.”
Explore our Facebook pages and enjoy receiving having regular Words of Peace updates at your fingertips. By Liking, Sharing, Commenting, and Clicking on links of WOPG Facebook posts, you are supporting Words of Peace in a very meaningful way. Every time you interact with one of these pages, you are helping to give more people a chance to discover this beautiful message. The potential is almost limitless.
[Tue, 10 Dec 2013]
Since Words of Peace was established in 2008, we have expanded our reach to a global level. Our work of hosting events, airing television broadcasts and supporting initiatives- all focused on the subject of peace- now takes place in every continent except Antarctica. This grass-roots movement to share a message of peace that inspires people and changes lives has grown thanks to a dedicated team of volunteers.
67 live events and meetings have taken place this year. In 2012, we hosted over 100. Words of Peace television programs are broadcast internationally on over 350 different channels. New peace initiatives are emerging all over the world in response to Prem Rawat’s message that personal peace is a real and attainable goal. This effort to bring peace into people’s communities, homes and hearts is sustained by a team of over 11,000 volunteers.
Did you know that Words of Peace have active volunteers in over 85 different countries? In fact, due to the global nature of our work, it is likely that at any time somewhere in the world a Words of Peace volunteer is contributing towards making peace possible.
At the recent Inspire for Peace Meeting and Fair in Long Beach, California, our new video I Volunteer was aired for the first time. Featuring stories and insight from Words of Peace volunteers from Ghana to Australia, it’s a great way to find out more about what we do and to see how much impact your individual effort makes.
Watch I Volunteer video now
If you are interested in volunteering for Words of Peace, please visit the Get Involved page and read about the many different ways that you can help.
[Mon, 11 Nov 2013]
You never know what might stop you in your tracks on your way to work. This was certainly true for the people of Mumbai, India as they made their way through Churchgate railway station last month. From the 7th - 13th October, a team of inspired volunteers hosted Self-Discovery Courses and a large canopy initiative at the busy commuter hub that receives approximately 1.2 million people every day. The team’s presence had a ripple effect throughout the week as numbers of people visiting the canopy grew each day and requests for similar events from other groups and communities came pouring in.
Rohan Ghate, a volunteer from the team, had this to say about the week’s achievements: “This event saw a number of people belonging to diverse backgrounds, religions, jobs etc. come and listen to the message of peace. The feedback we received on videos was that the message was beautiful, that it was the need of the hour, and that the peace which Prem Rawat talks about is of utmost importance for the people living in Mumbai, the reason being that in the hustle bustle of this city, the residents have lost the sense of peace in their lives.”
Western Railway Union had requested an awareness course for their staff, so the first event of the weeklong effort was a Self-Discovery Course held for Western Railway Union staff. Over 300 railway officers participated in the 3 day Self-Discovery Course, a program designed to introduce people to Prem Rawat’s message of peace in a fun and interactive way. Prem Rawat helps individuals understand and appreciate the value of peace. When peace is valued, people express a greater gratitude for life, the potential in each moment and their own inner resources.
In conjunction with the Self-Discovery Course, a large canopy was set up in the Churchgate railway station and was manned over the course of the week by a team of about 80 volunteers. On the first day, 600 people came to investigate the message of peace and by day seven the canopy was receiving close to 2,000 visitors. A 360-degree electronic billboard positioned right at the centre of the busy station helped to promote the canopy’s presence. By the end of the week, the advertising agency was so inspired by the message and the efforts of the team that they decided to waive the cost of the advertising space. Countless others were similarly inspired, with requests for initiatives and courses coming in from Governor House, Medical College and the Housing Society amongst others.
Powerful and moving personal stories were shared over the course of the week. Two young people who came to the canopy to watch videos of Prem Rawat said that his message had literally transformed their lives, giving them a sense of hope at a very difficult time. The Head Ticket Examiner at Churchgate came to the canopy every day to watch, to listen and to learn a little more. Over 2,000 people gave feedback about the message and expressed a desire to pursue what they had seen and heard.
The diligent team of volunteers is now planning a similar initiative at another station that receives 2.5 million commuters every day. Stay tuned for more inspiring stories of this team’s tour of train stations for peace.
[Fri, 01 Nov 2013]
Following the recent release of the “Peacemakers” video on 21st September, figures just in show that millions of people were reached by the interview between Jeremy Gilley and Prem Rawat on TV.
To help reach even more people a new shorter 9 minute version has been created, perfect for sharing. Watch it here or view on YouTube.
This is the story of how the documentary was made.
Back in late May 2013 in Barcelona, Spain, there was a short window of time in which the two protagonists of documentary were able to meet to film.
The video idea was based on a collaboration between two people wanting to inspire peace globally, from two different perspectives.
Although the plan was to shoot the video outside in a nearby garden, the weather in the usually sunny city of Barcelona was not accommodating, with heavy overnight rain. The event director decided to take the only other location option available, an old converted warehouse nearby, often used for parties and raves. This venue although dark, gives the video a more intimate atmosphere, perhaps of a night time conversation between two friends.
As much as possible the producers wanted to make this video feel as if you the audience were really there, with lots of behind the scenes shots so that you could see and feel the atmosphere, the backdrop and the set. Handheld cameras gave it a raw feel.
The shoot took a couple of hours in all, laced with a lot of fun, laughter and deep conversation about the impact of peace for the individual and the world.
After the final cut, Jeremy had a quick tapas for lunch and flew home to London. It was 6 weeks later that he had a chance to re-connect and give his perspective to camera on what had happened that day, clearly a day that had really impacted him, as we see in his reaction speaking from the Peace One Day offices at the end of the video.
In the extended one hour version of “Peacemakers”, which you can see here on the WOPG website, Premium channel, there are many other interesting elements to the conversation, which include the issues of technology and peace, how Prem and Jeremy see the camera as a tool for peace, and how technology generally can bring so many benefits to humanity in the field of peacemaking.
With an extensive South American tour that followed in June, and a tight production schedule, the filming team were under considerable pressure to edit, translate and produce the video in time for distribution by 21st September.
Just the translation alone into 36 languages (30 more than the official languages of the UN!), was a tall order. With the film crew using ultra HD Red cameras, that produce up to a terabyte of data per camera, per hour of shooting, there was a lot of material to edit. Combined with the need to liaise with the Peace One Day editing team, there was little time to complete the project before Peace Day.
However, the WOPG South American TV team were very much awake to the possibilities of this unique programme, having seen an early edit, and they quickly got to work approaching TV broadcasters.
With only two weeks before Peace day, the South American team were able to pull off an extraordinary coup, by having 21 different TV channels in South America show the programme, despite the short notice. This included national broadcast channels who do not normally show Words of Peace episodes, but who were impressed with the quality of the programme. In many instances the programme was shown at prime time on the Saturday night, with high ratings.
In three countries the programme was shown nationally. In others like Peru, Brazil, Mexico and the US, the programme was broadcast to large cities on cable. National broadcasts occurred in Uruguay, Argentina and Colombia. Other countries where “Peacemakers” aired included Malaysia and Spain.
Feedback from around the world about the documentary has been inspiring. Here are some examples:
"…you've got to be the greatest peace warrior on this planet!" I find those words very hard to disagree with.”
“Thank you Prem Rawat for dedicating your life to Peace, the world is a better place for having you. And thank you for inspiring me everyday, to celebrate life.”
“Maybe I've already said this, but this video is one of the most inspiring videos ever!!
Thank you Prem, thank you Jeremy!”
“I watched the You Tube video this lunchtime and have been quite moved by the message. Its simplicity strikes effortlessly through the mass of theories, ideas and systems. It has made me realise that to communicate from a place of peace is to create peace within and outside of you”
“Beautiful, so much hope.”
“Oh that was just gorgeous!!!!!!”
“Prem Rawat is more like 'Yoda' to the Jedi's. His efforts are always inspiring and it’s good to see Jeremy Gilley becoming more motivated towards his goals of spreading peace.”
“Absolutely fantastic to see Jeremy Gilley having such a great time with Prem Rawat. The expressions on his face, the way he was so energized and animated at the end was beautiful. Loved the Jedi Knight references, and of course everything Prem Rawat said, as always blows me away too. An amazing event.”
“Didn't want the day to end without telling you what an extraordinary video this is, dynamic, engaging and profound. Congratulations!”
“This is really wonderful. A beautiful job, well done. This will reach so many people and it is a lovely collaboration.”
“Just watched the film on Peacebeats livestream. It is beautiful, powerful, so clear, so inspiring!!!”
Despite Peace Day having passed, the message remains relevant and the programme will continue to be aired on hundreds of TV channels, and rolled out internationally, as translation is completed, to many more countries where millions more will have the opportunity to watch this inspiring exploration of peace.
The extended version of the documentary with additional content can be viewed at Premium channel.
[Fri, 01 Nov 2013]
Several twists of fate and minor miracles have resulted in the birth of a new radio broadcast channel in Cote D’Ivoire, Western Africa. As a result, “Words of Peace” broadcasts may now be heard 5 times per day every day, on Radio Bien Etre, located at 94.0 FM in and around the capital city of Abidjan.
The two key events that moved this idea into reality were the initial broadcasts of Mr. Landry Touvoly during the political crisis and military intervention of 2011 and the recent experience of FM transmission of Prem Rawat’s 2012 live event from Guayaquil, Ecuador.
As many people may recall, on the first day of the 2011 political crisis, Mr. Landry Touvoly was on duty at the radio station where he worked when all the streets everywhere in Abidjan were blocked. He could not go back home, so he stayed at the station. He soon realized that the only useful thing he could do was to let Mr. Rawat’s voice be heard in the hearts of his sisters, brothers and parents in that desperate situation. Day in and day out he aired “Words of Peace” episodes through Radio Bien Etre, the station of happiness. Mrs. Christine Sanogo cooked a meal every day for Landry and army officer Etienne Zehi delivered the food to Landry at the radio station. During that period all the FM stations were shut down except Radio Bien Etre and two other stations. The impact and the sweetness of the message were greatly appreciated by the entire population.
After the crisis, the transmitter and the antennas got faulty and the radio stopped functioning. Most of the staff left, but in Abidjan, we have a local nonprofit association of volunteers who love to listen to Prem Rawat’s talks and to introduce them to other people to enjoy. When we were investigating the possibility of radio broadcasting the Guayaquill event, we discovered that there were a number of regulatory requirements, which our local association could not meet. We would either have to change our status to a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), or we would have to partner with an existing NGO.
Thankfully, Mr. Kouadio Kouassi, who works in Public Relations, had a duly registered NGO with all the required documentation to apply for use of an FM frequency. He offered the NGO for our use; the application was filed; and approval was granted the same day. Transmitters and related equipment was donated. Mr. Kofi Amani (an elder member of the community) made available an apartment in his building as a base of operations. Mr. Rawat’s students - Landry Touvoly, Norbert Gnalin and Miss Koffi Saint Anne (who had previously been involved at the radio station) joined with local Global Peace Initiatives (GPI) team members Jonas Kacou, Mrs. Christine Sanogo, and myself in appealing for help. The GPI Director Karthik Karathur responded positively and we were gifted with two transmitters and two dipoles and “Radio Bien Etre” began officially broadcasting “Words of Peace”. Interspersed between the “Words of Peace” episodes are quotes of Prem Rawat, and music of various artists from around the world. The station now covers all of Abidjan and its surroundings areas. And people are really enjoying Prem Rawat’s message of peace via the radio.
Recently, the GPI team took another step towards professionalism when a proposal was made to bring in an experienced and talented person to manage Radio Bien Etre. The proposal was accepted and in early June of this year, Antoine (Tony) Glazai Blesson moved from Oslo, Norway to Abidjan to manage the station. He brought new equipment, refurbished the premises, and now the station has a new look. The staff that left came back and the ambiance is optimum for more joy, happiness and peace to be felt by both the staff and our listening audience. If you find yourself in Abidjan, please tune to 94.0 FM and enjoy.
[Fri, 01 Nov 2013]
Four hour’s drive north of the city of Bergen, Norway lies the village of Flekke, home to around 220 people. Situated on the Flekkefjorden, a sea inlet that typifies many of the beautiful fjords of Western Norway, Flekke hosts a unique college dedicated to peace, the Red Cross Nordic United World College.
The United World College (UWC) movement began fifty years ago in Wales, seeking to build peace amongst young people around the world, following World War II. The movement has now grown to twelve colleges across the world, educating thousands of students dedicated to an ethos of peace, intercultural understanding, compassion and service.
UWC Red Cross Nordic is unique in many respects but particularly because of its diversity. Amongst the 200 students, 93 countries are represented. They include students from some of the remotest parts of the World and some of the most war torn. Countries like South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Western Sahara, and Afghanistan to name a few. Some students include victims of landmines and extreme hardship.
Between 22nd and 23rd May, Prem Rawat was invited by the college to speak to students and attend their graduation ceremony with other VIPs and local dignitaries.
UWC Nordic Red Cross, supported by the Scandinavian governments, and the International Red Cross, has been an active supporter of the “Pledge to Peace”, The Brussels Declaration, signed at the European Parliament in 2011 and directly inspired by ambassador of peace, Prem Rawat. As a result of signing up to the pledge last year, the college organised and hosted the very successful and inspiring Nordic Peace Conference in Oslo. Prem Rawat sent a special video message to that conference that has now been viewed over 34,000 times.
Student expressions and questions
On the first day of his visit to the college, Prem Rawat was invited to meet with a small group of about fifteen students in a class room to talk about three key themes around peace; conflicts between nations, peace in society and personal peace. Sitting in a circle students addressed issues arising from conflict involving their own countries, one from Vietnam, another from Western Sahara.
Chao, the Vietnamese student, first spoke of the issues arising around the crisis in the South China Seas, the divisions in that area and how it generated hate between countries.
Prem responded by mentioning a quote from Kabir, “We came from the same place, landed in the same place. And then as soon as the wind of the world hit us, we became fractionalized.
He went on to discuss the issue of our belief in differences, when in fact we are all made of the same elements; that we need to embrace the fact that we are all citizens of the world, focusing on our similarities not our differences.
And so I have to say, peace is for those who know—not believe. Believing takes no courage. Peace does. War ... engaging in it, is not wisdom. But engaging in peace is wisdom. And so yes, it definitely takes more courage to have peace than to make war.
The second student to speak, Bakina, is from Western Sahara, an area south of Morocco, and part of a huge refugee camp from a forgotten conflict in the Sahara region. Before coming to UWC, Bakina had lived in a refugee camp her entire life.
Her question focused on understanding how to live in peace where a conflict environment surrounded her. Prem Rawat explained more about the analogy of a peace mirror, and being like a lotus rising above the conflict issues:
People coming into contact with you, and understanding a little bit about themselves, start to look at themselves ... not as the source of greed, but the source of generosity. Not the source of the conflict, but the source of peace. Not the source of doubt, but the source of clarity. Not the source of misunderstanding, but the source of understanding. That if you could be that mirror, then they would see their own beauty—because this is in reality what every single human being is.
On the subject of social peace Ailin from Argentina talked of her project to help indigenous people in her country and to remove the barriers created between different peoples in Argentina. Ailin asked Prem Rawat what he thought of the concept of “us and them”. He responded by saying that:
Us and them, is the biggest wall there is between people. But the wall is not made out of stone. The wall is actually made out of ignorance… This ignorance is what is dividing the world, and stopping the world from uniting… knowledge can remove that wall. And when it happens it is the most uplifting thing for people, the most freeing thing for people that you can possibly imagine.
Bernada from Angola was next to speak about her project to raise money for HIV victims in her village and nearby Swaziland. Bernada buys embroidered bracelets and sells them at the college to raise funds. Her question was about helping others.
Prem responded by talking about the importance of helping others:
… to help each other is fundamental to life. When we stop helping another person who needs the help, it’s anti-life.
Secondly, it doesn’t matter what happens. We all need our dignity. When that is taken away from us, it is something that leaves us most helpless…And when you say to somebody, ‘I care,’ you change the equation…It gives them dignity. You, at that moment, become the best doctor.
After several more students speaking, the session concluded with Bernada giving Prem Rawat an embroidered band as a symbol of peace, and a general request from all the students to continue to work with Prem towards peace at the college for the future.
Prem responded by saying:
In any which way I can help, it would be my pleasure. I am interested in everybody being part of it, everybody! I mean, that’s my focus. But there is so much of the future here.
After the session finished, Bakina from Western Sahara wrote about her experience of being in the classroom and how it had impacted her:
Prem for me is the voice of the peace that everyone on this planet wants to achieve... He is very inspiring!! I'm now trying to know everything about him. I'm one of his big fans, absolutely!! I'm telling everyone I know about the answer that I got from him and how he was interested in my issue. Do you know what? I hope that I would be able to meet him again and again and learn from his experience! Am I greedy? :) As much as I say, it would never be enough, to how I felt and still feel, I'm so so happy! Thank you for that chance!
[Fri, 01 Nov 2013]
On October 26th, 2013 over 2,300 people from 48 different countries came to the unique Inspire for Peace Meeting and Fair to learn about sharing Prem Rawat’s message of peace. The meeting also offered a preview of the new Words of Peace brand, days before the official launch. Activities and speeches from inspired individuals spanned the course of a 6-hour day that really felt more like a festival than a meeting. People talked peace initiatives; what inspires, what works, and what’s fun.
The meeting began with passionate speeches about the various initiatives being showcased at the fair. The speakers wowed the crowds with statistics demonstrating the reach of Prem Rawat’s message: WOPG TV broadcast to 5 million people in Greece, over 43,000 inmates watching videos in jails in India, 40,000 people reading articles placed in a local newspaper in Colombia. The potential impact of one individual’s effort was resoundingly clear.
Guests then explored the fair laid out in the Long Beach Performing Arts Centre lobby. Booths displaying examples of successful peace initiatives, ranging from the Self-Discovery Course to Wellbeing Workshops, received a constant stream of people throughout the day. Jez, a member of the Global Peace Initiatives team, was so pleased at the response: “There was a moment of trepidation before I decided to come all the way from Australia, but everything that's happened today has completely validated that decision.” People were able to explore and ask questions or gravitate towards the initiative that had caught their eye. Even more eye-catching was the new Words of Peace merchandise available for purchase at the store, with the USB Keys selling out within half an hour of the fair opening.
The focus of the meeting was not only to inspire people but also to empower them with the support and tools to go back to their communities, with the know-how to get a peace initiative up and running. Kits containing select videos of Prem Rawat for use in initiatives and all kinds of useful information about getting started were on sale, and each booth was equipped with a warm and welcoming team of people just itching to share their insights with people interested in learning more. And guests were able to go straight from browsing to grazing, with two food trucks serving fabulous lunch just outside the building.
One young woman who was excited to talk about her initiative was Charis Cooper, founder of PeaceBeats (the London based music night whose mandate is “inspiring and empowering young people to fulfill their true potential”). She was optimistic about the future following the day’s activities, and took a moment to share her perspective: “I was really enjoying the message myself, and I live in Brixton- quite a tough part of London- and I lived in London through the riots, and I just felt that I should create something to share the message with young people... Now I want to work with gangs in my area, just take it further and further."
Prem concluded an inspiring day with an empowering keynote speech, sharing his simple and profound message. He began by saying “So I’ve been asked to share my vision… my vision never changes. Peace is possible.” He went on to talk about every human being’s potential to light up the world: “I realized that there is a law. Darkness yields to light- not the other way around. One lit lamp can light seven billion lamps.” The stories that had been shared throughout the day of individuals making an effort to light lamps all over the world were beautifully offset by his unique perspective on peace.
Rick, a National Park Ranger, commented on how inspired he was by the efforts at the fair: “People say that National Parks are America's best idea, preserving something that's beautiful... But I think the best idea of all is to know that peace is inside of you, to know that you can find it inside of you.” A staff member of the Long Beach Performing Arts Center Event Services Team was also inspired, in particular by the effort of all the volunteers working to make the meeting special, and summed the day’s activities up succintly: “The volunteers, everyone, is dedicating their day to make this happen… we're making memories here, it's a snapshot of a moment- and we want people to have a great memory when they think back to October 26th."
There’s no doubt that everyone who attended will have a snapshot of an exciting, inspiring and compelling day when they think back to the Inspire for Peace Meeting and Fair in Long Beach, California.
[Fri, 25 Oct 2013]
On June 19th, 2013, at the Westin Lima Hotel and Convention Center, 1,839 people gathered to hear Prem Rawat speak. After the event, Sebastian, a student attending the University of Applied Sciences, said, "This is the first time I have heard this message, that you need to find your source of peace within yourself. There is a lot of truth in what he says."
Here are some things he had to say:
You are one, and everything else is zero. Put a zero before one, and what happens? Nothing. Zero is zero. One is one. Put the zero after one? Magic happens. Ten. Another zero? Hundred. Another zero? Thousand. Another zero? Ten thousand. Make magic happen. Put the self first.
So far this breath comes into you, the divine is with you all the time — whether you like it or not. Even when the door is locked. You think you have locked the door, so you’re alone? Even then, even when you’re sad, the divine is with you. When you are happy, the divine is with you.
The only way to get away from distraction is not to get rid of distraction — it's to focus! Distraction goes away automatically. You want to remove darkness? Don’t try to remove darkness. It’s impossible. Bring the light, and the darkness leaves.
Photographs by Mehau Kulyk and Dayana Mayorga.
[Fri, 27 Sep 2013]
September 21st, 2013, International Day of Peace. From Abidjan, Ivory Coast to Ivory's Rock, Australia, efforts for peace took place, both big and small. Whether they were walking for peace or talking for peace, people were inspired to celebrate the day and to commit to peace in their own way. Here’s what happened!
Prem Rawat's conversation with Jeremy Gilley, international peace advocate and founder of Peace One Day, got people talking all over the world. In fact, the ‘Peacemakers’ interview was broadcast to 15 million people in Colombia alone. It was aired nationwide in Malaysia, Argentina and Uruguay. The Peacebeats Worldwide Webcast 2013 showed the interview online a total of eight times, the broadcast reaching people from 1,653 cities in 101 countries. The YouTube interview clip has already received over 11,000 hits in four days. Throughout the day, videos of Prem talking about peace were shown in Somalia, Ivory Coast, Brazil, Ecuador, Australia, USA, UK, Ireland, India and Sri Lanka as part of the peace initiatives organized by inspired individuals.
The excitement and enthusiasm for Prem’s message paved the way for activities and events on the day that made a lasting impact, strengthening resolve within communities all over the world to do more in the name of peace.
Yopougon, Ivory Coast hosted a conversation to build a culture of peace that yielded wonderful results. The small town located on the outskirts of Abidjan was hit hard by the civil war, so the effort to bring people together and give them the opportunity to watch videos and share their visions for peace was much needed. People who had been estranged from one another during the war began to converse with one another again, showing signs that reconciliation was possible.
One chief said: “We dream of fulfillment for the population… It’s only with peace that we will see prosperity for our country.” The day’s discussion culminated in a formal agreement between a local NGO and the chiefs of Yopougon to host more conversations for peace and to support one another in the effort being made in the community.
People weren’t just talking about peace, they were singing and dancing too! The PeaceBeats Worldwide Webcast 2013 provided a platform for people to share their expressions of peace through song, dance, poetry... you name it, PeaceBeats had it! The Florida Peace Initiative, USA partnered with the London based team of young people at PeaceBeats to produce a 48-hour live broadcast that featured submissions from all over the world. Time Square featured a live ad for the broadcast that garnered lots of attention from the many passersby in New York City. Highlights of the broadcast are still available to view on the Peacebeats website here.
Another beautiful story of peace and culture coming together was the Dublin Peace Day Festival held at the Meeting House Square. The outdoor event showcased a range of music acts and screened excerpts of the ‘Peacemakers’ interview. The 500+ festivalgoers were treated to a particularly poignant performance from the 30 piece Omagh Children’s Choir, a group created to transcend religious and cultural differences in the wake of the Omagh bomb atrocity. The children travelled to the festival in Dublin all the way from Omagh out of sheer desire to participate in the effort for peace. The critically acclaimed choir served as an example of positive change and set the tone for an inspiring and enjoyable event.
Peace was paraded up and down the streets of Otavalo, Ecuador, with over 1,000 students proudly marching and dancing together in a grand, colourful display. Young people shared their thoughts and feelings about the importance of peace, both for individuals and for the world. Later that day, videos of Prem were shown at the local coliseum and local gang members organized a huge parade in Ibarra, using the same banners and slogans that they had used when Prem visited Ecuador in June. You can watch a video about it here [in Spanish].
These are just a few snippets of the spectacular events that took place on International Day of Peace 2013 — watch this space for more stories! Thanks to the global community that united for this Peace Day and for sharing your stories — here’s to making every day a Peace Day!
[Tue, 17 Sep 2013]
PeaceBeats — a London-based group of event organizers and music lovers who promote a message of peace through music, spoken word and film — have organized a 48-hour webcast in celebration of Peace Day.
Hosted by international film and television personality Michael Nouri, the 48 hours of streaming will be filled with worldwide submissions and feature a very special interview of Peace Ambassador Prem Rawat by Peace One Day founder Jeremy Gilley.
The webcast begins and ends at the International Dateline starting at the stroke of midnight in Auckland, New Zealand and ending at the last stroke of Peace Day at midnight in Honolulu (8 am ET on 9/20/13 to 6 am ET on 9/22/13) — making the webcast available to you wherever it is Peace Day anywhere in the world at any time!
[Tue, 03 Sep 2013]
On June 15, 2013, at the Coliseo Cerrado Sports Stadium, 1,940 guests came to hear Prem Rawat speak. Many students from UNSAAC University (Universidad Nacional de San Antonio Abad del Cusco) attended, where Luis and Dalia Minaya had been handing out invitations classroom by classroom. Before the event, a student named Edith commented, “If through a video I feel so much peace, I cannot imagine how it will be seeing him live.”
Here are some things he had to say:
I have come to tell you a little truth, because you have been lied to. Somehow you have been told about tomorrow. And somehow you have been told about yesterday. The fact is that your entire life will be spent in the day called ‘today.’ Every day that you will be alive will be today! Are you ready for today?
Peace doesn’t need to be imported. Peace doesn’t need to be created. Peace needs to be felt, because it resides in you. So what does it take? It takes a mirror for you to see you. To understand what you have been given.
To be alive you have to embrace existence — when it means something to wake up in the morning and have a heart full of gratitude. What is your heart full of?
Photographs by Mehau Kulyk.
[Thu, 18 Jul 2013]
On June 5, 2013, Prem Rawat spoke at the International Festival of Peace in Peguche, Ecuador: a prestigious event culminating in an award ceremony where Prem was recognized for his work by local leaders. The groundwork for this event was laid many years back by a man named Paul Murtha.
In 2005, Paul, the director of Mountains of Hope (Montañas de Esperanza) and a close associate of The Vibrant Village Foundation, came to Ecuador to live in a village called Paragachi. In doing so, he started a unique series of events.
With three grants from The Prem Rawat Foundation, Paul’s non-profit educational and sustainable development organization renewed an old irrigation system that began to provide clear water for the local organic farms.
In 2008, Paul, having lived in this region now for several years, began to see the enormous interest the indigenous Kichwas had for Prem Rawat’s message of peace after he held introductory presentations in many of the surrounding villages.
From this outreach, leaders of several villages requested translation of Prem Rawat’s message into Kichwa, and thus arrangements were made for the translation and production of DVDs, CDs and text materials.
In 2005, Paul also cultivated a relationship with Dr. Angel Castillo, who agreed that personal peace is an essential part of life. A friendship blossomed around their common interest in bringing progressive educational and cultural programming to northern Ecuador.
The following year Dr. Castillo was appointed District Director of Education for the Imbabura Province, overseeing 630 institutions and more than 100,000 students. In this position he forged working relationships with radio stations broadcasting throughout this mountainous area, where people carry radios the way others may carry cell phones.
Thankfully, because of the enormous interest from tribal community leaders, the District Director of Education and the Mayor of the Imbabura province, Prem Rawat happily accepted an invitation to speak at an International Festival of Peace on June 5, 2013.
Once the festival was confirmed, work quickly began to make it a success. Pacifico Fichamba, President of Peguche’s parish organization, began to hold regular community meetings, inviting the people to listen to Palabras de Paz while gaining financial support for the upcoming event through sales.
At the venue, a large billboard was prominently placed above the stadium, and posters were displayed in nearby café windows. Radio and television broadcasts aired for months in both Spanish and Kichwa, and a truck with a loudspeaker announced the event in several villages.
The venue Estadio Peguche, normally used as a soccer field, was transformed through the efforts of a few hundred volunteers, most of whom had never seen Prem Rawat in person. Large white tents adorned the festival grounds, thousands of chairs were brought in, and a beautiful stage was built. Over 2,800 local citizens arrived to enjoy the event.
At the conclusion, the Mayor of Otavalo, Mario Conejo, expressed his gratitude for the presence of Prem Rawat in this small province. Paraphrasing his brief honorary speech, he commented that we are distracted by material pursuits, and problems of crime have arisen in this region. He said that Prem’s message of inspiration is extremely needed in these times, and that they welcome and honor Prem, and will do their part in bringing this message to their people.
In a small ceremony the Mayor presented a gift and one of the region’s respected matriarchal chieftains gave Prem the staff of power, which is the highest honor in the Kichwan culture. She also presented him with a beautiful hat which she placed upon his head.
While this event was certainly a milestone, there's more yet to come. Only time will reveal how enthusiasm in this region continues to grow.
[Thu, 11 Jul 2013]
On May 5th, Prem Rawat followed up his previous night's talk with a powerful examination of what it means to appreciate existence. While this wasn't the sole focus, the concept of appreciation came up throughout his address. In one instance he compared life without appreciation to food with no flavor. If life seems flavorless, he added that there is an art to truly seeing, understanding and appreciating — one that can be practiced.
Here are some things he had to say:
Appreciation. Appreciation in life is extremely, extremely important. Without appreciation, it is like having food that has no flavor. It is like having ice cream that has no sugar, no sweetness. And so, what is it that we need to appreciate?
Peace is the only thing you cannot search for. The divine is the only one you cannot search for. Joy is the only thing you cannot bring in! Because it’s already inside of you. I have been saying this for such a long time. And every time I say this, it brings a tremendous sense of joy to me. What you are looking for is inside of you. End of discussion.
Do you know the art of appreciation? Do you? To see, untainted. To admire, with no other wishes. To acknowledge with sincerity. To accept with understanding. To feel with no barriers, in this life, the beauty that is within you. That’s all it takes. To see. And for the first time, truly see. To understand.
Photographs by Mehau Kulyk, Nitesh Mistry and Dayana Mayorga.
[Thu, 20 Jun 2013]
Imagine living in a rural village where no eye services are available. Both children and adults who are near-sighted simply suffer the repercussions of living in a blurry world. Affected children cannot see the blackboard in school and adults are restricted in what work they can do. As people age and farsightedness begins, they can no longer do many simple tasks such as sewing, reading, or examining something up close.
India has the highest per capita rate of preventable blindness in the world. Uncorrected vision problems, including cataracts, are even more widespread. The problem pervades the rural areas of the country where the poorest of the poor can neither afford corrective lenses nor get to city hospitals that offer free services.
That is why, in conjunction with the Indian charity Raj Vidya Kender, TPRF has sponsored eye clinics in the rural areas of northern India for the last eight years, providing quality eye care at no charge. From February 2012 to February 2013, five two-day clinics in three states served over 8,300 people, providing prescription eyeglasses to over 5,400, eye medicines to over 7,400, and cataract referrals to almost 700.
The clinics were considered such a great opportunity that people from 85 villages made their way to them any way they could, many traveling for miles on foot. Dozens of volunteers took great care to provide a clean and comfortable environment in which they welcomed and guided the villagers through the examination process conducted by eye doctors or optometrists.
The medical providers, who all donated their time, seemed to appreciate the opportunity as well. One doctor commented, “Your organization is doing a fantastic service to humanity. Because of your initiative, I also had the opportunity to serve the needy. I will be ready to come back again whenever needed.”
Expressing her gratitude, Mrs. Malti from village Reksa said, “I am feeling so good. Before I was unable to see clearly, but now my vision is quite clear. I hope I will be able to cook with my own hands and even thread a needle on my own.”
Eighty-year-old Nand Kishore Sharma of village Kanth said, “The arrangements and guidance were good. The doctor also gave us proper time. I wish many more such events could take place so that more and more needy people could benefit.”
Mrs. Saraswati from village Gopalpur explained, “I heard from my neighbors about this free clinic and came here to get my eyes tested. The doctor gave me medicines and spectacles. Now I can see well through these glasses. I had never imagined that this kind of facility would be available for poor people like us. Many thanks to each and every one.”
Photographs courtesy of the Premsagar Foundation.
[Mon, 17 Jun 2013]
On the waterfront of Buenos Aires, in an area called Puerto Madero, 2,002 people came to hear Prem Rawat speak on May 4, 2013. Among other things, he reminded his audience that there's a difference between simulating and experiencing peace, and that — to truly remove darkness — you need to bring in light. Nothing else will work.
Here are some things he had to say:
If you try to remove the darkness without light, it won’t be simple. In fact, it’ll be impossible. But as soon as you light the lamp, as soon as you turn on the light, the darkness will go away all by itself. Trying to bring peace in this world without peace is impossible. Everybody in this world, all they’re trying to do is bring the environment, the symptoms, the signs of peace.
Who are you? You are the perfect instrument. And when this instrument is in tune, it can produce the truest tones, the most beautiful tones. One, it needs to be in tune. And two, it needs to be played well. So I say, be in tune with the reality of that blessing that is inside of you.
To feel the contentment, to feel the joy, to feel this beautiful reality for the rest of your life. Learn the language of the heart. And see, and feel, what you have been missing.
Photographs by Mehau Kulyk, Nitesh Mistry and Dayana Mayorga.
[Wed, 12 Jun 2013]
PeaceBeats aims to introduce peace to young people in south London where there is a persistent problem of violent youth crime. Gang crime is a common occurrence in several of the districts of south London and the young people who have been involved in these gangs are likely to have experienced no direction or sense of ownership of their own lives. Thus the idea of PeaceBeats was created, with music, venue, promotional material, and videos all chosen to bring awareness of the possibility and the value of peace to this young audience.
The videos are mainly animations, although a version of Peace on the Inside, which shows the impact of Prem Rawat’s message on the lives of prisoners, has also been shown and received very well. The PeaceBeats project has been a success and has received funding from the Metropolitan police who have recognized that getting young people involved in various positive activities within the community is likely to provide a counterpoint to gang-related behavior. This has helped to pay for a PeaceBeats website, secure a fairly well known act, and pay for one of the venues.
Charis Cooper, one of the organizers of the project, said, “So far there have been two gigs this year, both in great venues popular with the young people we are trying to reach.” The events are run by volunteers, and the artists have shared their talents for free.
“It’s not about money,” said Richard from the rap group B.E.V. London, who performed at the first gig. “People say money makes the world go round, but I don’t think so. It’s about being involved in something which has meaning. If we can make a difference through our music and our songs then that makes it worth it.”
This was the spirit of the first event. From the moment the lights went down and the first words appeared projected onto the wall — be in sync with the drums of your heart — the crowd gave their full support and focus to each impressive act that followed.
Some highlights from the night included Neverland, a young local rap/hip-hop group whose talent stunned the crowd; Adriano Adewale, Brazilian percussion artist and a big name on the world music scene, the MayBirds — an all female group who mix sweet harmonies with gutsy vocals. B.E.V. London concluded the evening with their rap music and brought the house down! All of this interspersed with creative graphics projected onto the wall.
Once the event was over, audience members and performers were asked, “Has this event changed your perspective on peace?”
“Yes” was the consistent answer.
One young lady commented: “I was unsure about the idea of a peace event — but when I saw the video which said peace is not about flowers, hippies and the peace sign, I realized that peace is something else, something inside and I want to find out more about that.”
People were also asked if such an evening could make a tangible difference — the answer was a resounding yes. “These events should happen across the UK,” the B.E.V. Gang enthused. “Let’s make Britain ‘Great Britain’!”
The bands particularly enjoy being a part of these events. One of the band members said she was moved to tears by one of the videos, and the main singer from Too Many Tees in the second gig commented that “Prem Rawat seems like a great guy — I would like to invite him to dinner with me along with Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson.”
PeaceBeats now has a recognizable identity, along with a cool logo, stylish artwork, and a Facebook and Twitter presence, with more gigs planned in the future and with plans to provide a pack for other young people who want to do something similar.
If you would like to hold your own PeaceBeats event please contact the team via the website at peacebeats.co.uk or you can also message the team via their Facebook page at facebook.com/peacebeats.cle.
Photographs by Nitesh Mistry.
[Thu, 30 May 2013]
For two years, María Silvestre Requena Pool, 32-year-old mother of a large Mayan family, has been getting up early once a week to help prepare hot breakfasts at the elementary school her children attend.
“At first our husbands got angry because we left early to cook at the school,” she says, “but when we prepared for them what we learned at school, they liked it because they were eating new dishes.”
“Every day the food is different,” says María's 11-year-old daughter, Guadalupe. “It tastes very good. In my house I only eat beans. I´m more interested in coming to school, because we learn more when we eat in school.”
María and Guadalupe are beneficiaries of a two-year Hot Meals nutrition program in rural Kunché, a Mayan village in the Yucatán Peninsula. Developed and managed by Compartimos Bienestar y Salud Para Los Niños Mayas I.A.P. (Bienestar), a Mexican nonprofit dedicated to the welfare and health of Mayan children, the program is based on an idea as simple as it is practical: changing people's lives by improving their diets.
With funding from TPRF, Bienestar purchased inexpensive, nutritious food to provide balanced breakfasts for schoolchildren, recruiting the students' mothers to come to the school in shifts to cook them. In this way, the mothers learned how to cook foods unfamiliar to them and could supplement traditional dishes at home, improving the health of whole families.
The TPRF grant, initially expected to cover the costs of the programs for a year, was stretched to two years, benefitting 90 families in the impoverished region.
“In the beginning, working with the students in the classroom was difficult because they lacked spirit, slept in class, complained of headaches and stomachaches, or had nasal bleeding,” says School Director Eduardo Manuel Raz Chan. “This was due in large part to poor nutrition; they mostly ate tortillas and beans.”
“With the arrival of Bienestar in Kunché, everything changed. The saying ‘full stomach, satisfied heart’ definitely applied. Learning levels improved with the implementation of the meals that Bienestar provides, which contain the nutrition that the children require. Since they have been eating as they should, the physical education classes are a success. The children enjoy them, and there's no need to resort to the first aid kit.”
The positive changes the teachers witnessed in the children led to other improvements in the school with regards to security, hygiene, and clean water, reports Bienestar President Maria José Medina Díaz.
“I´m very pleased to inform you that the Hot Meals nutrition program has been a complete success,” she says. “In the name of the Bienestar Foundation, the Mayan families, and myself, we want to express most sincere thanks to the Prem Rawat Foundation and wish you the best for this life.”
Photographs courtesy of Maria Jose Medina.
(Last check for latest updates: 8 hr 5 min ago)courtesy: WOPG