Peace Day - September 21, 2008 - 16
Michael Johnson is the Pathways to Peace representative at the United Nations. Michael Johnson had an ‘aha’ moment in 2002. It was 9-11. He had been working as a life coach, and one of his clients invited him to the Gandhi King Season of Non Violence event at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Even as he walked in the front door, he knew he was destined to become a part of the UN. The event was a rich experience, with over 700 kids going home deeply inspired toward peace building. Michael also was deeply inspired. Within 2 weeks, the president of the Kripalu Center, whom Michael knew after living there for many years, called to invite him to a Spiritual Caucus at the UN. He asked Michael to go in his stead as he was unable to go. The Caucus was created for holding a space for silence and meditation within the UN system. After the meditation, the group shared their thoughts, and Michael said, “We should have a day for Peace.” Soon someone handed him the UN’s International Day of Peace Resolution. Michael’s first thoughts were “Who knows about this? Every nation voted on this?” After that he was on fire. He worked closely with the UN promoting the International Day of Peace, getting television spots for speakers Michael Douglas and Jane Goodall, and becoming the UN representative for Pathways to Peace. Peace Day took over his life. Michael works with the current Secretary General, the Department of Public Information and whoever has time and interest. He works closely with the NGO’s affiliated with the UN, to urge the UN to continue holding an event every year. Peace Day easily would have gotten lost or dropped without Michael and Avon, and others prodding it to the forefront. Kofi Annan’s agenda was more focused on civil society engagement, the new Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is very devoted to Peace Day. Now, there Michael Johnson By 1984, there were citizens of over 60 nations around the world who joined the citizens of San Francisco and with the United Nations in observing Peace Day in their own way. The spread of the International Day of Peace was done without the benefit of technology and without funding but was done by goodwill and donated expertise and telephone calls and letters – now considered an oldfashioned way. The power of people of goodwill is never outmoded. We did the same in 1985, with more nations and citizens participating, and continued assisting with activities at UN Headquarters. Pathways To Peace has continued building awareness of, and participation in, the worldwide International Day of Peace. May Peace Day become as well known as Earth Day. It is our vision that Peace Day would be a day on which we could demonstrate our commitment to Peace above all differences of any kind. Everyone is welcome to celebrate Peace Day, but if you hold an event we ask that it be intergenerational, intercultural and benefit the larger community so that we are all acting in concert for a Culture of Peace for future generations, and all Circles of Life. ••••••••••••••• Melvin Weiner are over 3,000 events each year - held by the UN, its affiliated NGO’s, and other organizations all over the world. Today Michael’s goal is to expand the International Day of Peace each year. He is working closely with Ambassador Chowdhury, the NGO planning committee and the UN Dept. of Public Information to open doors for Peace day within the UN system, to develop strategies that will carry over each year. He is also working to link the NGO’s together to create cooperative initiatives for Peace Day. Recently, the UN has begun encouraging all of the nation states worldwide to hold Peace Day events of their own. As Pathways to Peace representative at the UN, Michael’s networking takes him into many arenas, including the Burkino Faso project, helping to end poverty, and the Gandhi Tour which launches in Switzerland this September. ••••••••••••••• Melvin Weiner is the Director of the Peace Day Calendar Program, which will reach a billion people in 2009. I have worked in the gift, stationery and publishing industries for over 30 years and am currently the Director of Sales & 16 Peace Day 2008
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