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World Peace Day Celebrations At Parliament

MEDIACOM-RELEASE-UNESCO

WORLD PEACE DAY CELEBRATIONS AT PARLIAMENT

New Zealand joins 195 other nations around the world in celebrating World Peace Day on Tuesday, 19 September.

The Day is being particularly celebrated this year because the Year 2000 is the United Nations International Year for a Culture of Peace.

In New York, a delegation of children and young people from Brazil, India, Colombia, France and Algeria will make a symbolic presentation to the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Harri Holkeri, of 50 million signatures gathered from around the world for the Manifesto 2000 for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence.

In New Zealand, meanwhile, the day is being marked with an action-packed celebration at Parliament organised by the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO which has responsibility for co- ordinating activities for the International Year. During the evening, six young New Zealanders will present a signed copy of the Manifesto to the evening's host, Parliament's Speaker, the Rt. Hon. Jonathon Hunt.

The New Zealand celebrations will be launched with a choir singing the Millennium Peace Song commissioned by well-known Wellington composer Dorothy Buchanan.

Former All-Black Michael Jones is to be honoured with the month's UNESCO Peacebuilder Award for his work for the "Fair Play in Sport" campaign. Michael is a role model for many young sports fans, and the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO believes the selection of a sportsman as peacebuilder is timely with the Olympics underway in Sydney. The Fair Play in Sport campaign is part of an international movement for fair play and aims to ensure an ethical environment for sport which will benefit both participants and society at large.

The evening will be topped off with a high-profile media debate that promises plenty of fireworks. Is the media to blame for some of the ills of society or is it just a case of shooting the messenger? Bill Ralston is chairing the discussion on the subject "The Media has a Responsibility to promote Peace". Media panel members are political commentator and journalist Jane Clifton, Wairoa Mayor and Mana Media Director Derek Fox and the Head of the Canterbury Journalism School, Jim Tully. A wide variety of political views will be presented by Broadcasting Minister the Hon Marion Hobbs, ACT MP Stephen Franks and Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control, the Hon Matt Robson.

The Chairman of the New Zealand Steering Committee for the United Nations International year for a Culture of Peace, Pat Lynch, says this event, and the many other activities that have taken place during the Year, aim to encourage people to think about peace and the attitudes and values required to enable people to live peacefully together.

"Conflict is inevitable. The way we as individuals respond to conflict determines whether or not we live in peace. With some five million people killed in civil conflicts around the world in the 1990s, peace is clearly something we need to think about. Tolerance of others, tolerance of difference and our capacity to talk and listen to one another are essential prerequisites," Mr Lynch said.

ENDS


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