San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

“Builders of Peace” Honored at Close of Season for Peace

THE eighth annual World Season forPeace closed here with an awards ceremonyMarch 31, in the National CulturalCenter (CENAC) theater. Certificates ofrecognition as “builders of peace” weregiven to people and organizations thathave demonstrated values toward creatinga culture of peace. The theater, built in1853 as part of the old liquor factory, lenta touch of grandeur to the program.The World Season for Peace is a universaleffort by the United Nations,national governments, nongovernmentalorganizations and private individuals andcompanies to call attention to the need tocounter violence and to reflect on peaceand peacemaking. The season spans 64days, from Jan. 30, the anniversary ofMahatma Ghandi’s death, to April 4, theday Martin Luther King was assassinated.Both men are remembered for using nonviolentmeasures to fight injustice. Kingled the fight for civil rights for people ofcolor in the United States and Ghandi forthe masses in India.HERE, the season included talks,forums, a vigil, concert, youth rally and aweek of “spontaneous good works.” DulceAmanzor of the Ministry of Justice was thecoordinator of the organizing committee.Gioconda Ubeda gave the keynoteaddress on the establishment of humanrights as a fundamental right. World War IIleft the world horrified at the death,injuries, tortures and imprisonment ofcivilians. In 1948, three years after the warended, the countries of the United Nationssigned the Universal Declaration ofHuman Rights. In the following years, cultural,political, civil and economic rightswere added as well as the rights of childrenand youth, Ubeda told the audience.Music for peace was provided byNatalia Esquivel, who sang and played theguitar and invited the audience to join insome of the songs.APPROXIMATELY 40 women inred uniforms were present to see theirorganization, the Association of Volunteersof the Children’s Hospital, honoredfor serving as caregivers and “cushions”for children who have been injured,burned or abused. Also honored were theCosta Rican Values for Life Association,Volio Coffee Company, Zurquí Química,S.A., Ligia Retana and Cecilia Claramunt,for working in their communities to helpimprove the quality of life, and Ann MarieSeidy, a native New Yorker of Lebanesedescent who has worked for peace on theinternational level, especially for peace inthe Middle East.To close the program, Marianne Lizanaof the Brahama Kumaris Association demonstratedhow to bring peace into our dailylives through a simple exercise. She askedthe audience to close their eyes, breathedeeply and think peace, peace, peace.

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