United States 24 August: New York City

A global celebration

Executive Director Salil Wilson welcomed all of our guests, runners and volunteers from over 45 countries of the 100 countries we are visiting this year. Salil noted that we were celebrating the end of the 10,000 mile North American Run, the continuation of the European and Russian Runs as well as marking the very beginnings of the 'Round the World' southern hemisphere relay where we plan to visit all of the 44 nations that are wholly in the southern hemisphere.

A team of runners who had been carrying the torch in their own countries had come to New York for this special celebration.

We paused for a moment of silence.

Our choir performed a medley of Sri Chinmoy's Peace Run and World Harmony Run songs arranged and conducted by Paree Atkin. This choir will be performing at the Colosseum in Rome to celebrate the United Nations International Day of Peace on September 21.

Paree and the choir take a bow.

Our visiting runners introduced themselves during a parade of nations.

European Team Captain Devashishu Torpy introduced our Torch-Bearer Award program honoring people of dedication and inspiration.

Our dear friend Cathy Oerter, CEO of the Al Oerter Foundation as well as inspired Peace Run organizer and participant, introduced our first Torch-Bearer recipient.

We were honored and delighted to have Richard Kind, a renowned actor, with us today. Through his acting Richard has bought joy, entertainment and inspiration to millions around the world. Richard captivated and motivated us with his reflections on where we currently find ourselves in society. He spoke of our individual responsibility to stand for what is right and what is good in this world.

Jayashri Wyatt, who regularly serves as a consultant for the United Nations and its various agencies, introduced our next Torch-Bearer recipient, Paloma Escudero.

Paloma Escudero serves as the Director of the Division of Communication for UNICEF. Her self-giving and tireless dedication to bringing the world's attention to the needs and rights of children all over the world is truly remarkable.

Our final Torch-Bearer recipient was introduced by Abhejali Bernardová. Abhejali is an extraordinarily accomplished swimmer who has recently completed Oceans Seven - swimming seven major crossings of open water around the world.
The swim crossings include The English Channel, the Strait of Gibraltar, Catalina Channel in California, Tsugaru Channel (Japan), the Irish Channel between Ireland and Scotland, Molokai (Kaiwi) Channel in Hawaii and the Cook Strait between the north and south islands of New Zealand.

Our final recipient was Pavel Sporcl, renowned Czech violinist and humanitarian. Pavel brings life and enthusiasm to his performances and his main goal through music is to bring joy and inspiration to all his listeners. Through his regular TV show he introduces children to classical music in a fun and engaging way. A true champion of human rights Pavel leads by example, lighting a path for us to follow.

Mr. Miroslav Klíma, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations (right) and Mr. Karel Smekal, Deputy Consul General of the Czech Consulate (left) presented Pavel with the Torch-Bearer award.

Our Torch-Bearer recipients togther.

H.E. Ms. Bergdis Ellertsdottir, Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations.

Ms. Dijana Delaye, First Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Croatia to the United Nations.

Mr. Juan Manuel Mongelós, Second Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Paraguay to the United Nations.

H.E. Nuno Mathias, Deputy Permanent Representative of Portugal to the United Nations.

Colonel Sapenafa Motufaga, Military and Police Adviser of the Permanent Mission of Fiji to the United Nations.

Mr. Namgyal Dorji, Second Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Bhutan to the United Nations.

H.E. Mrs. Amparo Mele Colifa, Deputy Permanent Representative of Equatorial Guinea to the United Nations.

Mr. Nirmal Raj Kafle, Chargé d'affaires of the Permanent Mission of Nepal to the United Nations.

Mr. Hajime Jimmy Kishimori, Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations.

H.E. Gheorghe Necula, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of Romania to the United Nations.

H.E. Mr. V. Va'inga Tone, Permanent Representative of Tonga to the United Nations.

Ms. Ranjana Ghose, President of the Sri Chinmoy Centre, offered the closing remarks and presented each guest with a compilation of Sri Chinmoy's writings on happiness.

Salil read an excerpt from a very encouraging letter from our dear brother-friend Archbishop Desmond Tutu. "Sri Chinmoy gave the world the Peace Run with its flaming Peace Torch which I have held many times. I invite each one of you to take the torch of peace and run and run and run. Together, we can and together we must run fast, very fast to bring peace to every corner of the globe!"