Timor-Leste 7 February: Dili

National leaders launch the Peace Run

This morning we were delighted to launch the Timor-Leste Peace Run at the National Parliament. We were honored and grateful to have President of the Parliament, HE Adérito Hugo da Costa (left), and Prime Minister, HE Rui Maria de Araújo (right), light the torch for the Peace Run.

Many students joined with us as well.

Prime Minister, HE Rui Maria de Araújo, greets Dr. Agraha.

Salil Wilson, Executive Director, shared a quote of Sri Chinmoy's from when he visited Timor-lest in 2004.

“I bow to the most beautiful soul of Timor-Leste, I bow to the great heroes of your beloved country, who have fought against centuries long bondage night and have freed your country. I bow to each and every citizen of Timor-Leste who is aspiring for a life of progress, goodness and happiness.”

“Freedom, freedom, we need freedom. When we have freedom we can do the right thing and become the right person. But this freedom has to come from within, not from without. For five centuries you were under some countries, one, two, three, Dutch, Portuguese, Indonesia and after 500 years you have achieved independence, your goal. One obstacle you have surmounted but the fight against ignorance is much more difficult. Your love of God, you love for truth, your love for your countrymen, will enable you to again be victorious.”

Secretary of State Youth and Sport, HE Leovigildo Hornai enjoys spending some time with Dili's local athletes.

Prime Minister, HE Rui Maria de Araújo, presented the torch to one of Dili's premier marathon runners, an Olympian who competed in both Beijing and Rio.

Harashita Sunoashi, Director of the Peace Run in Asia Pacific, reflected upon how today's leaders were passing the torch to Timor-Leste's future leaders.

We took great delight in presenting the Peace Run song composed by Sri Chinmoy.

We presented our Torch-Bearer awards to these two heroes, President of the Parliament, HE Adérito Hugo da Costa, and Prime Minister, HE Rui Maria de Araújo. They both exemplify a self-giving spirit to do whatever it takes to help ensure their country fulfils its bright and inspired potential.

Shashanka, from Switzerland, meets Prime Minister, HE Rui Maria de Araújo.

Shumbhani, from Guatemala, takes a rare moment from behind the lens to meet with some of Timor's top sprinters.

Traditional dancers led us on a short walk around the parliament building.

Otis Davis, from New York City, was honored to meet the Prime Minister.

As was Kanyaka from Bali, Indonesia.

We gave out countless cards as mementos.

Our dear friend Mara whose invaluable assistance has helped considerably brings this event to fruition.

One last group shot in front of a huge banner they had printed showing Timor's leaders with the torch.

Our day continued with visits to schools.

Our first school was Escola Bazica Centre de Farrol.

The students enthusiastically joined in the actions to our World Harmony Run song.

A moment of silent reflection.

Our kind and gracious principal.

An appropriate street sign we ran by.

Nikolaus, from Austria, led us into the second school Escola Bazia Filial Nuu Laran.

There was a lot of smiling going on here.

Our helpful translator Orozio Leque, surround by the next generation of peace lovers.

Our very helpful police escort.

Ashirvad, from Brazil, led us into our final school for the day, Escola Portuguesa Rui Cinaty Balide.

We did some skits to demonstrate how we can make the world a more kind and loving place, simply by helping one another.

Nikolaus and Otis demonstrate a 100 m race in slow motion.

Ashirvad receives the ceremonial hand woven scarf.

Biojayanti from Puerto Rico presented the certificate of appreciation.

The principal holds a painting by Peace Run founder Sri Chinmoy entitled World-Harmony.

The teachers did a lap of honor.

View from the top of a nearby hill where there is a statue of Jesus Christ.

Coming back the women's team caught a local bus and made some new friends.

A final coconut for the day.