Many of our most successful events are in partnership with municipalities and local government. Here are a few ideas and case studies, taken from our 30+ years of running with the Peace Torch to towns and cities all over America....
Welcome the runners to town
A welcome can be as simple as the mayor meeting with the runners at City Hall, and maybe even running a little with us! Or it can be a chance to show the very best of what your town has to offer, by organising a welcoming ceremony or parade.
Involve the children
In many ways, programs for children and young people are at the core of our Peace Run. The simplicity, dynamism and joy of the Run creates a profound and even life-changing experience for our young future peace-dreamers and peace-builders.
We have programmes for all age ranges - we can visit schools, summer camps, youth groups - you name it!
Often, local running or sports clubs comes and meet us at the town limits, and run with us all the way into town, giving everyone a chance to run with the Peace Torch along the way. We also love to take part in running races with our Peace Torch.
Plant a tree for peace
We have many trees dedicated to Peace around the world that were planted when the Peace Runners came to town. Then for many years after, these trees become a perfect place for people to pause and offer a moment's reflection on the things that connect us all as human beings.
To give one example - every municipality in Iceland now has their very own Peace Tree. Each tree has a plaque containing an inspiring reflection on peace, and the logos of both the Peace Run and the local municipality.
Case study 1: San Diego
- Five months of planning in coordination with San Diego Unified School District - the eighth largest in the US - resulted in visits to twelve schools over four days reaching over 7,000 children and adults.
- Preparatory meetings with an organising committee at each school resulted in signifcant teacher involvement and consequently excellent student preparation.
- District-wide participation in art and poetry project, with selections sent to Rome for an international exhibition at the Colosseum.
- Grand Finale: Evening of Excellence event showcasing the students’ creative expressions for peace including music, dance and song. An excellent opportunity for parent and teacher participation.
SUPPORT: Superintendent, San Diego Unified School District
FACILITATING PARTNER ORGANISATIONS: Visual and Performing Arts Department, San Diego Unified School District
SUPPORTING PARTNER ORGANISATIONS: Al Oerter Foundation, Art of the Olympians
Educator, Teacher and (then) Superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District (currently serving as United States Deputy Secretary of Education)
I speak on behalf of the Board of Education, and I speak as an educator, a teacher and as a Superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District when I talk about the work that happens through the Peace Run.
I first experienced the Peace Run when I was principal at Central Elementary. The team came to our school and the students wrote their essays on what peace means to them. And we began to imagine peace not just in our school, but in our city, in our state, in our nation, and across the world.
As the torch gets passed literally across the world, spreading peace, each individual person finds their own way to engage in peace, whether it is through art, through dance, through music, through the spoken word or through the written word. What we learn through the Peace Run folks is that peace comes from within and we express it in multiple ways. We express it from our hearts as we make wishes and intentions for a beautiful world. I watched it happen at Central and said it would be wonderful if this could be across this whole district.
What really ends up happening is that individual children across this entire district begin to imagine peace. And we know that when you make a wish for something and you feel this wish coming from within, you don’t always know how or when your wish is going to come true, but when you believe in that wish and you hold on to it and you gather people around that intention, things begin to happen. And that is what you could never even plan.
To see children in twelve schools envisioning peace, manifesting peace in their communities, I know change will happen. And today more than ever do we need peace! And it happens — one child, one thought, one action, and as the Peace Run teaches us — one step at a time. That step begins with each of us.
I am so grateful to be a part of this and the work that happened. Thank you very much, everybody!”
Address at the Peace Run Ceremony in San Diego, March 23rd, 2017
Case study 2: Timor-Leste
Three days of national and local government events, school visits, athletic and musical events in the National Capital of Dili and nearby villages Liquica and Maubara.
Launch ceremony at the National Parliament with the Prime Minister, HE Rui Maria de Araújo, and President of the Parliament, HE Adérito Hugo da Costa. Included a torch lighting and traditional performances followed by 1 km mass participation walk in the Parliament district with country leaders, government civil servants, national athletes, youth and civic organisations.
School Visits – 11 schools over three days featuring numerous performances by students with music, singing, spoken word, artwork and dance.
Community Run/Walk – 5 km run/walk though the streets of Dili, the capital, involving numerous community groups joining along the way. National hero Xanana Gusmão and the President of the Parliament completed the entire event (picture). The run/walk culminated with a concert, dancing and award presentation.
SUPPORT: Prime Minister, President of the Parliament
FACILITATING PARTNER ORGANISATIONS: Department of Youth and Sport
SUPPORTING PARTNER ORGANISATIONS: Department of Tourism, Police Department, Education Department
Mara Bernardes de Sá
Peace Run Focal Point, Timor-Leste
My role with the Peace Run formally began at a joint meeting with the departmental leaders from Youth and Sport, Tourism, Education and Police. In this meeting the main priorities and aspects of the Peace Run visit were discussed and the steps forward outlined.
As a focal point my role was to liaise between the various departments as well as develop and organise the proposed events.
I began by building the event around school visits for the Peace Run team as this is one of their core competencies. We selected schools both in the region of the capital as well as in some outlying districts.
Then we added in a formal launch involving our Prime Minister and President of Parliament which also involved schoolchildren as well as many Presidential candidates.
The highlight for me was the finale event of the Peace Run – a 5 km run/walk through the streets of Dili – our capital. We involved many community groups who joined us along the way and I was very proud that the historical leader and the first President of Timor-Leste, Xanana Gusmão, covered the entire distance. The 5 km community walk culminated with a family event featuring a concert and traditional dancing – it was much fun and a fitting way to finish wonderful days with the Peace Run.
The Peace Run is a very effective and fruitful project and furthers and deepens all efforts to promote a culture of peace and understanding among all inhabitants of a nation.
Over 700 students of the Escola Bazica e Secundario Catolica Sao Inaciao de Loyola Kasait sharing a silent moment of goodwill for the world.