United States 21 June: Seattle, Washington
Gigantic day in Seattle!
The day commenced with the presentation of The Peace Run Torch Bearer Award to Mr Dale Chihuly, an exceptionally creative leader in the art of glass blowing. Dale was given the award for his lifetime of service to the Arts. The award was presented in the beautiful Atrium Collections Cafe, part of the Chihuly Garden and Glass Exhibit at the Seattle Centre.
Pilchuck Glass School Executive Director Jim Baker spoke about Dale's creation of the Pilchuck Glass School in 1971. Dale started the school as an experiment. It has developed into an internaionally renowned model for bringing together people from diverse walks of life. The school's pioneering activities have led to the development of the field of blown glass as an accepted art form.
Mr Jamie Walker, Director of Art and Art History at the University of Washington, commended Dale on the enormity of his artistic achievements, as well as his kindness and support to other artists. He told of Dale facilitating networking and employment opportunities on countless occasions to fledgling artists. Jamie also spoke of the artistic creative process being a type of peaceful communion with the universe.
Provost Moira Scott Payne from the Cornish College of the Arts spoke of Dale's pioneering achievements in the world of glass blowing. He worked with engineers and architects to produce completely new types of glass artworks. Moira highlighted Dale's renown as a philanthropist, as well as an artist.
To conclude, congratulatory statements from many well wishers were read to the audience. The Honorable Edward B Murray, Mayor of Seattle; The Honorable Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington State, Mr Robert Stacey, Dean at the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington; Ms Kimberly Rorschach, Director and CEO at the Seattle Art Museum, President Rosanne Somerson, President of the Rhode Island School of Design and Ms Cindy Stinger from the United States Olympic Committee all provided their written congratulations to Dale for being offered the Peace Run Torch Bearer Award.
The Peace Run team enjoyed Dale's spectacularly bright, luminous, beautifully crafted glass installations.
The Peace Run team then gathered at the nearby Seattle Centre Peace Blossom plaque, dedicated some years earlier.
The first Peace Run school ceremony was held at the Northwest Montessori School. Although small in number, the children were quickly able to guess the home country of each runner. The Peace Run song was sung. Children gave excellent examples of how they become more peaceful in their own lives, including being quiet; praying for peace; reading books; listening to the silence in the air and listening to the sounds of nature.
The second school ceremony was held at Thurgood Marshall School. Hundreds of children were able to participate.
A Certificate of Appreciation and artwork by Sri Chinmoy titled "Universal Love" was presented to the school.
The children performed an impressive collection of songs, including the Australian folk song "Waltzing Matilda".
A Certificate of Appreciation was presented to the school, who in turn presented the team with beautiful beaded pins that they had made themselves. The team was also given Peace Pledges prepared by children from the Illumination Learning Studio in Greenwood.
The team were offered much-needed laundy services by the beautiful Transformation Surprise laundromat, right next door to Illumination Learning Studio.
In the evening, a Torch Bearer Award Ceremony was held at the wonderful Silence-Heart-Nest Restaurant. Agraha explained that Sri Chinmoy himself honored many, many people via activities such as the Lifting-Up-The-World-With-A-Oneness-Heart program. The Peace Run Torch Bearer Award was developed as a humble attempt to continue that tradition.
Salil explained that the North American Run has covered approximately 5,000 miles after 2 months of running. The team expect to finish on August 13 in New York.
Suzie Burke was presented with the Torchbearer Award for her visionary zeal and dynamic contirbutions to the development of a more peaceful Seattle.
Doctor Virender Sodhi was presented with the Torch Bearer Award for his pioneering natural treatments for serious ailments.
Mr Jamal Rahman received the Torch Bearer Award for his Interfaith leadership. Jamal co-founded the Interfaith Community Sanctuary and is a renowned speaker and author.
Bob Martin (left) appears here with Kwame Turner. Bob received the Torch Bearer Award for helping to create much-needed schools in northern Ethiopia and elsewhere.
Kwame received his Award for his tireless service and support for peace initiatives.
Laura James (left) is a diver whose efforts at educating the community about the effects of water pollution off the coast of Seattle are contributing to improvements in ocean conservation practises.
Evan Briggs (centre) is a documentary film maker who is willing to make sacrifices to support causes that she believes in. She is currently working on a documentary about the Intergenerational Learning Centre in West Seattle. This Centre is a pioneering facility that is tranforming the lives of its elderly residents, by hosting a child care centre within its walls. The remarkable positive results of this collaboration are set to revolutionise community attitudes to nursing homes and child care centres into the future. Evan's short trailer about the facility has triggered international interest in the Intergenerational Learning Centre.
The group gathered by the statue of Sri Chinmoy situated by the water. A number of local passers-by were inspired to join the gathering and offer their good wishes.
Our gratitude to Brian McKenzie for playing the bagpipes so beautifully throughout the evening walk.