Speech Christopher Barrington, Director Dru UK
Director Dru UK
At the inauguration of the World Peace Flame Pathway, The Hague
April 27th 2004
Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great privilege to be invited to share with you the historic context of the World Peace Flame. As many of you will know, the World Peace Flame was forged from seven flames, lit by eminent peacemakers and flown from five continents by military air forces. It represents the aspirations for the peace of humanity as a whole, and reminds us that we can make a difference in this world.
Since July 1999 we believe that the World Peace Flame has been presented to over ten million people, including political leaders, entertainers, educators and people from all walks of life. The list of people and organisations that have been presented with it is extraordinary and far-reaching.
This first permanent World Peace Flame Monument was installed here at The Hague in April 2002 and since then several other flames have been installed around the World. World Peace Flame monuments have been installed in North Wales, Sydney Australia, and the first World Peace Flame monument in the United States of America was installed at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee in September 2002.
In December 2002, sixty Leaders from all walks of life including the political, media, and entertainment worlds expressed their commitment to support the World Peace Flame project, in a unique forum that took place in Los Angeles.
The World Peace Flame is a celebration of unity in diversity. It is instantly recognised by everyone, and few people are unmoved by its presence. As the Northern Ireland peacemaker and Nobel Laureate John Hume said:
“All conflict is about difference; whether the difference is race, religion, or nationality. European visionaries decided that difference is not a threat, difference is natural. Difference is of the essence of humanity. Difference is not an accident of birth and therefore it should never be the source of hatred or conflict. The answer to difference is to respect it. Therein lies a most fundamental principle for peace: Respect for diversity.”
For the last two years, the World Peace Flame has opened and presided over the Cinema for Peace gala at the Berlin Film Festival, where some of the most famous entertainers of our time have given their support to the World Peace Flame. People like Dustin Hoffman, George Clooney, Christopher Lee, Liza Minnelli, and many others.
The success of the World Peace Flame is recognition that people do want peace in this world, and there is no doubt in my mind that one day we will install World Peace Flame monuments in cities and towns all over the world. Already the World Peace Flame is to be installed in Zeeland, here in the Netherlands, in just a few days.
To conclude, my colleague Andrew Wells here, who was at the Earth Summit in Rio, South America, reminded me that the first Prime Minister to speak was the Prime Minister of India at that time, Narasimha Rao. He started with a powerful and intriguing analogy. He said that at one time there were two brothers. One of them went West and learned all about the way that the outer World functions, but totally neglected the inner world of the heart. The other brother went East, and he learned all about the inner world of the heart, but ignored the outer, material world. Today, at the inauguration of this World Peace Flame Pathway those two brothers have come together, each realising they need what the other has learned, discovered, and integrated into their life.
The World Peace Flame that stands at the centre of this monument represents the combined wisdom of all branches of humanity; therefore the World Peace Flame stands as a symbol that brings together all cultures, creeds, and philosophies.
Ladies and Gentlemen, There is no better time to begin this journey than Now!