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Culture of Peace and the Evolution of Consciousness
an article by Iris Spellings

On June 2, 2004 at United Nations Headquarters in New York City a seminar entitled "Building a Culture of Peace and the Evolution of Consciousness" was held under the sponsorship of Aquarian Age Community in association with the UN Department of Public Information.

The meeting opened with a visualization activity and meditative reflection. Participants were asked to consider a culture of peace as "the externalization of the most sacred, most honored and most universally compassionate way of life that you can imagine;" to imagine that it already exists; that it is vital and alive within us and our planet; to reflect on how we would behave, feel, think-and BE within such a culture of peace and to focus clearly, lovingly and with purpose on that vision. Participants were offered the opportunity to share their experience during the latter part of the program, but the hope was that all would retain this experience, build on it and seek out ways to vitalize and actualize this vision from that moment onwards.

Offering keynote thoughts on "The Evolution of Human Consciousness and the Role of Culture", including the Roerich Pact and Banner of Peace and UNESCO’s World Heritage Program, were Ida Urso, Ph.D., President of the Aquarian Age Community and Iris Spellings, Artist and NGO Representative for Operation Peace Through Unity.

Belgian filmmaker and multimedia director, Tito Dupret, gave a tour of his interactive website. He has ambitiously embarked upon the massive project of photographing all of the sites on UNESCO's World Heritage List.

Guest Speaker Anwarul K. Chowdhury, a UN Under-Secretary-General, addressed the essential question: "How Can the UN and Civil Society Promote a Culture of Peace?" His broad perspective and knowledge based on many years of service and experience in this field inspired all.

The audience participated in answering the following questions:

A. What is the UN already doing to foster and facilitate a Culture of Peace in the world?

B. What is my vision of a Culture of Peace -for myself? For my home and community? Within the United Nations and within the World?

C. In what ways can I contribute to a Culture of Peace-in my personal and professional life?

Readers are invited to respond to these, sending them by e-mail to or by postal mail to OPTU, Te Rangi, 4 Allison St., Wanganui 5001, New Zealand.

The full transcripts of this seminar are available on-line.


Question(s) related to this article:

What is the United Nations doing for a culture of peace?,

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Latest reader comment:

Following the Second High Level Forum of the United Nations on the Culture of Peace, Anwarul Chowdhury, a former Under-Secretary General of the UN, had this to say about what the UN is doing for a culture of peace.  His remarks were published by the Independent European Daily Express.

Civil society worldwide has been in the forefront of the global movement for the culture of peace, working diligently and patiently at the grassroots level, he said.

"I find it is the governments and power structures which are the most persistent foot-draggers with regard to advancing the culture of peace through policy steps and action," said Chowdhury, a former U.N. under-secretary-general and currently representing civil society and the Global Movement for the Culture of Peace. . .  

The United Nations, he pointed out, has shown great vision by adopting its historic, norm-setting Declaration and PoA on the Culture of Peace in 1999, but has not been organised enough in making the document a system-wide flagship effort of the world body.

"I am a believer that the world, particularly the governments, will come to realise its true value and usefulness sooner than later," Chowdhury said.

This report was posted on September 13, 2004.