SuZen sees peace as coming from a peaceful mind and heart. Being patient and accepting and compassionate towards others. She believes each one of us has to create our own inner peace to have peace in the world. Each of us has to be pro-active and work on our own inner being. This is challenging, but we have the capability to create this. For SuZen, peace is very much an inner journey of self-realization. And we each have our own ways of doing it.
To transform a moment of horror into a celebration of peace and life, SuZen has been hosting Universal Peace Day for 28 years. It started on August 5, 1984 at 7:15pm in New York City which coincides with the exact anniversary of when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan in 1945. Universal Peace Day started with meditations, performances, children drawing pictures, a candlelight ceremony, and a performance by Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary. The celebration has evolved to include Riverside Church, the Church of St. Paul & St. Andrews and the UN Church Center. It has also included a bell ringing in Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza near the United Nations.
Building on Universal Peace Day, as well as her experience with Art for the People, SuZen is birthing the New York City Peace Museum. The vision is to create an environment that is healing, celebrates peacemakers, peace education, conflict resolution, and hosts speakers, films, concert series focused on peace. In New York City, where there is still trauma and suffering around the September 11, 2001 attacks, the NYC Peace Museum would hold the space for a culture of peace rather than a culture of war. It would do this through interactive installations: for example, soundscapes or using the internet as way of exchanging visions of peace.
With a Board of Trustees that boasts the likes of UN Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, New York Peace Institute Director Brad Heckman, and sexologist Judy Kuriansky, the New York City Peace Museum is well on its way to having a transformative and magical space (hopefully designed by Daniel Libeskind). Indeed, the process of bringing forth a Peace Museum has been an exercise in strengthening peace and self-realization in and of itself, as the trustees and advisors each work out their own vision of a peace museum.
Be sure to check out Universal Peace Day’s Bell Ringing event on August 5, 2012 in Strawberry Fields in Central Park, New York City starting at 6pm. And if you can’t make it to Central Park, you can ring a bell for peace, no matter where in the world you are.
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