>> January 31 - February 1: Global Convention on Peace and Nonviolence
About 50 delegates from 27 countries, 100 delegates from India and ten special invitees gathered at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi, to discuss the present world scenario and mobilise global opinion for restoring peace in the world.
The two-day Convention has been organised by the Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti, New Delhi. It was inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who called for reform and restructuring of the UN to make it more effective in dealing with the challenges of today's world. He further stated that the UN was the single most important contributor in preventing any major war after second world war, but now it was time to reform and restructure it. He said that the importance of treaties for peace and disarmament adopted bilaterally, regionally and in the United Nations should not be belittled.
Vajpayee stressed the need for collective action to attain the goal of disarmament and specifically elimination of all weapons of Mass Destruction in the 21st century.
Asserting that terrorism inspired by religious extremism was one of the major threats to global peace, the Prime Minister said it should be dealt with firmly both through the action of individual nations and through international solidarity. Read his full length speech
The Global Convention discussed the issues of strengthening of United Nations, and more particularly the Security Council, to effectively perform its responsibility for the preservation of peace and security in the world, disarmament, fighting terrorism and promoting universal brotherhood and harmony among all religious, ethnic, linguistic and other groups. The Gandhian concept of World Peace and its practical value in the current context was taken up for in-depth discussion.
Eminent persons including former Heads of States and peace activists and scholars from across the world took part in the two-day convention which includes former German President Mr. Richard von Weizsäcker, former President of Indonesia Mr. Abdurrahman Wahid, former Tanzanian Prime Minister Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, former Prime Minister of Nepal, Mr. Girija Prasad Koirala as well as scientists and eminent personalities.
Delegates visiting Gandhi Samadhi, the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Richard von Weizsäcker. the inaugural session, there were parallel sessions on the three broad themes of the Convention. Former Indian Prime Minister, Mr. I.K. Gujral chaired the session on 'Strengthening of United Nations'. The former Tanzanian Prime Minister, Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim was the co-chairman. The former German President, Mr. Richard von Weizsäcker chaired the session on 'Disarmament, Peace, fighting terrorism and promoting universal brotherhood', while eminent Gandhian activist Ms. Nirmala Deshpande was the co-chair. The former President of Indonesia, Mr. Abdurrahman Wahid chaired the session on 'Gandhian Concept of World Peace', and Acharya Ramamurthy co-chaired this session.
>> Monday, February 9: Cinema for Peace, Berlin 2004
War, terrorism and humanitarian catastrophes are sad realities in many parts of the world. For the most part, our perception of this world is shaped by the media and by pictures. Within this context, film has a particularly important role to play.
This is why each year Cinema for Peace invites movie makers from all over the world to a gala night in Berlin, creating a platform for peace and tolerance. During the course of the gala, an award is presented to an important director whose film has served as a particular example - in 2002 this was István Szábo and in 2003 it was Danis Tanovic for his Oscar-winning Bosnian anti-war satire "No Mans Land".
Cinema for Peace works together with the United Nation´s children´s organisation UNICEF as well as, for the first time in 2004, the American Foundation for Aids Research amfAR. The organizers aim to make a contribution towards creating tolerance, understanding and peace - a contribution from the world of media and film that will last for more than just this one day. The gala ranks among the most exclusive international events of its kind.
This year, academy award winner Liza Minelli joined movie legend Christopher Lee to host Cinema for Peace 2004. The gala took place on February 9 in the historic Konzerthaus. Celebrities from around the globe attended the social climax of the Berlin International Film Festival. Christina Rau, wife of Germany's Federal President Johannes Rau, acted as patroness.
In the beginning a choir sang Beethoven's "Ode to Joy"; Christopher Lee and Mahatma Gandhi's granddaughter, Ela Gandhi, kindled the World Peace Flame.
The approximately 600 invited international and German guests attended a brilliant evening. The festivities revolved around the presentation of the "Diamond Cinema for Peace Award." This year two jeweled trophies were presented: One went to filmmaker Lars von Trier whose life's work reflects the principles of Cinema for Peace - peace, humanity and fostering understanding among nations -, and conveys them to a large audience. Amongst his films are "Dogville" and "Dancer in the Dark". The award for this years' best film - "Country of My Skull" - was received by its director John Boorman.
Prominent guests contributed to the charity by endowing it with special gifts. These often very personal prizes were auctioned off during the gala. Principal sponsor Volkswagen contributed a vehicle to the auction. Such endorsements guarantee the organizers aim, especially in conjunction with the extraordinary program composed by director Jaka Bizilj (Star Entertainment) to correspond with the gala's political and social causes. Apart of Volkswagen, the event was supported by several other institutions and companies, such as Coca Cola, Eurostar Diamond Traders, DTC, Christie's, and the GandhiServe Foundation.
Liza Minelli swept back the years with a well-received reprise of "Welcome to the cabaret,'' the song from the movie "Cabaret", set mostly in Berlin, that won her an Oscar in 1972. It was a pricey do with 52 guests paying 1,000 Euro (US$1,270) each to hear her croon. Add to that the auction of a Vivienne Westwood dress, a VW Beetle car signed by Matt Damon ...
This years Cinema for Peace raised nearly 300,000 Euro. The money goes to a UNICEF program aiming to assist children in war-beset regions, and for AIDS research by amfAR.
Impressions of the event
The following events are held in cooperation with the Tagore Centre at the Indian Embassy.
Venue: Embassy of the Republic of India, Tiergartenstrasse 17, 10785 Berlin-Tiergarten, Germany.
Entrance is free except the seminar on November 6. The events are largely held in German language.
>> Saturday, October 2, 2004, 18:00 hrs.
Festival programme on the occassion of Mahatma Gandhi's 135th birth anniversary
In cooperation with Sonnensegel e.V.
>> Saturday, November 6, 2004, 10:30 - 16:30 hrs.: Seminar Mahatma Gandhi and Ethics at School
Speeches and discussions about the possibility/necessity of implementing ethical values as represented by Mahatma Gandhi and others at school. In cooperation with Global Ethic Foundation.