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Inaugural International “Arts for Peace” Festival to Foster Awareness of Peace
2014-05-04

The inaugural International “Arts for Peace” Festival, a first-of-its kind collaboration between the UNESCO Observatory for Research in Local Cultures and Creativity in Education (RLCCE), the UNESCO Hong Kong Association and several key international organisations, officially kicked off today (4 May) with a launch ceremony followed by a two-hour “Arts for Peace” experience held at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Wan Chai.

 

Designed to tie in with International Arts Education Week (mandated by UNESCO as the fourth week of May each year), the event was attended by an audience of more than 3,000. Among the host of dignitaries present were overseas guests from more than 20 countries (including representatives from the UNESCO Observatory for RLCCE’s nine international arts education co-organisers), Consuls General of more than ten countries and a number of high-profile guests of honour, including the President of the Asia-Pacific Federation of UNESCO Clubs, Centers and Associations and the UNESCO Chair in Arts and Learning, Canada.

 

The event itself was built around the “Peace for All” vision and featured a host of local and international participants, all united in their desire to unleash the potent force of the arts for peaceful ends. Recognising that the world today is beset by conflict and that restorative action is urgently required, Professor Samuel Leong, Director of the UNESCO RLCCE Observatory and Convenor of the International “Arts for Peace” Festival, drew the audience’s attention to the fact that 2014 marked the 100th anniversary of World War I while simultaneously reflecting on the fact that the arts are a potent force in promoting peace. “The messages that ‘Peace is Wealth for Life’ and that ‘the Arts reflect the prosperity of the soul and society’, are important reminders that it is peace, and not the transient gains of money or material possessions, that is the real key to individual fulfillment”, he said.

 

In recognising the Festival’s significance, Professor Patrick Lau Sau-shing, President of the UNESCO Hong Kong Association, said it was at the heart of the organisation’s aim of engaging Hong Kong as a fully equal and inclusive world city. “By fostering an awareness of peace and education for sustainable development through the powerful practices and processes of the arts, this event promises to be a unique and extraordinary experience for the audience – as they not only observe, but more importantly participate and interact in the co-creation of the peace message with the international and local presenters and performers taking part in the event,” Professor Lau said.

 

Drawing on the five aspects of peace – individual, social, cultural, political and ecological – the two-hour launch event highlighted the underlying community ethos of the Festival by gathering together individuals from a variety of backgrounds, including the disabled, children and senior citizens of Hong Kong. This emphasis on diversity and inclusivity, along with encouraging the audience to observe, feel and participate in the co-creation of the peace message, were crucial elements in enabling the event to achieve its ultimate aim of transforming the hearts and minds of the audience through the power of the arts.


View Large Image International “Arts for Peace” Festival is officially kicked off at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Wan Chai.
(from the left):
Dr Ernst Wagner, UNESCO Chair in Arts & Culture in Education, Germany
Professor Larry O’Farrell, UNESCO Chair in Arts and Learning, Canada
Mr Yoo Jay Kun, President, Asia-Pacific Federation of UNESCO Clubs
Professor Samuel Leong, Director of the UNESCO RLCCE Observatory and Convenor of the International “Arts for Peace” Festival
Professor Patrick Lau Sau-shing, President of the UNESCO Hong Kong Association
Professor Stephen Cheung Yan-leung, President of HKIEd
Dr Darwin Chen, Vice-President (Culture), UNESCO-HK Association
Professor Margaret Barrett, Chair of World Alliance for Arts Education

View Large Image Professor Samuel Leong, Director of the UNESCO RLCCE Observatory and Convenor of the International “Arts for Peace” Festival, says the messages that ‘Peace is Wealth for Life’ and that ‘the Arts reflect the prosperity of the soul and society’, are important reminders that it is peace, and not the transient gains of money or material possessions, that is the real key to individual fulfillment.

View Large Image Professor Patrick Lau Sau-shing, President of the UNESCO Hong Kong Association, says by fostering an awareness of peace and education for sustainable development through the powerful practices and processes of the arts, this event promises to be a unique and extraordinary experience for the audience.

View Large Image More than 3,000 participants enjoy the two-hour “Arts for Peace" experience.

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For media enquiries, please contact Ms Vivian Leung of the Department of Culture and Creative Arts at HKIEd at 2948 6425.