Chestnut Hill Rotary in collaboration with the Chestnut Hill Garden District celebrated the dedication of an IIPT Peace Park this past week in this proud Philadelphia (U.S.A.) community.
The dedication included the installation of a plaque in memory of Johanna Sigmund, who was killed in the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. Johanna was the daughter of John and Ruth Sigmund. The Chestnut Hill Peace Park is meant to be an oasis amidst busy urban life – a place people can go to sit, meditate and find peace.
In addressing the enthusiastic crowd gathered for the dedication, IIPT Founder and President, Lou D’Amore expressed appreciation to Emily Daeschler, Chestnut Hill Garden District President; Larry Schofer and Christina Spolsky, Chestnut Hill Rotary; and Kate O’Neill, Chestnut Hill Business District for their efforts in making the Peace Park a reality. He also gave a brief history of the IIPT Global Peace Parks Project beginning with its initial seeding in Seaforth Park in the center of Vancouver, Canada on the first day of the IIPT First Global Conference: Tourism – A Vital Force for Peace that brought together 800 persons from 68 countries and launched the ‘Peace through Tourism’ Movement.
Four years later – IIPT commemorated Canada’s 125th birthday with a “Peace Parks across Canada” project that was launched from three sites: Seaforth Park, Vancouver, Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park – the world’s first International Peace Park and Victoria Park, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island – birthplace of Canadian Confederation.
Peace Parks across Canada resulted in 350 peace parks being dedicated by cities and towns from St. John’s, Newfoundland on the shores of the Atlantic, across five time zones to Victoria, British Colombia on the shores of the Pacific. The Peace Parks were dedicated at Noon local time, October 8, 1992 as a National Peace Keeping Monument was being unveiled in Ottawa, the Nation’s capital, and 5,000 Peacekeepers passing in review. Each park dedicated with a ‘bosco sacro’ – a peace grove of 12 trees, symbolic of Canada’s 10 Provinces and 2 Territories, and a symbol of hope for the future. Of the more than 25,000 Canada 125 projects, “Peace Parks across Canada” was said to be the most significant.
On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the first year of the new millennium – the IIPT Global Peace Parks Project was launched at Bethany Beyond the Jordan, the baptismal site of Christ as a legacy of the IIPT Amman Global Summit.
There are currently some 450 IIPT Peace Parks located throughout the world. Recent dedications include Sun River National Park, Pu’er, China; Danzai Wanda, Guizhou Province, China – developed as a Tourism Town for poverty alleviation, dedicated as an “IIPT Town of Peace;” and just west of Philadelphia in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – the IIPT Peace Promenade along the Susquehanna River.
Other speakers included Larry Schofer, president of the Chestnut Hill Rotary Club, who emphasized that the Rotary motto of “service above self” includes working with the local community. “The Peace Park is a great local addition to our community and shows what organizations can accomplish by working together,” he said.
Emily Daeschler, President, Chestnut Hill Garden District, said her group will continue to work to beautify the community and thanked Burke Brothers for their donation of garden care.
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