Yesterday, renowned Olympians, peace leaders, artists and musicians came together at University College London’s Olympic Centre to celebrate the Olympic spirit of peace and universal friendship at a special event entitled “A Moment’s Peace.” (Photo: Ashish Zubaty)
Nine-time Olympic gold medallist Carl Lewis highlighted the event by unveiling the “World Peace Dreamer” statue, a bronze sculpture depicting renowned peace leader Sri Chinmoy holding an Olympic-style peace torch, which will be offered as a gift to the City of London. “This statue will remind us of the highest ideals of the Olympic Games – peace and friendship between all nations,” Lewis said. “Sri Chinmoy was my mentor for more than thirty years, and the most peaceful person I have ever known.” Joining Lewis on stage were fellow Olympians Tegla Loroupe — former marathon world record holder — and Bob Beamon, CEO of Art of the Olympians, whose Olympic long jump record 44 years ago remains unbroken. “This statue embodies the same spirit of oneness, brotherhood and friendship which has infused the origins and traditions of the Olympics, both ancient and modern, and which to this day gives the Games their unique appeal,” Loroupe said.
The event was hosted by Cathy Oerter’s Art of the Olympians (AOTO), an organization founded by Cathy’s husband, four-time Olympic discus champion Al Oerter, to help Olympians promote the highest ideals of humanity through their creative talents. Among the illustrious visionaries who spoke about their dreams for a more peaceful world were the daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr. and CEO of The King Center, Dr. Bernice A. King;the daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and founder/executive director of the Tutu Institute for Prayer and Pilgrimage, Reverend Mpho Tutu; the daughter of Muhammad Ali and respected philanthropist, Khaliah Ali; the daughter of legendary Olympian Jesse Owens and managing director of the Jesse Owens Foundation, Marlene Owens-Rankin; CEO of Nelson Mandela’s Children’s Fund Sibongile Mkhabela; Portuguese Paralympian Jorge Pina; and former President of the General Conference of UNESCO, Dr. Davidson Hepburn. “A Moment’s Peace” was organized by the World Harmony Run, a 140-nation torch relay founded by Sri Chinmoy in 1987 to foster peace, harmony and friendship among the peoples of the world. In keeping with the AOTO spirit of connecting art and the Olympics, legendary Russian singer-songwriter Boris Puroshottama Grebenshikov performed a specially written song with the London Choir. In addition, the “World Harmony Art Exhibition,” featuring paintings by Sri Chinmoy, opened at the University College London.