by Yoko Ono
I cherished being given an award from an organization called Seeds of Peace. They are doing very important work – bringing kids from different, warring countries to a beautiful summer camp to let them get to know each other. It’s working! At the Seeds of Peace ceremony, I heard so many kids speak about how they think differently now about people from so-called enemy territories.
SEEDS OF PEACE AWARD CEREMONY
NEW YORK CITY, MAY 15, 2008
Seeds of Peace, indeed. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the “Acorns for Peace” event by John and I. So I cherished being given an award from an organization called Seeds of Peace. They are doing very important work – bringing kids from different, warring countries to a beautiful summer camp to let them get to know each other. It’s working! At the Seeds of Peace ceremony, I heard so many kids speak about how they think differently now about people from so-called enemy territories.
The concept of Seeds of Peace fits right into the ideals and beliefs John and I shared for the world. Through the camp, boundaries and differences melt away, and these children become one. I am very, very impressed.
I was so moved by the positive energy in the room, that I threw out my prepared speech and spoke from my heart about what John and I did forty years ago. Planting the acorns was the first Peace Event John and I did together. I planted one acorn in the East, and John planted one acorn in the West. We were all brought up thinking “East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet.” But because John and I were so much in love, we couldn’t let the two acorns have any space between them. John immediately put his acorn right next to mine. With our love, we shortened the distance of East and West without thinking. When we noticed what we did, we thought we created a revolution in the field of physics!
I was so honored to be given an award by people who are giving peace a chance in a very effective way. Also, it was just nice to see so many others who still believe in the goodness of the heart.
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SEEDS of PEACE is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization dedicated to empowering young people from regions of conflict with the skills required to advance dialogue and reconciliation. For the past fifteen summers, Seeds of Peace has brought Palestinian, Israeli, Egyptian, and Jordanian teenagers to its International Camp in Maine to dispel fear, hatred, and misunderstanding, and to foster a new generation of leaders. It has since expanded its scope to include youth from India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. The internationally-recognized Seeds of Peace conflict-resolution model begins at camp and continues through regional follow-up programming in campers’ home countries. Participants develop empathy, respect, and confidence, as well as the leadership, communication, and negotiation skills necessary to facilitate peaceful coexistence for the next generation. Since its inception in 1993, Seeds of Peace has graduated almost 4,000 teenagers from nearly a dozen nations worldwide. http://www.seedsofpeace.org
15th Annual Seeds of Peace Gala & Awards Ceremony, The Plaza Hotel, NY NY USA, 15 May 2008.
Honoring Yoko Ono & Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.
MC: Harry Smith, The Early Show, CBS.
Yoko Ono is an artist, singer, songwriter, musician, filmmaker, and peace activist who lives and works in New York City.
Zalmay Khalilzad is the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. He formerly served as the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan