Monday, April 22, 2002

2002 Peace Garden Dedication in Vienna, Austria

Washington, DC—April 22, 2002. The 2002 International Peace Garden will be dedicated in Vienna, Austria at City Hall during a gala ceremony hosted by Mayor Michael Haulp on Monday, April 29. Austria is being honored for its commitment to promoting peace among nations and democracy for their peoples. The dedication, with reception to follow, will be attended by city officials, members of the diplomatic corps and other distinguished guests.

Each year the foundation coordinates the passing of a peace garden to a capital city, guided by a nomination put forth by the preceding year’s recipient. The 2001 Peace Garden was dedicated in Hiroshima, Japan (nominated by The Hague in 2000). Although not a capital city, Hiroshima was selected for the special role they play in promoting global peace.

The City of Vienna, as a mutual member of the World Conference of Mayors for Peace Through Inter-City Solidarity, worked closely with the City of Hiroshima to organize the Hiroshima-Nagasaki A-bomb Exhibition. Held in Vienna in 2000, the exhibition promoted abolition of nuclear weapons through greater international awareness and cooperation. The City of Hiroshima is honored to present the 2002 International Peace Garden to the City of Vienna for actively serving the cause of peace.

International Peace Garden Foundation President Paula Savage remarks, “daily news reports of terrorist attacks and regional conflicts remind us of the need to remain vigelent in the pursuit of peace and democracy.” We mourn the recent loss of life of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan, the country’s first combat fatalities in a half-century. Canada initiated the dedication of the first Peace Garden, which is now making its way around the world in a multi-cultural chain of global friendship. At each Peace Garden a permanent stone marker is placed containing the message — "Let the seeds of peace begin here and spread throughout the world." It is a constant reminder to every individual who enjoys a moment of reflection of the powerful impact a simple gesture of friendship plays in promoting peace.

At the ceremony on April 29th, the City of Vienna will pass the Peace Garden to the 2003 recipient. The City of Rome was nominated in recognition of the long-standing peaceful relationship between Austria and Italy, having shared a friendly, undefended border for over 50 years. Austria recognizes that since joining the United Nations in 1955, Italy has become one of the top three contributors of personnel and resources to international peace operations. Italy supports nuclear non-proliferation through its commitment to the Nuclear Test Band Treaty. Italy has been an active member of the European Union since its inception, working to create a united “new” Europe with strong bonds and peaceful coexistence between countries in the region.

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