Friday, December 15, 2006

2006 Holiday Greetings

Holiday greetings to all our dear friends across the miles. This past April, Dublin, Ireland celebrated the dedication of our seventeenth International Peace Garden. Ireland opened her doors to us and touched our hearts profoundly. We were fortunate to be able to tour the country for several days prior to our arrival in Dublin. From the breathtaking vistas of the Dingle Peninsula to the multi-colored doors of Dublin we were astounded by the culture and endless beauty of Ireland. Being able to visit the town folk in the hillside villages and share our story made our journey that much more enduring.

Lord Mayor Byrne assisted by her exceptional staff extended the cities warm hospitality to our entire delegation which included IPGF directors Ria Hudome from London and Paul Golunski from Paris. Dublin was ours to discover and that we did. We were introduced to Glencree, a center for the study of conflict resolution, mediation and peacemaking. Our visit to Glencree Centre was truly a highlight. We applaud their mission and consider Glencree to be an outstanding model for similar initiatives. It is their hope that some day an Honorary Peace Garden will bloom there. Our sincere appreciation to Bernice Paolozzi and her associates for organizing these activities and for their time and attention afforded to us during our stay.

The Peace Garden dedication held in St. Patrick's Park was flawless. The Municipal Parks Department designed the Peace Garden in a rainbow of colors. It is their intention to replace the tulip bulbs with seasonal flowers to extend the length of time visitors will be able to enjoy its beauty. Delegates representing many countries including multi -faith religious leaders stood side by side as the RTE Corn a nOg Children's Choir performed. Children from Down Syndrome Ireland took pride in seeing the bulbs they had planted earlier in the Fall actually bloom In her welcoming comments Mayor Byrne expressed that "young people through their enthusiasm and vibrancy break down barriers and encourage tolerance and hope for our future". Other youth organizations in attendance were Peace Child Ireland and Chernobyl Children's Project International. Our volunteers continue to offer their time and talents. We gratefully acknowledge their efforts. We also express our sincere appreciation to Lakefront Tours, Cleveland, Ohio for their generous donation to our 2007 program.

We look forward to the Peace Garden Dedication in Bern, Switzerland next May. Mayor Alexander Tschappat has informed us that a planting ceremony took place on November 29th. The bulbs were planted by school children from Bern assisted by adult volunteers.

Howard Thurman once wrote that the work of Christmas is "to find the lost, to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner, to rebuild nations, to bring peace among brothers and to make music in the heart". May you and your loved ones discover the true meaning of this blessed holiday season. We are proud to know you. You remain in our thoughts and prayers.

Have a blessed and prosperous New Year!

Paula Savage

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