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Endorsements from World Leaders

His-Holiness, the Dalai Lama of Tibet
in a personal conversation with Brother Wayne Teasdale
September 16, 1997 Dharamsala, India

"I think the time has come to make it clear that nonviolence is the only way, the proper way, to solve the problems among humanity. Of course there are always conflicts, but peace, or nonviolence does not mean that we are indifferent to them just because we are friendly and sensitive to others, or seem passive.

We have to solve the problems of humankind. I am trying to solve some of these serious problems myself, by promoting nonviolence. I am doing this to show the right way, the nonviolent way to solutions on an individual level--on family, community, national and international levels. The promotion of nonviolence ultimately reveals the awareness of how destructive other so-called solutions are, and in the meantime, shows us a way out of violence. Through nonviolence we can see that it is possible to solve all our problems by means of dialogue. This is the truly human way to proceed.

I believe this is the right time to promote nonviolence in various ways and means. And it is our responsibility to do so. Both Gandhi and Martin Luther King are inspiring examples of the power and truth of nonviolence and the actions that arise from them. They not only embraced nonviolence in principle, but implemented it in action. Both gave their lives for this precious vision.

This Season for Nonviolence is a very good tool to remind us of their witness, but also of the large unfinished work we have together in transforming awareness on our planet."


"A letter dated 13 March 1997 was sent to you from Mrs. Francine Fournier, Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences, stating that UNESCO would be happy to be associated with this initiative honouring Gandhi and King as great defenders of non-violence."

- UNESCO: Head of the Division on Human Rights, Democracy and Peace
To Prof. Paul Smoker of Antioch University (member of UNESCO Peace prize Jury; with Prof. Linda Groff, International Peace Association coordinator for A Season for Nonviolence)

Dr. Robert Muller - University for Peace
Universidad Para La Paz, Costa Rica

"I fully endorse the Season for Nonviolence, an important step towards a century and millennium of nonviolence which should be proclaimed by the United Nations during the world celebration of the year 2000."

- Dr. Robert Muller, Chancellor of the UN University of Peace; former Assistant Secretary General to the UN

Coretta Scott King

"In the 'Season for Nonviolence' Initiative, the Association fro Global New Thought has made a significant contribution to creating a more compassionate and peaceful world by educating people in the principles of nonviolence advocated by Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and other peacemakers."

- Coretta Scott King

Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan

Delivered by Gillian Martin Sorensen
Asst. Sec. Gen. For External Affairs

"Nonviolence is the first article of my faith. It is also the last article of my creed." Thus Mahatma Gandhi summed up his defense when charged with agitation against the State in 1922. Thus Gandhi himself embodied the movement we are here to celebrate today.

And this season of nonviolence, which we are lunching here, sums up the continuing legacy of Mohandas Gandhi. I t sums up what I like to think of as the passing of the torch.

It is a moving fact that the two deaths whose anniversaries open and close this season occurred 50 and 30 years ago this year. Martin Luther King received the torch from Mahatma Gandhi, before his assassination in 1948, and held it high until his own three decades later.

The torch was carried by many hands. They included Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays, the principal of Morehouse College, who returned from India as one of the growing number of African-American disciples of Mahatma Gandhi. When Dr. King entered Morehouse at the age of 15, Mays became one of the great influences in his life. And there, the torch was passed on. It was kept burning by the civil rights movement here. Who will carry it for future generations? Part of the answer can be found before us right here today.

Over the next 64 days, you will honor those who have championed nonviolence as a way of life and struggle; you will bring together communities, groups and individuals who are making non-violent choices in meeting challenges; you will use media, education and dialogue to spread the message; you will light hundreds and thousands of new torches along the way.

This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We in the United Nations will be using a strategy very like your own to bring home the message that human rights are the common language of humanity.

I believe that our two messages are voices that will speak in unison. I believe this is one of the best tributes we can pay to Mahatma Gandhi, and to those who followed him.

The torch is ours now to hold high. This is our way of ensuring that their deaths were not in vain. Let us begin; for we have many miles to go, and many torches still to light.

The Vice President of the United States, Al Gore
Delivered by The Hon. Bob Clement, U.S. Representative, TN

Dear Friends:
I am honored to have this opportunity to extend my personal greetings to everyone participating in the M.K. Gandhi 50th Memorial and "Season" Commencement Celebration at the United Nations. While I regret that I am unable to join you in person, I do want to offer my best wishes on this special occasion.

Certainly, this memorial service will be a unique opportunity to honor the lifelong efforts of Mahatma Gandhi, for he was a true champion of nonviolence and social reform.

All of us should remember the honorable sacrifices he made through nonviolent means to live in a peaceful and united country, and his program of tolerance for all creeds and religions is an enduring example that all citizens of the world should continue to follow.

Once again, please accept my best wishes for all of those in attendance along with my hopes for a peaceful future.

Al Gore

Federico Mayor; From his Official Visit to India:
Gandhi's message lives on and is more relevant than ever

Delivered by Mrs. Nina Sibal,
UNESCO Repr. to the United Nations

New Delhi, January 30 - On an official visit to India, UNESCO Director-General Federico Mayor today issued a declaration expressing his adherence to Mahatma Gandhi's ideals which are also the ideals underpinning UNESCO.

As he took part in the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the apostle of non-violence, alongside President K.R. Narayanan, Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral and many other senior officials, Mr. Mayor stressed that the message of Mahatma Gandhi lives on and is more relevant than ever. It is universal, he said.

Here is the full text of Mr. Mayor's declaration:

We are commemorating today the tragic demise of Mahatma Gandhi and we celebrate his contribution not only to the liberation of India but also to the progress of humanism throughout the world. The message of Mahatma Gandhi lives on and is more relevant than ever. It is universal.

Through his wonderful example, Mahatma Gandhi showed that it is possible to fight injustice while respecting the life, rights, integrity and dignity of the adversary. He showed that his concept of non-violence does not imply passivity and indifference - far from it - but actions that are powerful, creative and brave, a daily radical engagement in the struggle against the ills besetting the human community.

Today still, Mahatma Gandhi teaches us that tolerance is consonant with the highest aspirations of humanity. No submissiveness, nor violence or terror. Accepting the diversity which is our main richness means accepting reality. Sharing the same intrinsic values is our future. Humanity is manifold by nature, and if it wishes to survive and to develop, we must learn to live together, in nonviolence.

On January 30 as we celebrate the memory of Mahatma Gandhi, apostle of nonviolence, our thoughts also go to two other great figures of our century, Dr Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa. By virtue of our specific mandate in the UN system, UNESCO is actively involved in today's commemoration and my presence at Mahatma Gandhi's Samadhi in New Delhi testifies to the importance of this involvement. On this occasion, to show our attachment to Mahatma Gandhi's ideals, and to continue contributing to the transition of humanity from a culture of war and violence to a culture of peace and nonviolence, I am happy to announce that from now on UNESCO's Culture of Peace Programme will be known as the Programme for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence.

The UN General Assembly declared the year 2000 International Year for the Culture of Peace. We hope that the first decade of the next millennium will be devoted to education for peace and nonviolence, thus tying in with the proposal made by the Nobel Peace Prize laureates with the support of UNESCO, hundreds of NGOs and thousands of people world-wide. We hope that in the third millennium the wisdom of non-violence and love, which is at the heart of all religions, will prevail all over the world.