SURREY — With tensions on the rise between the U.S. and North Korea, among other conflicts around the globe, what better time to “Give Peace a Chance”?
A festival by that name returns to Fleetwood Community Centre on Saturday, Oct. 7.
The afternoon event is loosely timed with the United Nations’ International Day of Peace, observed on Sept. 21 this year.
In Surrey, the second annual Give Peace a Chance Festival is hosted by Global Peace Alliance, or GPA. The local group’s president, R. B. Herath, is a soft-spoken “dove” who is passionate about spreading messages of peace.
An author and poet, Herath established a political party in Sri Lanka when the country was threatened with a separatist war in the 1970s.
Last fall’s inaugural peace festival was “the first time ever such a peace-themed event of global significance is held in Surrey,” he said at the time.
Herath formed the alliance in 2013 to spread his vision, which he outlines in a recent book, “A New Beginning for Humankind: A Recipe for Lasting Peace on Earth.”
This year’s festival will include “lots of exotic music, songs and dances, as well as exhibits of varied other cultural traditions, such as dress, arts and crafts,” Herath noted. “Further, there will be a number of supporting organizations on hand with information and display booths.”
The event will also ceremoniously recognize winners of the GPA’s peace-themed arts and literary contests.
“These contests take place annually, engaging people of all ages in British Columbia and beyond in creative peace-themed works,” Herath said. “They are used to create and annually expand a ‘Dictionary of Peace for the Children by the Children’ and a database of conflict transformation and peacebuilding ideas for adults anywhere and everywhere. Winning works will be exhibited in public venues at later times.”
The festival will run from 2 to 5:30 p.m. at Fleetwood Community Centre, 15996 84th Ave., Surrey. More details can be found on the GPA’s website, peacealways.org.
Says Global Peace Alliance on its Facebook page: “We are proud to live in a country such as Canada where our peaceful communities can show the world that change can occur from tension, fear, and uncertainty to relief, resilience and durable peace without violence.”