The Words of the Shmakova Family
Ryazan, Russia -- The International Day of Friendship, July 30, was established in 2011 by the UN General Assembly with the idea that friendship among peoples of various countries and cultures can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities. This year the UN Day was celebrated for the first time in Ryazan, a city 196 kilometers (122 mi) southeast of Moscow.
The guests gathered in the Ryazan Regional Children's Library on July 27. There were adults and children representing different nationalities and faiths. Before the event the children were given the task to think about friendship and express their ideas in a creative form. The result came in the form of children's drawings, which were exhibited in library. All participants received gifts.
During celebration, they were told about the history of the event and the reason why the UN established this Day. The MC explained that all people should treat each other as members of one family. Tatyana Levkina, leader of the Unification Movement in Ryazan, talked about four realms of heart: children's love, love among brothers and sisters, marital love, and parents' love. She underlined that only in families can we learn the first lessons of love and friendship. Friendship opens the way to the expansion of love beyond one's own family.
The chair of the society "Teachers for Spirituality and Morality" and a representative of UPF-Ryazan, L.P. Shmakova shared about development of their activities over the past 20 years ago. Each year, she finds the number of people supporting the same view steadily growing.
In the artistic part of the celebration, the participants enjoyed music performed on guitar and saxophone as well as national dances and poetry.
At the end of the celebration, each participant received two picture cards: one was a gift for participating and the other was to give to someone else outside the audience after writing nice words on it. Each card contained information about the International Day of Friendship. All cards were heart-shaped, and when unfolded they looked like four-leaf clovers. In this manner, the initiators expressed their love and appreciation to the participants and wished them good luck, as symbolized by the four-leaf clovers.