The Words of the Ledesma Family
Sydney, Australia - This year’s Living for Others Awards in Sydney on October 24 was a special evening to remember. Hosted by the Universal Peace Federation’s Ambassadors for Peace, the 2009 event was held in the stunning ballroom of Dooleys Lidcombe Catholic Club, seating 250 guests. As the evening began, dignitaries, religious and community leaders, representatives of different NGOs, and many others from a range of nationalities, ethnicities, and faiths filled the room, bringing instant color, variety, and fun to an otherwise formal event.
The program started with an acknowledgment to people and country and an invocation by elder Pearl Wymarra, representing the indigenous people of Australia. The crowd then welcomed the Chinese Children Violin Ensemble, and very soon a hush fell over the room as the young violinists captivated the audience with their passion and technical flawlessness, as they performed a traditional folk song and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons under the instruction of their talented conductor Mr. Mou.
A video showcasing the UPF values of peace and intercultural and religious harmony was presented. The atmosphere generated that night was indeed one where people of all different backgrounds could comfortably come together, celebrate each other’s lives, and gain new inspiration through the relationships they formed on the night.
The Ukrainian Polka Dancers dazzled the crowd with their kicks and sprightly moves during the dinner. And we were also treated to a story from award-winning story teller, Donna Jacobs Sife, who also was an awardee on the night for her tremendous work in the area of interfaith harmony. Her story visibly moved people as she wove two tales of peace between brothers. She was followed by Dr Dong Woo Kim, Chairman of UPF-Oceania, who gave a special address particularly congratulating the eight awardees and ten new Ambassadors for Peace, each bringing with them an amazing story of service and love to their respective communities.
The night finished off with the African Pambazuka Acapella’s congratulatory songs, which were a fitting end to the evening. The awards evening was truly a celebration of the undying spirit of ‘living for others', and served as a source of inspiration to everyone who was present, reminding them of how much of a positive difference they can make in this world. A big thanks to all who made this evening possible and again a big congratulations to this year’s awardees and new Ambassadors for Peace.