CISB was well represented on Friday, September 20th when Mr. Douglas K. Prescott, Head of School/AKD Academic Superintendent, led a group of ten grade 12 students, along with grade 12 team lead, Mrs. Leila Rabord, to the Peace Garden Peace Festival.
The Peace Garden Peace Festival is held jointly with UNESCO in Beijing, recognizing the International Day of Peace. This is the 8th year for the Peace Garden Peace Festival since it began in 2014. CISB proudly hosted the event on campus twice, in September 2016 and 2017.
The grade 12 students had the pleasure of welcoming diplomatic envoys from many countries, representatives of international organizations, experts, scholars and youth representatives. They also took part in the ceremony, assisting with presenting peace pigeons to these dignitaries as they gathered on stage to release at a designated time as a sign of hope for peace throughout the world. To see approximately one hundred peace pigeons released at once and take to the sky as a sign of freedom and a hope for peace was heart-warming. The standing ovation and ongoing applause from all gathered further gave hope that peace is achievable if we believe and work together.
The onstage program included a review of previous Peace Festivals via a video. This was followed by a congratulatory message from the Director General of UNESCO; several pre-recorded messages from ambassadors/diplomatic envoys unable to attend, as well as onstage messages from the Chairman of the China World Peace Foundation Dr. Li Ruohong; messages from international dignitaries, relevant Chinese government officials, distinguished guests and youth representatives. All of the dignitaries had the opportunity to sign a “Peace Initiative for Post-COVID-19 Pandemic”. The ceremony also included the awarding of “Peace Medals” to those making significant and long-standing contributions to the cause of peace.
As part of the program, there were awards presented for the 3rd International Youth Photography Competition. So many amazing pieces of art were submitted for the competition, and the winning works selected were best described as outstanding. The chosen works represented students from several countries.
A reception dinner was held following the afternoon program. Dr. Li Ruohong delivered opening remarks thanking everyone for attending and their commitment to supporting the Peace Festival. Mr. Prescott, as a yearly invited distinguished guest, was asked to deliver an address to the dinner gathering. He spoke about how proud he and CISB were to be involved each year as supporters of the Peace Garden Peace Festival; how important it was for all those gathered to support peace initiatives through their actions and words each day. He expressed sincere thanks to the organizers and supporters for making this event happen each year as a reminder to everyone of the great work being done while encouraging everyone that more is needed to be done throughout the world to address topics such as regional conflicts, women’s rights, poverty, abuse, humanitarian relief, sustainable development and more. He shared CISB’s motto, “Together is Better” and stated that this motto is what we should walk away with today, that together we can make our world a better and safer place by labouring together for peace.
To conclude the evening, following the reception dinner, the Peace Garden Voice Concert was held. Several famous tenors and coloratura sopranos performed and entertained the audience. The music performed was most enjoyable—the pianist was amazing; the voices of the tenors and coloratura sopranos were captivating, and it was a most enjoyable ending to the 8th Peace Garden Peace Festival!
Mr. Prescott was asked by BTV to do an interview as a distinguished guest and long-time supporter of the Peace Garden Peace Festival. He was asked to speak about his long tenure in Beijing and China, and changes he has witnessed and his impression of life in Beijing. He was also asked to talk about similarities and differences in youth education between China and Canada. Further to these questions, he was asked to speak as an old friend of the Peace Garden—as to the value of the yearly Peace Garden Peace Festival and the efforts of Dr. Li Ruohong, Chairman of the China Peace Festival, Director of Beijing International Peace Culture Foundation, Member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in Beijing and Vice-president of Beijing Municipal People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.
As well, Mr. Prescott was asked to speak about the yearly youth competitions that aim to promote peace through youth engagement. Mr. Prescott spoke with much enthusiasm as he answered each question, sharing specific examples to cement his comments. It was evident to all that Mr. Prescott is passionate about Beijing, the school that he leads and his support of the Peace Garden Peace Festival, the China World Peace Foundation, the Beijing International Culture Foundation and Dr. Li Ruohong.
Mr.Prescott summarized his comments by stating that if all the stakeholders involved worked together, growth would occur and out of the combined efforts of working and experiencing growth together, success would be the result. He proudly stated that “Together is Better”. He wished Dr. Li Ruohong and the Peace Foundation continued success and said that he looked forward to the 9th Peace Garden Peace Festival in September 2022.