UN Women - United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

“I add my lantern to the millions of lights for peace lit in the hearts and minds of women everywhere” – Lakshmi Puri

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Remarks by UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri at the “First Shinnyo lantern floating for peace” event, New York, 22 September 2013.

Date: 22 September 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen, good evening to you all.

Shinnyo lantern ceremony at the Shinnyo Lantern Floating For Peace event at Trump Rink at Central Park on September 22, 2013 in New York City. Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images for Shinnyo-en
UN Women's Lakshmi Puri (centre) and Anne-Marie Goetz (right) at the Shinnyo lantern ceremony at the Shinnyo Lantern Floating For Peace event at Trump Rink at Central Park on 22 September, 2013 in New York City. Photo: Thos Robinson/Getty Images for Shinnyo-en

I would like to thank her Holiness Shinso Ito, the Head Priest of Shinnyo-en, for the honour of joining you in this symbolically powerful gesture for peace. 

Tonight I would like to dedicate my lantern to the millions of women around the world who face the unspeakable violence, hardships and perils of conflict and yet have the courage to stand up for peace… for women are inherently peacemakers and peacebuilders.

I strongly believe that women have a natural propensity for peace. I have seen it with my own eyes around the world – in my country India, in Sri Lanka, in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Pakistan. They are creators, sustainers and transformers of communities. They think across generations and work to prevent conflicts.

Like these lanterns, they dispel the darkness of ignorance and hatred and spread the light of understanding, peace and harmony through what Lord Buddha called “Maitri” - loving kindness – and “Karuna” - compassion.

Tonight I add my lantern to the millions of lights for peace lit in the hearts and minds of women everywhere, every day. 

As enshrined in the Upanishads, I invoke women's power and pray that 

May everything be auspicious unto all;
May peace be unto all;
May fullness be unto all;
May prosperity be unto all;
Om Peace, peace, peace.

See also: 

Remarks of Anne Marie Goetz, Chief Advisor, Peace and Security, UN Women at the Inaugural Shinnyo Lantern Floating for Peace, Central Park, New York, 22 September 2013

To watch a video of the lantern floating event, visit: http://www.bealightforpeace.org/