Six Influential Leaders Ring the Bell of Peace in Washington
IRF Summit Cochairs Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett & Amb. Sam Brownback and 4 other religious freedom advocates ring the Bell & pray for the world
The Federation of World Peace and Love (FOWPAL) and the Tai Ji Men Cultural Goodwill Group have visited 101 countries to promote conscience, love, and peace. They revisited Washington, D.C. at a critical and turbulent time, and from June 28 to July 1, they held solemn and sacred ceremonies of ringing the Bell of World Peace and Love to pray for the world.
On June 28, Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, president of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, and former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, who are the co-chairs of the International Religious Freedom (IRF) Summit 2022, rang the Bell and made their wishes for peace.
On June 29, Bishop Gregory Mansour of Saint Maron of Brooklyn also rang the bell and made wishes for peace. On June 30, David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors USA; Nadine Maenza, former chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF); Bishop Dr. Sunday Onuoha, founder and president of Vision of Africa, rang the Bell and made their wishes for peace.
In today's chaotic world where conflicts, human rights violations, and religious persecution happen frequently, the ringing of the peace bell in Washington, D.C., the epicenter of the world’s politics, is all the more extraordinary and meaningful.
Former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback rang the Bell and stated, “I pray for peace that surpasses understanding for everyone!” Ambassador Brownback once stated that freedom of religion is a fundamental human right, without which humanity cannot flourish, emphasizing, “We believe governments’ role is to protect that innate right of a person to select their own course of future for their soul.”
Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, president of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, rang the Bell and stated, “I pray daily for peace but also for justice because without justice and freedom - especially freedom of religion and belief, there cannot be any peace.” She also expressed her gratitude to Tai Ji Men, saying, “I am grateful for the spirit of this wonderful community.”
Bishop Gregory Mansour of Saint Maron of Brooklyn rang the bell and stated, “The beauty of the Tao, the Way will make us better people, closer to the eternal Tao.” Bishop Mansour talked about conscience, which Tai Ji Men and FOWPAL have been promoting around the world: "So your emphasis on conscience, we Catholics believe that it is in our conscience that guides us, and that's the little flame of God's presence in our life. So the conscience is like the Dao. There's a natural law, there's a wisdom in nature, and a wisdom in our creation, how we are, and how Christianity and Taoism are so close in this beautiful understanding of creation. The conscience and the way is a beautiful combination of bringing our two faiths together.”
David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors USA, rang the Bell and stated, “I pray that people everywhere would know the peace and care of God and His people.” Nadine Maenza, former chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) rang the Bell and wished for “religious freedom for all.”
Bishop Sunday Onuoha rang the Bell and stated, “I pray for peace in our world.” He also prayed for those who are in pain, those who are suffering, children without fathers and mothers, those who have been through pain, deprivation, or war, those mothers who want to go to the hospital but there are no hospitals, and those who want to drink water but can't because there isn't clean water.
Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze, president of FOWPAL, presented to each of the six bell ringers a Compass Clock of Conscience, symbolizing that everyone is encouraged to follow the guidance of their conscience at all times to defend the freedom of religion and belief of every citizen of the world!
To date, 423 influential leaders from 128 nations, including 49 heads of state and government and seven Nobel Peace Prize laureates, have rung the Bell and contributed to global peace and sustainability! Three bell ringers, President Fradique de Menezes of Sao Tome and Principe (2001-2011), President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal (2000-2012), and President Leonel Fernández of the Dominican Republic (1996-2000 and 2004-2012), for example, rang the Bell and made wishes for peace during their tenures and later mediated between neighboring countries to defuse potential wars, fulfilling their promises to help stabilize and sustain the Earth.
The Bell of World Peace and Love was recently rung at the 25th Eurasian Economic Summit in Turkey to promote global sustainability. Seven influential leaders rang the Bell, including five former heads of state.
The Bell was also rung by a total of 11 ministers of environment and environmental activists during Stockholm+50 in Sweden in early June. It was hoped that the ringers’ wishes for peace would be spread with the peaceful sound of the Bell, praying for the blessings of all living creatures, and that global citizens would safeguard the Earth and facilitate ecosystem restoration.
Ringing the Bell is especially significant at this tumultuous time because it aims to awaken the conscience of global citizens, to inject positive energy into the world to protect the Earth, and to foster world peace through the influence and participation of the bell ringers, who will bring more light and hope to the world with their words of conscience and reverence for Heaven and Earth. The collective peace efforts of more peace-loving individuals will make the world a better and safer place!