UN Ambassador Ringing the Bell of World Peace and Love to Pray for the World
“If there is no peace, you don't have anything else.” ~ Eritrea's Ambassador to the United Nations Sophia Tesfamariam Yohannes
The 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly took place in New York from September 13 to 27, bringing together heads of state and key leaders from over 150 nations to promote world peace. On September 20, the Federation of World Peace and Love (FOWPAL) hosted a ceremony of ringing the Bell of World Peace and Love in New York. Eritrea's Ambassador to the United Nations Sophia Tesfamariam Yohannes rang the bell and prayed for the world.
Ambassador Yohannes rang the Bell and stated, “I wish for peace in the Horn of Africa and the world. I wish for peace and development for all marginalized people of our world. Peace for development and security.”
She is the first female ambassador of Eritrea to the United Nations. Eritrea is located in northeastern Africa and gained its independence from Ethiopia in 1993. She said, "For 20 years, we worked for peace, you know, mobilizing youth for peace, youth for the Horn of Africa, and trying to bring peace to our region, after fighting almost 30 years of war for independence."
Ambassador Yohannes stated, “Peace is very important, because it's fundamental for everything that we do, for education, for learning, for development, for security. If there is no peace, you don't have anything else.” She expressed her excitement when being invited to ring the Bell, adding, “I want to ring it hard so that it reaches the blue building, and every other building here so everybody feels working for peace is the most important thing that we do here.”
“I thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to come here and be a part of this fantastic ceremony and feel very privileged and honored to be with you this morning,” she said, emphasizing, “This is the highlight of my day and the highlight of my GA session for G77.”
She mentioned that she is from the diaspora and not from the diplomatic corps in Asmara, the capital of Eritrea. She came from Washington, D.C. and was Executive Director of the United States Foundation for the Horn of Africa in Washington, D.C., beginning in 2005. She served as co-editor of Diaspora, a monthly digital and print magazine providing news and analysis tailored to the global African diaspora communities with a focus on women and youth in development. She has considerable global experience in social development, having led over 100 seminars and workshops for women and young people in the United States, Europe and Africa.
Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze, president of FOWPAL, presented to the ambassador meaningful gifts, including a Compass Clock of Conscience, An Anthology of Conscience, and The History of International Day of Conscience. The clock represents time, direction, and goal, guiding people toward the right path of life and reminding them to seize every moment to apply conscience and do good deeds. The anthology is a collection of the excerpts on conscience from Dr. Hong’s speeches presented on various occasions around the globe, which serves as a wellspring of wisdom for the recipients in the promotion of a culture of conscience. The History of International Day of Conscience documents the crucial cooperation among FOWPAL and the Permanent Missions of various nations to the UN, which made the United Nations’ designation of April 5 as the International Day of Conscience possible.
Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze and members of FOWPAL have self-funded their trips to 101 nations to promote a culture of peace with love and conscience. As of September 20, a total of 431 influential leaders from 128 countries have rung the Bell and made their wishes for peace, including 49 heads of state and government, seven Nobel Peace Prize laureates, UN ambassadors, and other leaders from all walks of life, exerting their positive influences to transform the world.
For instance, 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), rang the bell and made wishes for peace during their tenure and later mediated between neighboring countries to defuse potential wars, fulfilling their promises to help stabilize and sustain the Earth.
Ambassador Yohannes said she would share her experience and feelings about ringing the bell with the Eritrean Foreign Minister and President and recommended them to ring the bell to let the sound of the bell spread across her country and the Earth!