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The I Declare World Peace Project Receives Kudos from the White House
Obama letter praises #IDWP founders for changing "our country for the better".
"To further your successful initiatives, and consistent with your stature as a Nobel Peace Laureate, IDWP humbly and respectfully urges that you consider becoming the first President of the United States to formally recognize the United Nations International Day of Peace, celebrated annually since 1981."
The White House responded on April 21, 2016. Though it did not specifically commit to recognizing the International Day of Peace, as requested, it did acknowledge the importance of the #IDWP project.
In a short note on White House stationery addressed personally to the founders of #IDWP, President Obama praised their "optimism and hard work" and noted that those efforts have "changed our country for the better."
Reached at home in Brooklyn, New York photographer and president of I Declare World Peace, Rita Gelber said: "We are very pleased by the White House response. We knew President Obama could not commit to expressly recognize the International Day of Peace, but we take great pride in his recognition of IDWP's long held policy of 'rejecting the cynical notion that progress is not possible', as president Obama put it."
Co-founder Lawrence R. Gelber also expressed gratitude for the White House response. "We are most grateful that the President of the United States of America has staffed his office in such a way that the written concerns of ordinary citizens are, at minimum, addressed, even if not always solved. In this instance we found President Obama's response to be consistent with his status as a Nobel Peace Prize recipient. As Rita said, we firmly believe that rejecting cynicism about the possibility of progress is a key component to creating the foundation for lasting peace."
The I Declare World Peace project has, in recent years, entered into non-binding cross-promotional agreements with other groups that seek to raise awareness in an effort to reduce violence and promote equality, two of the key components to peace. Among those groups are Jeremiah's Hope for Kindness (operated by Ann Erickson Gettis), from Minnesota, which promotes anti-bullying programs in schools, and the Red Elephant Foundation (operated by Kirthi Jayakumar), from Chennai, India, which promotes gender equality.
Ms. Gettis, provided with a copy of the White House letter, said: "We are so pleased to see that the White House took time to acknowledge that progress depends on 'people raising their voices'. We at Jeremiah's Hope for Kindness believe that by teaching proper values of kindness and respect to young children we can create a generation of more considerate people, and we see that as a step toward peace. We share the ultimate goals of the I Declare World Peace project."
Reached in Chennai, India, Kirthi Jayakumar, who in 2012 received the US Presidential Medal for her work in promoting gender equality, told reporters that "the goals of REF and IDWP are inextricably intertwined - there can be no peace without equality. We were happy to see that the White House is willing to provide positive feedback to efforts based on optimism."
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The I Declare World Peace project is explained fully at http://www.ideclareworldpeace.org
The Red Elephant Foundation is described in full at http://www.redelephantfoundation.org
Jeremiah's Hope for Kindness is described at http://www.jeremiahshopeforkindness.org
Lawrence R. Gelber
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Page Updated Last on: Apr 26, 2016