Florence, Italy—UPF of Tuscany organized an event to celebrate International Human Solidarity Day.
The commemorative day, which was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2005, was celebrated on December 19, 2018, at the First Church of Christ Scientist (Christian Science) in the city of Florence.
Solidarity is identified in the U.N. Millennium Declaration of 2000 as "one of the fundamental values of international relations in the 21st century, in which those who suffer or benefit less deserve help from those who benefit most. In the context of globalization and the challenge of the growth of inequality, the strengthening of international solidarity is indispensable.”
The meeting began with the singing of the anthem "Amazing Grace," accompanied on the organ by Wendy Steele Giannini, a representative of Christian Science.
Aldo D'Onofrio, the president of UPF-Tuscany, gave the opening speech on the theme "United Society, United Economy.” His talk was inspired by an essay by Mose Durst, Ph.D., entitled "Toward a Principled Economy." Referring to programs in developing countries, Mr. D'Onofrio introduced the Sunhak Peace Prize, a UPF initiative, which this year focused on Africa in selecting the most recent prize winners.
The next presentation was offered by the Hare Krishna community, which brought a decidedly mystical atmosphere with a devotional song performed by three voices and a harmonium. Then Mauro Bombieri, the president of the Villa Vrindavana retreat center, emphasized the Indian tradition of compassion toward the poorer classes.
Finally, Imam Tariq, a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, called strongly for wars to be banned as soon as possible, as they cause millions of deaths due to hunger and malnutrition.
The meeting ended with a World Peace Blessing, in which the participants lifted glasses of juice in a toast to strong marriages and families. The three religious representatives, plus three other members of Hare Krishna, enthusiastically took part in the ceremony.
The meeting ended with the sharing of best wishes for a happy Christmas and a fruitful and happy New Year 2019.