My Dream of Peace
We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds and in the process heal our own – indeed, to embrace the whole creation in all its diversity, beauty and wonder. This will happen if we see the need to revive our sense of belonging to a larger family of life, with which we have shared our evolutionary process. – Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize Winner 2004
Our vision at Children Inspiring Hope is a global community, living in harmony and peace with one another and the earth- beginning with children connecting with children. We see this possibility in every exchange, with each heart connection, and in deepened understanding. When we started this journey 8 years ago, we couldn’t have imagined the other like spirited people that we would come to meet and share the journey with!
Most recently, we add to this long list of peacemakers, Linden Longino, the Founder of International Paint Pals, currently under the umbrella of Friendship Force. Formerly in banking, his life changed trajectories when asked by the Carter Center to make banking more accessible to those less fortunate. What evolved from his interactions was his passion for art, and a pathway of bridging children and understanding through art. His accomplishments have included traveling children from Girls and Boys Club internationally, and art exhibits at world stages such as the Atlanta and Sochi Olympics, The United Nations, and next week, the Nobel Laurette Summit being hosted by Barcelona, Spain.
The Children’s Art Exhibit before Nobel Peace Prize winners will display artwork from over 2,500 children from 83 countries reflecting “My Dream of Peace.” We feel incredibly fortunate in the synchronicity of timing with our fall theme, Paths to Peace. We have submitted entries from Ghana, as well as Savannah (Oglethorpe Charter School & St. Andrew's School) and Atlanta (Cliff Valley School), Georgia. Mandalas are a universal symbol of wholeness and unity, so it is fitting that some of our best entries are beautiful images of what each student sees as their dream of peace, and balance, captured in these circles. All pieces will display in a slideshow, while a select 166 originals, 2 from each country, will create part of the exhibit and gifts to the Laureettes.
When I meet with Linden for lunch, he shared we are praying for your son as we passed in the hallway the father of a General stationed in an unknown location in the Middle East tasked with eliminating one of the darkest threats on Earth right now. I got chills on my spine as he shared who he was. In looking through submissions for the exhibit, he pulled one out that he is gifting to President Carter. The drawing was a seedling growing out of an old bombshell submitted by a young boy in Iraq.
Our shared dream, and knowing, is that the more we connect children globally, the less likely we are to need prayers for fathers with sons in danger on foreign soil. We dream, and act, to create a more peaceful world for us all. Safe journey, Linden. Thank you for being a peacemaker, and sharing the journey with us. We look forward to updates from Spain!