The World Peace Flame is a universal symbol for global peace and unity, dedicated to achieving peace through a process of education and the practical support of grassroots peace initiatives. The first Flames of Peace monuments were created in 1999 on five continents. Today World Peace Flames burn in thousands of homes, schools, workplaces, hospitals and places of worship around the world. The goal is to have one in every country inspiring people to work for peace.
Imagine an eternally burning World Peace Flame in your community, acting as a catalyst to bring people together and build peace.
World Peace Flame humanitarian projects aim to empower people at all levels, from medical camps to youth education programs, from training impoverished girls to become nurses, to cultivating respect for cultural heritage.
World Peace Flame Pathway
In 2004 every country and region of the world united to build the World Peace Flame pathway and create a single declaration of peace – the first time in history that this has occurred. The magnificent World Peace Flame Pathway was built around the World Peace Flame monument in The Hague, Netherlands.
Embassies and foreign ministries from various 197 countries and regions of the world contributed stones of significance to their homelands.
The World Peace Flame is now burning eternally in Byron Bay, Australia. The World Peace Flame was welcomed on 17 September 2005 with a candle-lit procession at sunset, including a special Aboriginal fire ceremony on the beach. It was then carried to The Byron Peace Park where it was received by a large audience gathered for a spectacular outdoors Peace Flame Ceremony:
Flame unites villages in Holsbeek, Belgium.
Inspired by the existing World Peace Flame monument in Cadzand (Netherlands), a new flame was lit in a festive ceremony in Holsbeek, Belgium. Executive Councillor for International Cooperation and Culture in Holsbeek commented, “Unlike what many people think, conflicts aren’t just in far-away places. They’re also a reality for us here in our own town. Our new World Peace Flame is a great start to make everyone aware of that.”
GRAND Magazine’s Pat Burns recently spoke with the Co-Founder of The World Peace Flame, Savitri MacCuish.
Pat Burns: Hello everyone. This is Pat Burns, celebrity journalist and film reviewer for GRAND Magazine. Today, this issue of GRAND Magazine is focusing on world peace and inner peace, and how we can all work towards striving towards this huge goal. With that, it is my pleasure to introduce a beautiful human being, a dear friend of mine, Savitri MacCuish. Savitri’s an international speaker and author. She is president of The World Peace Flame Foundation and CEO of Dru NL. She’s a leading innovator in whole person approaches to health and wellbeing. Her teams have assisted millions of people and enabled every single country to sign the world’s first completely universal statement of peace. What an accomplishment!
In 2002, she was commissioned by the city of The Hague to create the world’s first World Peace Flame Monument outside the Peace Palace, home of the UN International Court of Justice. Every government in the world has contributed a stone of cultural significance from their country to create a world peace pathway around this monument. Savitri, I remember visiting and stepping on those stones to go up and experience the beautiful energy that came from that flame at The Hague.
There are 18 World Peace Flame monuments worldwide. Around each of them has arisen a wide variety of community projects. In particular, The World Peace Flame Education pact has been used by 47,000 children in nine countries and seven languages and is currently used by the Dutch government whenever there are migrant children in schools to promote community building. Other projects are medical camps in India and silver lamps for Africa.
Savitri’s’ inspiration and great empathy arise in part from her experiences, pioneering efforts to heal emotional trauma in conflict zones and places she particularly emphasizes on working with business and community leadership, developing strategies that encourage more attention to human values in business and community environment. Good morning Savitri.
Savitri: Good morning, Pat.
Pat Burns: So great to talk to you today, and where are you calling in from?
Savitri: I’m calling in from a little village south of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
Pat Burns: Oh, wonderful. How delightful to have you all the way on the other side of the globe and taking your time this evening to enlighten us here at GRAND Magazine, and our readers that are interested in both world peace and inner peace. I’d first like for them to hear what first moved you towards your current peace path, and the creation of the World Peace Flame.
Savitri: Well Pat, first it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to share something of what fires our work across this side of the world and to speak to all your listeners. Indeed, it’s always interesting to go back to the catalyst for work which is for World Peace. Many years ago, we worked in war zones. We took our particular brand of yoga off the mat and into war zones. There we realized there was a need for a symbol, or for something, which would inspire people in Western Europe to become involved in lives that they couldn’t see. We worked with people in the north caucuses, child psychologists, people who have been devastated by war. Then when we came back to cities like Amsterdam or London and gave presentations, it was so far away, people were cut off from the problem. Out of that rose an idea to form a world peace flame, taking lighted flames on the five different continents, and flying them together with the hopes and inspirations of peacemakers on that continent. That’s where actually, the nub of the idea came from.
Pat Burns: Wow. When you developed this concept of the world peace flame, what were your biggest challenges or hurdles that you had to overcome?
Savitri: Oh my goodness. That the idea was born between conversation of a few of us, and we thought it would be quite easy to do but we soon found out that it takes the Olympic committee four years to obtain all the different permissions, and we wanted seven flames, living flames flowing together within three months. It was definitely ambitious. That was the biggest problem. We phoned every single airline in the book, and apart from one, we came up with a blank. Then had the idea, who else flies in the sky, and thought of the Air Forces. That’s actually how the World Peace Flame came together.
Pat Burns: Wow. What was the airline that did that?
Savitri: It was actually the Sri Lankan Airline, Pat and I think if there’s one thing that I see out of that, it’s when something is worth doing … This is my own personal lesson. When something is worth doing, never ever, ever give up. If you have an idea which is born out of a wish to contribute to this life, then keep going because it’s worth it. Somewhere along the line, somebody else will come in and make your idea work. The Sri Lankan Airline who flew the India flame, and all the other flames were organized basically by the Netherlands Air Force.
Pat Burns: Oh my goodness. We have military force helping to distribute a flame of peace around the world, that’s fabulous.
Pat Burns: Tell me about activities that you and your organization present or offer to inspire or foster the work of world peace.
Savitri: It’s important to start with the individual. If we are going to make any difference in this world, from our point, it’s important to start with the individuals. We run courses on self-development. We travel around and put on talks, lectures. We open conferences anywhere where there’s an opportunity to speak and to reach a large group of people. We’re in there, but courses are really important because if we want to make something last, it’s important to spend a number of days, or a few weeks, or a few hours at least with some people. Courses are very important. That’s the way that we spread the word of our activities.
Pat Burns: What type of activities? You mean lectures and is there any interactivity, or is it more of a lecture mode?
Savitri: Well actually, the courses and the lectures, they’re all based upon awakening purpose in the individual. See what we find is … as your readers know, this world is full of fantastic people doing stunning things but there’s also a lot of people who feel that they don’t make a difference, that there’s nothing they can do. We have a course that’s, “The Power to Live Your Dreams.” Many people, when you talk to them about purpose, they go they’re stuck. They don’t know what their purpose in life is; they don’t know what contribution they can make. We start with the individual of awakening their dreams, their wishes, their longings, their purpose and what they can do for their families and communities.
Pat Burns: That’s lovely. I want to just roll back for a little bit so that people can appreciate the flame and what it represents. Because I remember when we were working together and we talked about why the flame was chosen because it’s neutral.
Pat Burns: Can you talk about that a little bit and just expand on that for just a couple of minutes?
Savitri: It’s looking for something that has an underlying unity with humanity. The flame can’t be claimed by any religion, any one culture, any individual. Actually, fire is very important for life itself. We exist on this planet because of the sun, and without fire, then we would all perish. We can either go back to the very indigenous roots of the flame, or fire, or we just looked at a symbol that is important in the majority of world religions, but cannot be claimed by any, and then we came to the flame. That’s how we came upon that symbol.
Pat Burns: Savitri, you have to consider when you’re trying to come up with a symbol or something iconic as you have done, it has to be neutral with religions, race, culture, and it’s just brilliant because it absolutely is universal. No one can say this is a Demi-god or, you know what I’m saying? It’s just so simple and pure.
Savitri: Now, there’s another thing that goes in there Pat, because of course, we can look at a symbol and even though it goes above the differences that we create in humanity. Actually, when people want to celebrate their anniversary they have a candle lit dinner. When you celebrate the birthday, you fill the cake with candles. It’s also a celebration of life rather than being a somber and ‘lest we should forget’ of all the atrocities, it’s actually let’s celebrate peace. From that point, because how we approach peace is adding to the peace in the world. If we approach peace from a ‘fighting for it’ or a heavy place, than we are contributing that energy to the project or the situation in front of us. When we come from peace like the Peace Flame from a point of celebration, it just has an extra appeal to people.