The ARMS DOWN! Campaign for Shared Security concludes with more than 20 million signatures
Young leaders from the world’s great religious traditions convened in New York on 3-5 October for the culmination of the first phase of the Religions for Peace Arms Down! Campaign for Shared Security.
The concluding ceremony of the Campaign was co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Costa Rica to the United Nations and held at the Diplomatic Ballroom in the UN Millennium Hotel on October 4, 2010 from 5:30-7:30. It gathered nearly 300 guests, including religious and civil society leaders, representatives of United Nations Member States, and international youth leaders. At the ceremony, religious youth delivered the Arms Down! petition signed by more than 20 million people from 140 countries to H.E. Mr. Sergio de Queiroz Duarte, United Nations Secretary-General’s High Representative for Disarmament Affairs.
Guest speakers at the ceremony included, Eduardo Ulibarri, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the United Nations; Rev. Kosho Niwano, President-designate of Rissho Kosei-kai, representing Rev. Nichiko Niwano, Co-President of Religions for Peace; Dr. William Vendley, Secretary General of Religions for Peace; and Honorable Madam Ela Gandhi, Founder of the Gandhi Development Trust and Honorary President of Religions for Peace. Members of the International Youth Committee also spoke during the ceremony; Ms. Stellamaris Ndinda Mulaeh, Chairperson of the Religions for Peace International Youth Committee and Youth Representative of the Religions for Peace World Council and Mr. Lawrence Chong, member of the International Youth Committee of Religions for Peace and Asian Moderator for the Religions for Peace Asia-Pacific Youth Network.
Along with the ceremony, a series of meetings were held from 3-5 October for both International Youth Committee Members and the youth who have actively contributed to the campaign. At the meetings, youth presented Arms Down! activities and accomplishments in their region and discussed the next phase in advancing the Arms Down! campaign.
As a result of their enthusiasm and commitment, it was decided that Arms Down! will continue past its original end-date and continue into a second phase of campaigning that will be marked by increased advocacy.