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Black Tie International:
CITYarts Pieces for Peace


His Holiness the Dalai Lama Inaugurates CITYarts
Pieces for Peace Traveling Exhibition in Maribor, Slovenia
during a Peace Conference


His Holiness the Dalai Lama with Tsipi Ben-Haim

His Holiness the Dalai Lama with Tsipi Ben-Haim.
 Photo by:  Ivan Vinovrski


Director's Message:


Dear Friends,


I am so proud to let you know that CITYarts' Pieces for Peace exhibition was the center piece in the Conference for Peace that took place May 16-17th in Maribor, Slovenia. We were extremely honored to participate in the Conference because this year Maribor holds the title of European Capitol of Culture.


In attendance were three Nobel Peace Prize Laureates:


Prof. Dr. Lucka Kajfez Bogataj, renowned climate change scientist


Dr. Rigoberta Menchu Tum, tireless human rights advocate


Prof. Muhammad Yunus, social enterprise inventor


And if this wasn't enough for a stellar event, His Holiness the14th Dalai Lama - Tenzin Gyatso himself -opened our exhibition and the Peace Conference in Maribor.


I greeted him at the door and presented him with CITYarts Peace Book representing the voices of over 5,000 youth from 62 countries in paintings. His eyes opened wide and lit up with sincere joy.


"Works of our children?" he asked.


"Yes," I said, "this is the youth of the 21st century who you hope will bring Peace on Earth."


His Holiness was not only enchanted by the book, but was also very interested in the art pieces hanging on the walls, asking who painted them. Among the youth artists I said, were Chinese kids too. In fact one of our Chinese interns offered to create a Piece for Peace artwork and give it to the Dalai Lama.


In all of his speeches the Dalai Lama mentioned how he believes in our children. In fact, he said, "When I'm up there in heaven or in hell, I'll look down and I hope I will see our children making an effort for Peace."


So, as we looked at the 300 artworks in the exhibition representing 62 countries, I was happy to say to him, "you are looking here on Earth at the efforts young people are making towards Peace." To which he responded, "Good, good," with his usual big smile.


No doubt it was a very emotional, one-of-a-kind experience. He showed special joy in shaking hands with the kids that were singing Slovenian songs to welcome him in the magnificent Slovenia National Theater.


But one opening for the exhibition wasn't enough for the organizers of Maribor for Peace. They wanted to give more children and more people the opportunity to participate and see the exhibition. We were very proud and happy that U.S. Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli took the time to open the exhibit on another day when more people were allowed to join us (due to high security with the Dalai Lama). The U.S. Embassy in Slovenia was one of the sponsors of the exhibition and U.S. Ambassador, a native New Yorker, greeted the guests and made it possible for us to invite Slovenian children from three schools to create a Piece for Peace. Now their artworks will travel with the exhibition all around the world.


At this opening, the Deputy Mayor, Tomaz Kancler, also came to congratulate us and praise the exhibition. He announced that just as Maribor is the Cultural Capitol of Europe this year (every year another country and city are chosen), in the summer of 2013 Maribor will be named the Youth Capitol of Europe. He invited us to come back next year to create a Peace Wall, on which we shook hands right there and plans are already on the way. This will be CITYarts' 6th Peace Wall. The more participants the greater the impact will be for our voices for Peace.


After all, the Dalai Lama would love to see Peace while he is still on Earth and "Peace requires action" he announced during his many speeches. That is exactly what CITYarts is doing.


With Best Wishes,


Tsipi Ben-Haim

Executive and Creative Director



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