Members of the Tarumi Violin Children’s Foundation for the Arts, hold the unique distinction of performing for four UN Secretary-Generals, namely, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary- General Kofi Annan, and the late UN Secretary- General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. UN Photo/ Eskinder Debebe.
The United Nations celebrated the International Day of Peace at UN Headquarters in New York City on September 15 this year, ahead of the usual September 21 date for this commemoration. Among the pieces performed by the Tarumi Violinists were, “The Blue Danube Waltz” by Johann Strauss, “Mama Paquita”, a Brazilian carnival song, and “Tarantella”, a traditional Italian folk dance. Guy Brewer was the accompanist.
According to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, “This day honours the spirit of TOGETHER, a global initiative that promotes respect, safety and dignity for everyone forced to flee their homes in search of a better life.” “Together” stated Yukako Tarumi, “the Tarumi Violinists have experienced the healing power of music, and the students have learned that their music is a powerful tool to bring comfort to those in need.”
In a video message released ahead of the day, the Secretary-General said: “On the International Day of Peace, we reflect on the cruel price of war: Ruined schools, bombed hospitals, broken families, and refugees searching for hope. Our mission is to work for peace every day and everywhere. No group interest, national ambition, or political difference should be allowed to put peace at risk.”
The Secretary-General added: “The International Day of Peace, traditionally observed on September 21 every year, was established in 1991 by the United Nations General Assembly. In 2001, the Assembly unanimously voted to designate the Day as a period of non-violence and ceasefire.
The United Nations invited all nations and peoples to honour a cessation of hostilities during the Day, and to otherwise commemorate it through education and public awareness on peace-related issues. The present year also marks the twentieth International Day of Peace Student Observance at the United Nations which began in 1997.
The Tarumi Violinists have performed on the International Day of Peace for 20 years, and over a decade at the Earth Day on the Equinox (March 20-21) events initiated by John McConnell, the founder of International Earth Day (Earth Day on the Equinox), and co-founder of the Earth Society Foundation at United Nations Headquarters in New York with the ringing of the UN Peace Bell.
At UN Headquarters in New York, activities for the day began at 9:00 a.m. on September 15, with the traditional Peace Bell ceremony in the Japanese Peace Garden. UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutters and Miroslav Lajcak (Slovakia), President of the 72nd General Assembly, rang the Peace Bell in the company of Ambassador Koro Bessho, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, and Alison Smale, Under-Secretary for Global Communications.
Joining them was United Nations Messengers of Peace, Jane Goodall and students holding the flags of all 193 Member States, as well as that of the United Nations. At 9:30am in Conference Room 4, more than 700 high school and university students heard from the Secretary-General, Ms. Goodal, and Jayathma Wickramanayake, the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth.
Pictured (from left to right) is Jayathma Wickramanayake, the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Alison Smale, Under Secretary-General for Global Communications, Jamaila Lajcakova-Hargasova, wife of the President of the General Assembly, UN Messenger of Peace, Jane Goodall, Mariko Bessho, wife of the Permanent Representative of Japan, Koro Bessho, Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, Chef de Cabinet to the Secretary-General, and Frantisek Ruzicka, Permanent Representative of the Slovak Republic. UN Photo/Kim Haughton.
The highly motivated Tarumi Violinists who performed at this year’s International Day of Peace represent many different nationalities and backgrounds. They include Americans Argentinians, Japanese, Cubans, and Iranians. Other students and their families are from India, Poland, Pakistan, Israel, China, and Taiwan.
Some violinists are Italian, Hungarian, Filipino, or Irish. Others are Puerto Rican, Native American Indian (Choctaw) or of African-American heritage. Whatever their background, these violinists consider themselves “global citizens of the world.”
According to Yukako Tarumi, Director, “As a result of their extensive travels, the study and performance of music from various cultures, and their ethnically diverse membership, our young students have learned to appreciate the unique music of diversified communities of the world, the common bonds that we share, and the special ability of music to reach the hearts of people around the globe.”
Consequently, Yukako Tarumi is encouraging her talented young musicians to become “global citizens”. It starts by promoting respect and responsibility across cultures at a young age, and through Global Citizenship Education, a UN initiative, children will learn how to live together in a positive way.
Besides performing many times at UN Headquarters, the Tarumi Violinists have used their talents to support worthy charities and organizations such as UNICEF, the Coalition for the Homeless, and the Ronald McDonald House. They have performed at numerous nursing homes, hospitals, and charities for disabled children, too.