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Art Work presentation to the Surrey City Hall


It was an exciting and heart warming celebration of the U. N. International Day of Peace which was sponsored by the Global Peace Alliance and held at the Surrey City Hall on September 21st 2019. During this lovely and an extensive event a special presentation was also made to the Surrey City Hall. A collage art work with the following inscription was presented;

"Assalamu Alaikum- Peace Be Upon You

U.N. International Day of Peace

Presented by Global Peace Alliance

and Farooq M. Rai ( Peace & Harmony )

to Surrey City Hall "

The City of Surrey Councillor Laurie Guerra, Chair of the Parks, Recreation and Culture Committee graciously accepted the unique art work on behalf of the City and also spoke eloquently on this auspicious occasion.

The president of the GPA, Ms. Niovi Patsicakis introduced Farooq Rai, a Canadian of Pakistan origin by making the following remarks ; " Mr. Farooq Rai, has had an extensive public service career in British Columbia dating back to 1966.

He was a member of the Provincial Advisory Council on Multiculturalism and assisted in the passage of BC's Multiculturalism Act. Mr. Rai was appointed as the first Assistant Deputy Minister, and Head of Ministry responsible for Multiculturalism and Immigration in 1994.

Also a writer and advocate in the community, Mr. Rai was recognized for his dedicated volunteer work and efforts in promoting better intercultural relations. He considers the message of Peace & Harmony important and it is the theme of his unique art work.

We are very pleased that Mr. Rai is presenting the City of Surrey with one of his art works on behalf of Global Peace Alliance, Surrey.”

Farooq responded by stating that;

" I was touched to see the very moving First Nations greetings and blessings by the Kwantlen chief. I am reminded that when we celebrate Multiculturalism related events we should never forget that with the exception of the aboriginal people, all of us are immigrants. We must therefore be mindful of this and always recognize its important significance .

I want to convey my appreciation to the present and past Mayors and City Councillors for their dedicated work in promoting harmonious cross cultural relation. I acknowledge every one's hard work and contribution in this regard.  Incidentally  in 1993-94, I had the pleasure of working as a member of the Mayor's Advisory Committee on Youth Violence, City of Surrey while on a leave of absence without pay. A subsequent report titled " A call for Action" was published.

Secondly, I want to take this opportunity here to recognize the work of Global Peace Alliance.  I consider an asset and a positive reflection of a City to have such worthy organizations around, who are working hard in promoting peace. We should acknowledge the work of the volunteers performed by the committed  citizens. I ask you to applaud their spirit of volunteer work.

I, for this reason, take pleasure in making the joint presentation with GPA to the City of Surrey on this particular day, when we are celebrating U.N. International Day of Peace. By the way our family visited Africa earlier this year where our daughter is working for the UNHCR and the ' field work' is an eye opener.

My last point is in reference to the presenting art work and relevance to the City Hall.  Historically, City Hall is known to be a place where citizens go for a variety of reasons. In recent times, City Hall has also become a venue where all sorts of activities take place such as the one we are having now.

This particular art work is part of my " Peace & Harmony " Exhibition.  'Assalamu Alaikum' means Peace be upon you.

It is a simple message of goodwill which is symbolically inscribed on a doorway so that all citizens are welcome. Thank you."

The Global Peace Alliance, Surrey Society (GPA) held its ‘Give Peace a Chance’ Surrey Festival. The festival celebrated the International Day of Peace which is set by the United Nations and It’s theme this year reflects our climate crisis, and calls for the earth’s protection. At this event GPA also recognized, with certificates, prizes and trophies, the participants and the winners of the 2019 PEACE-THEMED LITERARY & VISUAL ARTS CONTESTS.

The festival this year had fun art activities for the young. This was a free event open to the public. Refreshments were also served. There were prominent authors There was an arts and craft room for the young at heart and  exhibit of arts on the theme of peace.

Global peace Alliance is a non profit organization run by directors from varied ethnic, religious and political background.  The board consists of Niovi Patsicakis , Patrick O’Connor, Asad Syed, Rajesh Jiyaparkash , Annie Ohanna, Maryam Boukherbani , Furqan Gehlen .