On the occasion of October 2, The International Day of Non‐Violence, AUNOHR launched “The National Day of Non-Violence in Lebanon” and unveiled the universal "Sculpture of Non‐Violence” (The iconic knotted gun by the late Swedish painter, sculptor and peace activist Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd), in a first Arab capital, Beirut, on October 2nd 2018, in the presence of Arun Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma, Ingeborg Breines, former co-president of the International Peace Bureau, (both Gandhi and Breines are members of the International advisory Council of AUNOHR), Mr. Blaise Oberson, CEO of the Non-Violence Project Foundation (NVPF) which owned the rights to the sculpture.
Oct 2nd celebration was a cultural commemoration, under the patronage of the Prime Minister Mr. Saad Hariri who was represented by the Minister of Culture Mr. Ghattas Khoury, with the participation of officials, ambassadors, artists, intellectuals, Medias, academics, civil society, international organizations, youth and students from all the country.
It was an impressive event, broadcasting live on the main Lebanese TV channel (LBCI), and supported by the BDL, UNICEF, LACR, individuals and many contributions in kind.
Ogarit Younan, AUNOHR Founder and the initiator of the event and its pioneer achievements, emphasized that it is our responsibility to choose nonviolence over violence by following the idea of this statue and the words of Gandhi "Be the change that you want to see in the world”. She expressed her satisfaction for this courageous initiative scattering a “knotted gun” in a public place in Beirut especially in these circumstances surrounding us by all kind of wars, extremism and violence.
And to remember, it was on AUNOHR’s initiative that a Ministerial Decree was declared by the government in October 2016 to establish officially the National day for the culture of nonviolence in Lebanon, and thus to coincide with the International Day of Non-Violence, adopted by the UN in 2007, October 2nd, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi.
Arun Gandhi’s presence as guest of honor inspired the audience; he was on a first visit to Lebanon invited by AUNOHR. When he learned about the founding of the university in 2009, he was overwhelmed "My grandfather always dreamed of a professional institution that teaches nonviolence that will continue through generations and liberate nations… I was ecstatic when I heard that an Arab University for Nonviolence is taking shape in Lebanon. I am happy to be associated with this venture…”
Arabic version of “Imagine” by children
With charming and touching voices, eight children from the Arabic program “The Voice Kids” from Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, sang John Lennon’s song “Imagine”, a special and impressive compilation arranged by Jean-Marie Riachi, a peaceful artistic achievement produced by the University for its wide dissemination throughout the Arab world.
Schoolchildren designing the “knotted gun”
They were the first children from different schools, regions and religions in Lebanon, designing the “knotted gun” with their creative ideas after being trained on the meaning of the sculpture and the Day of nonviolence, and participating in this first celebration with their teachers and parents. They overwhelmed the place with their paintings, a rose in their hands with a certificate of appreciation offered by AUNOHR to each of them without any competitive method.