Meeting of Friends in the Alley of Peace

    Tree-planting Festival in Saint-Petersburg, May 25, 2002

    Students and guests of the Saint Petersburg Brahma Kumaris Centre gathered together on 25 May for a spring tree-planting ceremony in the Alley of Peace created by BK members in the northern capital of Russia.

B.K.Santosh, Director of Brahma Kumaris (St.Petersburg), said, "Tree-planting is a deep symbol of our tendency to bring benefit to ourselves and those near and dear to us, to our community and the world in general on the long-term basis. It strengthens our relationships because since we have planted the saplings together we have to water and sustain them together". The guests of the festival included President and members of the St.Petersburg Rotary Club "Neva", representatives of the local administration, leaders and members of several social organisations, president of the Indian medical students' council and medical students from India and Sri Lanka.

    The ceremony held ahead of the City Birthday is not the first of its kind. Such programmes seem to have become a good tradition in St. Petersburg. The Alley of Peace was born two years ago when about 70 new saplings were planted on the Poklonnaya Hill in this city. B.K. Vijay explained the guests that "the Alley of Peace was created in 2000 as part of the Culture of Peace project held by the Brahma Kumaris in partnership with UNESCO. We have created it in support of the Culture of Peace and Goodwill. Today we are planting a few more trees to make this corner of the city even more beautiful".

    The participants of the festival were wonder-struck as they heard B.K.Santosh addressing them in the Ukrainian language! She explained that she had just recently came back from a service trip to several Ukrainian cities where a number of seminars, Round Tables and a Retreat for the BK's had taken place. "They have been especially asking if we are going to plant walnut-tress today as these trees are very much loved in Ukraine". The wish of B.K.students of Kiev, Odessa and Donetsk was fulfilled as a few walnut-trees, pines and lime-trees added to the Alley.

Mr. Anatoly Likhtine, deputy head of the local administration, called the growing Alley a tribute of respect to the City and its residents who are able now to visit this beautiful corner of nature and enjoy the atmosphere of peace and silence".

    Mr. Igor Bogolepov, Doctor of Science, president of the St.Petersburg Union of Scientists and Inventors, expressed his concern about the lack of balance between materialistic and moral development in today's world. "Even having access to all material resources man still cannot be happy if he is not committed to moral values. Therefore the Spiritual University is carrying out a task of utmost importance. Now these are just small islands of spiritual Renaissance in the sea of problems but humanity will perish without them".

    Mr. Issa Togo, president of the Rotary Club "Neva" in St. Petersburg remarked that the ceremony of tree-planting conveys an important message. "If each one of us does something good wherever they are locally, we will be able to increase the moral level of the world in general".

    The Alley of Peace is waiting for you. Welcome!

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