International Day of Peace 21 September
Α letter from Founder Andrey Dashin:
According to UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon, 2016 is the year of sustainability or how to make the 193 Μember States of the United Nations adopt 17 sustainable development goals in order to promote peace. Whereby sustainability involves the end of poverty, the conservation of the earth’s resources and the establishment of prosperity on a global level. And whereby sustainability addresses the modern challenges of today whether it is diminishing natural resources, water scarcity, social inequality, environmental degradation, diseases, corruption, racism or xenophobia.
2016 has no doubt been a difficult year. There was (and still is) terrorism and extreme religion in Western Europe and Asia, mass shootings and police violence in the USA and of course the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean which is one of the biggest humanitarian problems the world has faced in the last twenty years or so. On top of this, let us not forget the unimaginable poverty and dire conditions faced everyday by the majority of people in Africa or the environmental disintegration and high emission gasses as a result of human activity that contribute to climate change and natural resource scarcity.
Leo Tolstoy’s literary masterpiece ‘War and Peace’ is more prominent today than ever. It is a book about people trying to find their footing in a world being turned upside down by war, social and political change, and spiritual confusion. But it is also a book about love; the kind that raises itself from selfishness and vanity to include everyone and everything.
In his own words, the writer says:
“Yes, love, …but not the love that loves for something, to gain something, or because of something, but that love that I felt for the first time, when dying, I saw my enemy and yet loved him. I knew that feeling of love which is the essence of the soul, for which no object is needed. And I know that blissful feeling now too. To love one’s neighbors; to love one’s enemies. To love everything – to Love God in all His manifestations. Someone dear to one can be loved with human love; but an enemy can only be loved with divine love. And that was why I felt such joy when I felt that I loved that man. What happened to him? Is he alive?’’
When my wife and I set the Andrey & Julia Dashin’s Foundation in Cyprus we committed ourselves to this kind of love. Our mission statement was and still is to help those in need without making any distinctions or discriminations. The ability to make a positive change, even to the life of one community, one family or one person, is and will forever be important. Our promise to help give back to the community of Cyprus is more strong than ever and in doing so we want to inspire others to also engage in volunteerism and the act of giving. Having said this, may the rest of the year be a more peaceful year with less hate and anger and more acceptance and love both on a personal and a global level.