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San Miguel gets a peace pole!

By Michael Latriano

The tallest (16.5 m) peace pole in the world is on the Campus of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana. It is made of a 105-year-old Sapele tree. Five languages (Twi—a local language in Ghana, Hindi, Chinese, Swahili and Arabic) have been used to express the peace prayer on the pole: “May Peace be on Earth.”

A peace pole is a monument that displays the message “May Peace Prevail” in the language of the country where it has been placed, and usually two to five additional translations. The message is referred to as a peace prayer.

The idea of peace poles was first thought up by Masahisa Goi in 1955 in Japan. The Peace Pole Project today is furthered by The World Peace Prayer Society. The first peace poles outside Japan were constructed in 1983. Since then, more than 100,000 have been placed around the world in over 180 countries. Peace poles are made of many materials in varying sizes, from tall granite poles to small wooden ones. The text might be carved or etched or painted. In some cases it merely is a plastic sign attached with screws. In San Miguel it is made out of concrete covered with local mosaic tiles, with “May Peace Prevail” in Spanish, Nahuatl and English.

Peace poles have been placed in such notable locations as the North Magnetic Pole, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, the site of the Egyptian Pyramids in Giza, the Aiki Shrine in Iwama, Japan, and numerous community parks. Frequently they are placed near the entrances of churches or schools. In one case, a garden, created for a wedding, was designed around the peace pole that was its centerpiece. The initial inspiration for planting peace poles often is a response to a local issue like the recent surge of criminal violence in San Miguel.

San Miguel’s peace pole is located on Rinconada de la Aldea and has become the rallying point for an emerging San Miguel peace initiative called Camino de la Paz. On Tuesday, April 22, international Earth Day, there was an event which includes the official dedication of the San Miguel Peace Pole. The event started at at Parque Juárez, where there were programs for children, music and many other activities. The group then walked (led by flute music) to the walkway to LifePath on Rinconada de la Aldea (soon to be renamed Camino de la Paz) for a dedication ceremony of the peace pole and the other art work. The event was called “Peace on Earth Day!”


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