Minister Norton calls on citizens to understand, embrace diversity -at Peace Concert

Georgetown, Guyana (September 22, 2017) Minister of Social Cohesion with responsibility for Culture, Youth, and Sport, Dr. George Norton, last evening, said that Guyanese should be proud to live in a society that is a shining example of diversity. He made these remarks at a Peace Walk and Concert, which was held in observance of International Day of Peace. The event was held on the Lawns of the National Museum under the theme, “Together for peace respect, safety, and dignity for all”.

Minister of Social Cohesion with responsibility for Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr. George Norton greets members of the Guyana Karate College at the Peace Walk and Concert. The event was held in observance of International Day of Peace under the theme: Together for peace, respect, safety, and dignity for all.

The Minister explained that for peace to be prevalent in society, the celebration of diversity and unity is key. “Diversity is being showcased at this event, which brings together persons from different backgrounds for a common cause. We all must be proud when we look around and we see the diversity, and we can understand the diversity.”

The Minister continued his remarks by urging Guyanese everywhere to resist cultural, religious, and racial exclusion. He encouraged Guyanese to look forward to a future of togetherness. “Coexisting peacefully in communities across the country will help to build a unified country. We can look forward to the day in the very near future where most of our communities will be as diversified as we can imagine, yet we will all be coexisting peacefully,” the Minister said.

Minister Norton reminded attendees that harsh conflict and violence are not acceptable means to resolve differences, but that peaceful conflict resolution starts with open conversation. “We must always remember that conflicts can be easily resolved even at the level of the household. There is no need for us to become violent or for us to do anything to harm one another. Conflicts can be peacefully resolved if dialogue and communication [are] promoted.”

The Glaston Twirling Dancerettes Company prepares to march and perform at the Ministry of Social Cohesion’s Peace Walk and Concert.

Ms. Chrisandra Limburgh from the Buxton Arts Theatre, said that, “There is a need for more activities like these. We have to target schools because there is violence in schools, violence in the community, violence at home. Activities like this would shed light on what is supposed to happen, where you can get assistance from, who to speak to, and the end [goal] is to stop violence.” Ms. Limburgh also commended the Minister on taking the lead in this area. “He did a powerful talk and I do hope [that] everybody who listened takes back something to their community”.

The United Nations established the International Day of Peace in 1981 to strengthen ideals of peace throughout and among all nations and people. The concert featured cultural performances in song, dance, poetry, and karate display. Representatives and performers from the Twelve Tribes of Israel, Buxton Arts Theatre, Dominion Dance Group, Guyana Karate College, Islamic Community, and Guyana Congregational Young People’s Union, were all in attendance. A Peace Walk was held prior to the concert where participants walked from Parade Ground to the Lawns of the National Museum.

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