On September 21, 2018, the International Day of Peace, the World Peace Flame will be lit in the Thalden Pavilion, Sustainability Center on the Southern Oregon University (SOU) campus. A delegation from the World Peace Flame Foundation will come to Ashland for the lighting ceremony, together with our State and City dignitaries. This symbol of peace, unity, freedom and celebration aims to inspire people everywhere that the individual plays a crucial role in creating peace at every level. From a few feet to less than a mile from the World Peace Flame Monument reside Walker Elementary School, Ashland Middle School, Ashland High School, and Southern Oregon University. The World Peace Flame will provide hope and inspiration to our future leaders, and light the hearts of all who visit it.
There are few opportunities in our lifetimes to make contributions which have local, national and international significance, directly impact the aspirations of people of our daily lives and the lives of future generations, and become a proud part of our own legacy. This need has never been greater than it is right now. Establishing the World Peace Flame Monument in Ashland, Oregon is that opportunity through which we can recognize and work toward our commonalties, rather than our differences. This is “One Flame – uniting people worldwide”, the tag line from the World Peace Flame Foundation, The Hague, Netherlands.
On September 2015, Irene Kai, co-founder of the Ashland Culture of Peace Commission (ACPC) discovered the World Peace Flame Monument deep in the Snowdonia Mountain in Wales. She was told the history of the World Peace Flame and was offered a candle to light from the flame to bring back to Ashland. Irene lit the candle during the inauguration of ACPC on the International Day of Peace, September 21, 2015.
Local philanthropists Barry and Kathryn Thalden invited Ashland Culture of Peace Commission to put the World Peace Flame in the outdoor pavilion they had endowed at SOU. The World Peace Flame complements the pavilion’s goals of advancing innovation in sustainability and the arts. The eternal flame will be placed near the base of the obelisk encased in glass. It is flanked by two 24-foot cedar carvings by local Native American sculptor, Russell Beebe. He called one of the carvings the “teaching pole”. He said, “at this moment in history, we are at a crossroad; we must choose either the sacred path to wholeness or the path of destruction.” It is fitting for the World Peace Flame to be at the heart of the obelisk, to serve as the living flame igniting the flames in the hearts of all people to commit to walk our sacred path in peace.
The only other World Peace Flame in the United States resides in the Civil Rights Museum, the Lorraine Motel, Memphis, Tennessee, the assassination site of Dr. Martin Luther King. As the City of Ashland had proclaimed itself an International City of Peace, the Ashland monument will be known throughout the Cities of Peace all over the world. Visitors from Oregon, across the United States and from other countries will also be drawn to this flame of peace and carry it in their hearts back to their homes and communities.
We all have a role to play in bringing greater peace and well-being into our lives and that of our community. Please make a donation to ensure that the installation, lighting ceremony and ongoing care of the World Peace Flame will prevail.