Graham F. Smith Peace Foundation

25 September, 2019

The Hon. J.S. LEE (15:24): It is a great honour to rise today and speak about the Graham F. Smith Peace Foundation 2019 Peace Rules showcase and the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run Torch-Bearer Award presentation. The Graham F. Smith Peace Foundation was established in 1989 as the Graham F. Smith Peace Trust in memory of the legacy of Graham Smith, who was a lifelong educator and peace activist. I would like to pay tribute to the founder, the wonderful Leonie Ebert, who established the peace foundation in honour of her late husband, Graham Smith, and congratulate the foundation for celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

It was a great honour to attend the Peace Rules Performing Arts Award Showcase, which was held on Thursday 19 September 2019. The students from participating secondary schools were asked to create and present a three to five-minute performance, film or multimedia work on the theme of 'peace rules'. It is the second Peace Rules showcase, which involved South Australian students to give voice to the question, 'What can I do to contribute to peace through the arts?' These young performers projected their social responsibility through their bold and creative expression.

I was most impressed by the quality, the creativity and the thoughtfulness of the performances and projects presented by the students. It was the most amazing showcase, where young people were able to deliver their powerful and engaging messages to advocate for peace through performing arts.

Congratulations go to all the participating schools for their inspiring showcase, which include Aberfoyle Park High School, Adelaide High School, Blackwood High School, Golden Grove High School, MQ Dance Education, Navigator College, Nazareth Catholic College, Para Hills High School, Pembroke School and St Aloysius College.

It was an honour to present awards to deserving winners. Para Hills High School received the excellence award for their pieces 'We Stand for Peace' and 'Red Dust Plain'. The merit award went to Blackwood High School's 'Breaking Silence', and the encouragement award was presented to Golden Grove High School for their piece 'Silence'. Congratulations to everyone.

Such a showcase requires people who are committed to make things happen seamlessly. I wish to thank and congratulate the Peace Rules showcase committee; stage manager, Jamie Veneman; Robyn Callan, the assistant stage manager; Corinne Berry; and all committee members for their hard work and dedication on this important showcase. The Peace Foundation is run entirely by volunteers, and I thank all those individuals, presenters, award judges and sponsors who supported the showcase and enabled teachers and students to engage in performing arts projects to promote peace.

In addition to the Peace Rules performing arts awards, the Peace Foundation this year also incorporated the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run in the presentation of the Torch-Bearer Award. 2019 marks the 32nd anniversary of the Sri Chinmoy Peace Run in Australia. The motto of the peace run is 'Peace begins with me', a message that empowers every single person to contribute to a brighter and better future for all.

It was wonderful to catch up with South Australian coordinator, Ivan Marek, and his wife, Helen, along with Januja Reynolds, John Willis and other peace runners on the night. I can still vividly remember the time we spent together when I welcomed the peace torch runners on the steps of Parliament House on Saturday 15 September 2018.

I was deeply honoured to be presented with the Peace Run Torch-Bearer Award this year during the showcase. It was a very humbling experience and a memorable occasion to accept the award in the presence of Leonie Ebert, an inspiring and remarkable community builder, who was the 2018 award recipient of the Peace Run Torch-Bearer Award. It was one of many public recognitions for her longstanding commitment in promoting peace in all its forms.

Thank you sincerely to everyone at the Graham F. Smith Peace Foundation and the Sri Chinmoy Peace Run teams for their enduring passion to promote peace so that we can all enjoy living in a harmonious and inclusive society.