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World Peace Pavilion Let Your Vision Be World Embracing

Let Your Vision Be World Embracing

by Alva Robinson

Dartmouth, Nova Scotia is situated on one side of a welcoming harbour on the Atlantic Ocean. It was here during the G7 Summit of June 1995 that the World Peace Pavilion was officially opened by the seven visiting Foreign Ministers.

The concept for the Peace Pavilion began seven years previously in 1989 when a group of youth held a Unity Conference. The group, Metro Youth for Global Unity, was created comprised of youth from various religious and cultural backgrounds. Their vision was to create a testament to peace. After consultation they decided to write to every country in the World (or at least those that had official representatives in Canada) asking for a rock to represent the Earth we all share and a brick to represent our efforts to shape our future.

The letter writing campaign continued. As donations were received, community officials became interested and eventually an act of Council was passed donating the land and offering official support for the endeavor. During the preparations for the G7 Summit it was decided that the time was right to build the facility that would house the donations. A contest was held for the design of the pavilion.

The winning design was based on a pyramid. The equilateral triangle base is a symbol of equality and unity. The top was left open to the stars and boundary free. The exhibits, ordered geographically starting with Canada, are placed in a unifying ribbon of Nova Scotia sand facing towards the harbour. Within the facility is a small amphitheater facing the exhibits suitable for solitary reflection and/or ceremonial or educational purposes. Over the exhibits, facing the harbour, for the world to see are the words: "Let Your Vision Be World-Embracing" a quote from the Baha'i Writings.

So far seventy countries have participated in the exhibit. Large signature pieces were sent such as a chunk of the Great Wall of China and some remains of the Berlin Wall. Very precious gems were sent such as the wonderful display of amethysts from Uruguay. Many pieces were specially commissioned for the Pavilion such as the plate from Ecuador and the brass plaque made from ammunition fragments after World War II from Slovakia. Countries sent donations from their most cherished historical sites, their proudest achievements and poignant reminders of the price of peace and fragility of human life.

In 1998 the Dartmouth Community of Baha'is signed an agreement with the local government to form a stewardship relationship for the World Peace Pavilion. They agreed to inspect the facility frequently, assist in clean up operations, document the history of the Pavilion and its exhibits and work with other groups to raise the profile of the Pavilion.

The Pavilion is visited by many people. Tourists from the donating countries come to see their contributions. Many school groups and children's groups visit as a learning activity for geography, history, social studies and as an example of the power of what children and youth can do.