Festival de la Poésie de Montréal, Canada, 2 June 2016

Québé­cois poets Dominique Gauch­er, Hélène Lep­ine, Jacques Ouel­let and Michel Pleau and Bhik­shu­ni Weis­brot and Eliz­a­beth Lara came togeth­er in a col­lab­o­ra­tion between the Fes­ti­val de la Poésie de Mon­tréal and the UNSRC Soci­ety of Writ­ers. LANCEMENT BONHEUR: L’ARBRE-JOIE fea­tured select­ed read­ings on the sub­ject of hap­pi­ness. Poems from Hap­pi­ness The Delight-Tree includ­ed those of anthol­o­gy poets Jacques Ouel­let and Michel Pleau, as well as those of Nora Atal­la read by Dominique Gauch­er and Hélène Lap­ine read­ing the poems of Québé­cois poet Jean Désy and her French trans­la­tion of Pales­tin­ian poet Maya Abu Al-Hay­at. Music was pro­vid­ed by an instru­men­tal ensem­ble lead by Pava­ka Ritchot. The event was mas­ter­ful­ly orga­nized by Isabelle Courteau and Soniya Rose­val. 

Mer­ci à tous!

 

International Day of Happiness, UNESCO Literary House, Reykjavik, Iceland, 20 March 2016

Lára Aðal­steins­dót­tir, Pro­gram Man­ag­er for Reyk­javík UNESCO City of Lit­er­a­ture, wel­comed the audi­ence to UNESCO Lit­er­ary House where poets Aðal­steinn Ásberg Sig­urðs­son and Bhik­shu­ni Weis­brot joined with philoso­pher Gun­nar Hersveinn and rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the Depart­ment of Pub­lic Health Sigrún Daníels­dót­tir to share their per­spec­tives on hap­pi­ness. Adding to the spir­it of the pro­gram was music per­formed by an ensem­ble from the Sri Chin­moy Cen­tre of Ice­land. It was not­ed that Ice­land ranked #3 out of 156 coun­tries in the World Hap­pi­ness Report 2016.

 

Poetry as Diplomacy: A Reading and Panel Discussion, Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House, New York University, 4  March 2016

An inno­v­a­tive pro­gram on the poten­tial force poet­ry can play as a tool in diplo­ma­cy was the focus at a read­ing and pan­el dis­cus­sion on poet­ry at NYU’s Lil­lian Ver­non Cre­ative Writ­ers House on 4 March 2016. Co-spon­sored by the UNSRC Soci­ety of Writ­ers, the NYU Gal­latin Writ­ing Pro­gram and Tisch School of the Arts Depart­ment of Arts and Pub­lic Pol­i­cy, the pro­gram was the brain­child of Hap­pi­ness the Delight-Tree co-edi­tor Dar­rel Ale­jan­dro Holnes, who teach­es at the NYU Gal­latin School of Indi­vid­u­al­ized Study. A full house on a Fri­day evening drew delight­ed com­ments from poets Nao­mi Shi­hab Nye and Meena Alexan­der whose read­ings top­i­cal­ly drew on their unique cul­tur­al her­itages and inter­na­tion­al expe­ri­ence as well as the impor­tance of hap­pi­ness in glob­al exchange.

In her open­ing remarks, UNSRC Soci­ety of Writ­ers Pres­i­dent Bhik­shu­ni Weis­brot quot­ed the late Sec­re­tary-Gen­er­al Dag Hammarskjöld’s illu­min­ing com­ments on diplo­ma­cy and the writ­ten word. Co-edi­tor Eliz­a­beth Lara joined in the pan­el dis­cus­sion to pro­vide insight­ful ref­er­ences to the his­tor­i­cal role of poet­ry as a means to con­vey polit­i­cal vision, pol­i­cy rec­om­men­da­tion and diplo­mat­ic finesse.

 

Universitas Hindu Indonesia, Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, 22 January 2016

The Uni­ver­si­tas Hin­du Indone­sia was the host in a mul­ti-cul­tur­al pan­el on “The Con­tri­bu­tions of Poet­ry to Inter­cul­tur­al Dia­logue and Hap­pi­ness” on 22 Jan­u­ary 2016. Unit­ed Nations Soci­ety of Writ­ers Pres­i­dent Bhik­shu­ni Weis­brot joined with fel­low Indone­sian poets, artists and aca­d­e­mics to read selec­tions from Hap­pi­ness the Delight-Tree, as well as selec­tions from the poet­ry anthol­o­gy On Human Flour­ish­ing. Dr. Diane But­ler of Dhar­ma Nature Time, a foun­da­tion to sup­port inter­cul­tur­al under­stand­ing through the shar­ing of the arts, pro­vid­ed trans­la­tion in both Bahasa Indone­sian and Eng­lish. The event was cov­ered and aired on TVRI Bali.

 

Human Rights Day Celebration, The Panorama of My Silence-Heart café, Jamaica, New York, 10 December 2015

Arti­cle 27 of the Uni­ver­sal Dec­la­ra­tion of Human Rights … “Every­one has the right to freely par­tic­i­pate in the cul­tur­al life of the com­mu­ni­ty, to enjoy the arts and share in its ben­e­fits”.… pro­vid­ed the frame­work for a cel­e­bra­tion of Human Rights Day, 10 Decem­ber 2015. An appre­cia­tive audi­ence gath­ered to wel­come fea­ture poets Ami­ra El-Zein and Rachel Jami­son Web­ster, joined by Ran­jana K. Ghose, Direc­tor of the Jhar­na-Kala Art Foun­da­tion offer­ing open­ing remarks and musi­cian Pre­mik Rus­sell Tubbs and friends, for an evening of poet­ry and song. The Panora­ma of My Silence-Heart café in Queens pro­vid­ed the venue and orga­nized the event, which also fea­tured a pho­to exhib­it mark­ing the 70th anniver­sary of the Unit­ed Nations.

 

Rutgers University, Writers House, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 5 November 2015

Co-edi­tor Dar­rel Ale­jan­dro Holnes orga­nized and host­ed a poet­ry read­ing at Rut­gers Uni­ver­si­ty Writ­ers House on 5 Novem­ber 2015, where he teach­es poet­ry and cre­ative writ­ing. Nation­al Book Award win­ning poet Mark Doty played a dual role as both read­er and Pro­fes­sor of Eng­lish and Direc­tor of Writ­ers House in wel­com­ing poets Meena Alexan­der, Javier Zamo­ra and fel­low Rut­gers Pro­fes­sor and poet Abena Busia (via Skype) to a read­ing and dis­cus­sion on the poet­ry of hap­pi­ness.  Stu­dents shared in the live­ly and thought­ful Q&A which fol­lowed, open­ing with the ques­tion: How can poet­ry be a quest for peace?  UNSRC Soci­ety of Writ­ers mem­ber and co-edi­tor Eliz­a­beth Lara act­ed as MC in this notable event which marked the first uni­ver­si­ty appear­ance for Hap­pi­ness the Delight-Tree.

 

The International Poetry Forum (Foro Internacional de Poesía: Tradición y ruptura en la poesía contemporánea), Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 9 to 11 October 2015

The Inter­na­tion­al Poet­ry Forum (Foro Inter­na­cional de Poesía: Tradi­ción y rup­tura en la poesía con­tem­poránea) took place in San­to Domin­go, Domini­can Repub­lic, from 9 to 11 Octo­ber 2015. The coun­tries rep­re­sent­ed, in addi­tion to the Domini­can Repub­lic, includ­ed Argenti­na, Colom­bia, Cos­ta Rica, Greece, Italy, Mex­i­co, Spain, Sri Lanka,Venezuela, and the Unit­ed States/Puerto Rico. At the Forum, co-edi­tor Eliz­a­beth Lara pre­sent­ed Hap­pi­ness: The Delight-Tree – An Anthol­o­gy of Con­tem­po­rary Inter­na­tion­al Poet­ry. She intro­duced the par­tic­i­pants to the process that led to the adop­tion of UN Gen­er­al Assem­bly res­o­lu­tion 66/281, which cre­at­ed the Inter­na­tion­al Day of Hap­pi­ness, and invit­ed both writ­ers and read­ers to look at the future through the lens of hap­pi­ness and incor­po­rate it in their work.

 

The Ninth Dominican Book Fair, New York, 26 September 2015

Hap­pi­ness The Delight-Tree, an Anthol­o­gy of Con­tem­po­rary Inter­na­tion­al Poet­ry was pre­sent­ed on 26 Sep­tem­ber 2015 at the Ninth Domini­can Book Fair in New York. The read­ing and dis­cus­sion includ­ed poet Rei Berroa, whose poem “The Use­ful­ness of Laugh­ter” appears in the book, and New York-based Domini­can poets Yrene San­tos and Jose de la Rosa.

 

Brooklyn Book Fair and The International Day of Peace, 20 to 21 September 2015

Hap­pi­ness and peace forged a per­fect part­ner­ship at a two day event, begin­ning with the out­door Brook­lyn Book Fes­ti­val held on Sun­day 20 Sep­tem­ber 2015, where Hap­pi­ness The Delight-Tree was one of hun­dreds of books fea­tured at the fes­ti­val before a live­ly crowd of lit­er­ary patrons. The fol­low­ing evening, poets and Unit­ed Nations staff hon­ored The Inter­na­tion­al Day of Peace at an offi­cial Brook­lyn Book Fes­ti­val Event held at St. Ann & the Holy Trin­i­ty Church, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the UNSRC Soci­ety of Writ­ers.  The Rev. John E. Denaro, Rec­tor of St. Ann’s, wel­comed the audi­ence with a prayer for peace, fol­lowed by Ramu Damodaran (Chief of the Unit­ed Nations Aca­d­e­m­ic Impact Out­reach Divi­sion, DPI and Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed Nations Staff Recre­ation Coun­cil), who spoke elo­quent­ly on the rela­tion­ship between peace and hap­pi­ness through the work of the Unit­ed Nations. Fea­ture poets includ­ed: Meena Alexan­der, Dara Bar­nat, Rei Berroa, Rose­bud Ben-Oni, Sharon Dolin, Nil­push­pi White, Michèle Voltaire Marcelin and musi­cian Pre­mik Rus­sell Tubbs. Peace, the pow­er­ful theme of the evening, was graced by the per­for­mance of “Peace: God’s Beau­ty in His One­ness-Home,” a choral arrange­ment of a few of spir­i­tu­al teacher Sri Chinmoy’s songs. To close the evening, all present were invit­ed to hold the peace torch of the glob­al Sri Chin­moy One­ness-Home Peace Run and offer his or her own silent prayer for peace.

 

Antologia Poetica International (El Dia Internacional de la Paz), Buenos Aires Argentina, 21 September 2015 

SBS Libre­ria Inter­na­cional in Buenos Aires, Argenti­na host­ed a cel­e­bra­tion on The Inter­na­tion­al Day of Peace on 21 Sep­tem­ber 2015, in a pro­gram fea­tur­ing poets Julia Enriquez and Flo­ren­cia Gut­man of Argenti­na as well as Raquel Lubar­tows­ki Nog­a­ra, who trav­eled to the event from Mon­tivideo, Uruguay. Musi­cal pre­sen­ta­tions includ­ing a poem/song from Hap­pi­ness the Delight-Tree were offered by Argen­tin­ian musi­cian and gui­tarist Otto. The pro­gram was orga­nized by Suchana Cao of Buenos Aires, who has  orga­nized numer­ous pro­grams for peace through­out Argenti­na.

 

World Heart Beat Music Academy, Wandsworth, London, 30 June 2015

The World Heart Beat Music Acad­e­my exem­pli­fied the spir­it of cre­ativ­i­ty as a uni­ver­sal form of com­mu­ni­ca­tion when it wel­comed poets, musi­cians and stu­dent per­form­ers (per­form­ing their orig­i­nal com­po­si­tion “Cham­pi­ons of the World”) to Hap­pi­ness The Delight-Tree, a cel­e­bra­tion in poet­ry and song on 30 June 2015. Fol­low­ing an open­ing recep­tion, gra­cious­ly offered by founder Sahana Gero, UNSRC Soci­ety of Writ­ers Pres­i­dent Bhik­shu­ni Weis­brot joined co-edi­tors Dar­rel Ale­jan­dro Holnes and Eliz­a­beth Lara in an unprece­dent­ed evening, host­ing an array of inter­na­tion­al poets and musi­cians includ­ing Ger­not Blume (Ger­many), Shirin Raza­vian (Iran), Shazea Quraishi (Pak­istan), Gre­ta Stod­dart (Eng­land) and George Szirtes (Hun­gary). Infinity’s Sky Music group, per­formed the songs of Sri Chin­moy and Igor Shafer­an, both of whose songs/poems can be found in the anthol­o­gy.

 

Hay Festival, Kells, Co. Meath, Ireland, 26 June 2015 

Hap­pi­ness The Delight-Tree, an Anthol­o­gy of Con­tem­po­rary Inter­na­tion­al Poet­ry made its inter­na­tion­al debut at the 2015 Hay Fes­ti­val, 26 June 2015, shar­ing the 4-day event with nov­el­ists, play­wrights, his­to­ri­ans, come­di­ans and jour­nal­ists. The theme of hap­pi­ness played a sig­nif­i­cant role in the festival’s theme of “Imag­ine the World” or “as the Irish say” Samh­laigh an domhan. Irish poet and Meath Coun­ty native Peter Fal­lon lent a spe­cial warmth to the event, evok­ing the great Irish lit­er­ary tra­di­tion as he opened the read­ing with his poem, “Day and Night”. He was joined by coun­try­man Bre­da Wall Ryan, Welsh poet Men­na Elfyn read­ing in both Welsh and Eng­lish, and Scot­tish poet, nov­el­ist and play­wright, Alan Spence, who also played flute and pro­vid­ed a musi­cal lilt to the read­ing. Spe­cial thanks to orga­niz­er Paula Flood.

 

Presentation and Book Signing, UN Bookshop, UN Headquarters, New York, 19 March 2015

Hap­pi­ness The Delight-Tree, an Anthol­o­gy of Con­tem­po­rary Inter­na­tion­al Poet­ry was launched at the new­ly ren­o­vat­ed UN Book­shop on 19 March 2015. The anthol­o­gy, com­piled in hon­or of the Inter­na­tion­al Day of Hap­pi­ness, 20 March, includes poet­ry of 55 coun­tries in 33 lan­guages on the sub­ject of hap­pi­ness. The launch was announced at the ear­li­er DPI/NGO event, “The Para­dox of Income and Hap­pi­ness”. Jef­frey Brez, Chief, NGO Rela­tions, Advo­ca­cy and Spe­cial Events, intro­duced Pul­tiz­er Prize win­ning poet Yusef Komun­yakaa, who closed the pro­gram with his poem from the anthol­o­gy, “With My Fish-Skin Drum.” 

On behalf of the UN Book­shop, Maher Nas­sar, Direc­tor, Out­reach Divi­sion, DPI, wel­comed  a stand­ing room only crowd to hear the poet­ry of Dara Bar­nat, Rose­bud Ben-Oni, Sharon Dolin, Yusef Komun­yakaa, Laren McClung, Yevge­ny Yev­tushenko (read by Dhi­ro­da­ta Moskalev), Javier Zamo­ra and UNSRC Soci­ety of Writ­ers mem­bers Nil­push­pi White and Di Zou. The emi­nent lit­er­ary and cul­tur­al Homme de Let­tres, H.E. Mohamed Mijarul Quayes, Ambas­sador of Bangladesh to Brazil, began the read­ing with an elo­quent ren­di­tion of the title poem: “Hap­pi­ness, the Delight-Tree”, by Sri Chin­moy. Co-edi­tors Dar­rel Ale­jan­dro Holnes, Eliz­a­beth Lara and Bhik­shu­ni Weis­brot host­ed the event.

 

Happiness: A Visual Poem at the Queens Museum, New York, 3 to 24 March, 2013

Cel­e­brat­ing the first Unit­ed Nations Inter­na­tion­al Day of Hap­pi­ness, the Queens Muse­um of Art, in con­junc­tion with the UNSRC Soci­ety of Writ­ers, dis­plays a visu­al­ly arrest­ing exhib­it com­bin­ing poet­ry with pho­to­graph­ic images evok­ing dif­fer­ent aspects of human hap­pi­ness.

 

A Tribute and Celebration on the occasion of the birthday of Chinua Achebe, Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, UN Headquarters, New York, 15 November 2013

The UNSRC Film Soci­ety and Rut­gers Uni­ver­si­ty Writ­ers House joined the UNSRC Soci­ety of Writ­ers to cel­e­brate the great Niger­ian and world renowned writer Chin­ua Achebe. The cel­e­bra­tion was held on his birth­day, 15 Novem­ber. Rep­re­sent­ing the Achebe fam­i­ly was his grand­daugh­ter Chochi Ejuey­itchi, who shared her warm and some­times humor­ous accounts of her grand­fa­ther. A host of lumi­nar­ies from the world of edu­ca­tion, lit­er­a­ture and the arts joined with Ambas­sador Usman Sar­ki, Deputy Per­ma­nent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Nige­ria, to share in a diverse and mov­ing trib­ute of music, song, poet­ry, per­son­al sto­ries and film. Things Fall Apart, Chin­ua Achebe’s sem­i­nal work that trans­formed the world of African Lit­er­a­ture and opened the world and pos­si­bil­i­ties of African lit­er­a­ture for a new gen­er­a­tion of African writ­ers was high­light­ed in read­ings by author Uwem Akpan (“Say You’re One of Them”), stu­dent com­ments by Edu­ca­tor Olu­tosin Mustapha of Fred­er­ick Dou­glas Acad­e­my VII High School and Dar­rel Ale­jan­dro Holnes of Rut­gers Writ­ers House and orig­i­nal musi­cal com­po­si­tion by sax­o­phon­ist David Engel­hard. The singers from Sri Chin­moy: The Peace Med­i­ta­tion at the Unit­ed Nations per­formed “Chin­ua Achebe”, a song writ­ten and com­posed by Sri Chin­moy, the leader of the Peace Med­i­ta­tion group, which was ded­i­cat­ed to the writer. An orig­i­nal poem “A Poet Daughter’s Farewell: Still Morn­ing Yet” was writ­ten and mov­ing­ly read by Abena P.A. Busia, Pro­fes­sor and Chair, Depart­ment of Women’s and Gen­der Stud­ies, Rut­gers Uni­ver­si­ty.

Fam­i­ly friend and dis­tin­guished pro­fes­sor of Africana-Amer­i­can and Africana Stud­ies, Chuk­wu­ma Azuonye, trav­el­ing from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mass­a­chu­setts, Boston, shared the glob­al impact of Mr. Achebe’s work. The pro­gram end­ed with an inter­view filmed at Chin­ua Achebe’s home near Bard Col­lege Cam­pus, 28 June 2008, where he taught and lived with his wife and fam­i­ly from 1998 to 2011, pre­sent­ed by UNSRC Film Soci­ety Pres­i­dent Bahu­la Bor­ing.

 

Can Poetry Save the Earth? A programme in honour of Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development and National Poetry Month, UN Headquarters, New York, 11 April 2012

Diplo­mats and poets came togeth­er to share poet­ry on the theme of the envi­ron­ment dur­ing Nation­al Poet­ry Month to bring atten­tion to the upcom­ing Unit­ed Nations Con­fer­ence on Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment, to be held in Rio de Janeiro in June. Keynote speak­er John Fel­stin­er, Pro­fes­sor Emer­i­tus of Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty, shared poems from his book Can Poet­ry Save the Earth?/A Field Guide to Nature poems. He was joined by poet Jef­frey Yang and mem­bers of the diplo­mat­ic com­mu­ni­ty, includ­ing Ambas­sador Maria Tere­sa Mesqui­ta Pês­soa of the Per­ma­nent Mis­sion of Brazil to the Unit­ed Nations and David­son Hep­burn, for­mer Ambas­sador of The Bahamas to the Unit­ed Nations, read­ing select­ed favorites.

 

The Vision of Thomas Jefferson, UN Headquarters, New York, 29 October 2004

Two admir­ers of Thomas Jef­fer­son dis­cussed the endur­ing pow­er of Jefferson’s vision in today’s world: Mr. Eric S. Petersen, Keynote Speak­er, Edi­tor of Light and Lib­er­ty: Reflec­tions on the Pur­suit of Hap­pi­ness spoke on “Free­dom in World One­ness: the Pur­suit of Hap­pi­ness through the Eyes of Thomas Jef­fer­son.”

Mr. Willard Sterne Ran­dall, renowned author, Pulitzer Prize nom­i­nee and his­to­ri­an, dis­cussed Jef­fer­son from the van­tage point of “From Diplo­mat to Pres­i­dent, From Ide­al­ist to Prag­ma­tist”.

 

Celebrating the UN Year of Dialogue Among Civilizations through Poetry, UN Headquarters, New York, 29 March 2001

Gian­domeni­co Pic­co, Per­son­al Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Sec­re­tary-Gen­er­al for the UN Year of Dia­logue Among Civ­i­liza­tions 2001, joined with Shashi Tha­roor, Inter­im Head of the Depart­ment of Pub­lic Infor­ma­tion and host UNSRC Soci­ety of Writ­ers Vice-Pres­i­dent Cather­ine Vijaya Clax­ton for this stel­lar pro­gram, a joint col­lab­o­ra­tion between the Soci­ety and Rat­a­pal­lax Mag­a­zine, whose founder Ram Devi­neni was the brain­child of the event. Poets Mei-mei Berssen­brugge, Sri Chin­moy, Yusef Komun­yakaa, Joyce Car­ol Oates and James Ragan read their work, enthralling a crowd of more than 500 mem­bers of the UN com­mu­ni­ty and gen­er­al pub­lic who attend­ed the event.