The Chronicle front page story about “school peace plan”.
by Andrew Brown



Student support: St John Vianney’s Primary School students Caitlin Calis, Josh Urbaniak and Thomas Calis donated to the peace bell. Photo: Elesa Kurtz.

Every primary school student in the ACT could potentially play a part in building Canberra’s very own World Peace Bell.

The peace bell, one of only 23 in the world, as well as a pavilion is expected to be built at the Canberra Nara Peace Park next year.

Peace Bell project organiser Michael Rabey said he hoped for all primary schools to be involved in the process.

“I’d like to think that every primary school in Canberra could get together and make a small donation and participate in the project,” he said.

“I love the fact that as many kids as possible can make a small contribution to world peace.”

St John Vianney’s Primary School and St Vincent Primary School have made small contributions already to the project.

Mr Rabey said he planned to take the idea of the peace bell to more schools in the ACT in the new year.

Under his plan, each class would raise $5, which would all go towards raising money for the pavilion that will house the bell in the peace park.

“Symbolically, each child can have a piece of ownership of the pavilion,” he said.

“There’ll also be a draw out of a hat [when construction is finished] for the first school to ring the bell.”

More than $50,000 has already been raised for the peace bell, with $100,000 being set as the project’s target.

The first peace bell was made in 1952 as a gift from Japan to the United Nations.

More than 20 casts of the original bell have been made as symbols of peace around the world.

The Canberra peace bell would be the second in Australia, with the first being installed in Cowra in 1992.

Traditionally the bell is rung on World Peace Day, as well as the opening day of the UN General Assembly every year. Mr Rabey said the Canberra peace bell would also be rung on other occasions, such as Rememberance Day.

“The purpose is to have people strike the bell symbolically as a call for peace and to provide a place for people to grieve or remember,” he said.

“It will be quite a sacred place for people to go and stand in solidarity.”

The project’s organiser said he hoped for more schools to be involved in the project when school resumes next year.

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