Peace Tree International
Euphrates recently formed a partnership with Peace Tree International, a non-profit organization that is “empowering children and youth to share their passion to create peace and celebrate diversity through the arts, literacy and fusion!”We spoke with the organization’s founder, Mitra Sen, a teacher and filmmaker from Toronto. She shared the inspiring story about how she transformed the adversity she faced in her life and in the classroom into a message of peace, respect and appreciation for all. Mitra has been a longtime advocate of instilling values of peace, diversity, equality, and inclusion in young people through her work as a teacher.While writing, directing, and producing a film called “The Peace Tree,” Mitra realized the commonalities shared by various ‘Festival of Lights’ traditions that stem from different religions – Eid, Diwali, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Lunar New Year. She was inspired to establish Peace Tree Day as a festival that celebrates every faith and culture. The Peace Tree became a powerful symbol of unity with its many branches that all originate from the same roots. Mitra’s award-winning film has since been screened at over 50 international film festivals.June 1, 2016 marks the 11th annual Peace Tree Day, which will be celebrated in schools, hospitals and by organizations in countries around the world. The festival brings together children and families of diverse backgrounds to honor their vibrant traditions and it opens a safe space for interfaith dialogue. Peace Trees have taken many different forms, each one unique to the community that created it. In some places, people gather beneath a living tree, while others create an artistic one, to decorate with the many symbols of their faith. Through the celebration, children are encouraged to take pride in their heritage while learning from others in the spirit of respect, understanding and appreciation.Peace Tree Day also acts as a fundraiser for charities that work to educate and feed children, give them access to clean water and healthcare, and stop bullying and violence. The Peace Tree Ambassadors have utilized their skills and passion through the arts and diversity in order to create innovative workshops in order to donate to UNICEF, Free the Children, Pennies for Peace, The Malala Fund, He for She, and Because I am a Girl among others.If you would like to learn more about PTI, please visit: http://peacetreeinternational.org/ and discover how you can celebrate Peace Tree Day in your schools, organizations and communties. There are also many ways to become involved as an ambassador, organizing unique fundraising events that celebrate diversity or by creating a Peace Tree in your community. Celebrate Peace Tree Day with us on June 1st!