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Pacific invites public to peace pole planting

Pacific University student Jared Kawatani first proposed the idea of adding a peace pole to Pacific Universitys campus. The Pacific University community will mark the International Day of Peace, Wednesday, Sept. 21, with the dedication of a Peace Pole on the Forest Grove campus in front of Scott Hall. A short public ceremony will begin at 10 a.m., followed by a reception.

Peace Day is observed around the world each year on Sept. 21. Established unanimously in 1981 by United Nations resolution 36/37, the General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to "commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples."

Pacific University student Jared Kawatani '17 first proposed the idea of creating a Peace Pole on campus as a place for students, faculty and staff to gather and reflect on peace. "Finding peace within the world, our community and ourselves is something that we are faced with in our Pacific community and all around the world," Kawatani said.

Started in 1955 by Masahisa Goi after World War II, the Peace Pole Project has been growing steadily since. Tens of thousands of Peace Poles -- customized with different languages, phrases and images -- exist in 180 countries as constant reminders for people to visualize and pray for world peace.

Newberg's North Valley Friends Church, for example, created a nature walking trail lined with the poles.

Pacific University's new Peace Pole is being funded by grants from the University's Center for Civic Engagement, Center for Peace and Spirituality and Undergraduate Student Senate.

"The search for creating peace in our world is part of the Pacific ethos," said Rev. Dr. Chuck Currie, university chaplain and director of the Center for Peace and Spirituality. "All of us at Pacific are impressed by this student-driven initiative to lift up the cause of peace."