Giant peace sign to celebrate International Peace Day

Sep 21, 2012

Syracuse University marked International Peace day by creating a giant human peace sign on the quad. Community members and students were invited to wear orange and stand together so that a photographer could be hoisted into a crane to take an aerial photo.

Gregg Lambert of SU Humanities says the photo of the human peace sign will be given to the Dalai Lama when he arrives in Syracuse in on October 8.

“He’ll be able to actually see a living testimony to the interest that the community and the students have in these issues, and that activated them to come together on that day," Lambert said. "In terms of the continued war and suffering and atrocities that are happening in the world, globally, today -- the fact that peace is not present.”

In an interview before the peace sign was created, Lambert said he hoped that more than 2,000 people would participate. It’s the last in a series of events known as “Eat Together for Peace,” which have been hosted by SU this week in preparation for the Dalai Lama’s visit in October.

Discussions, art expositions, and dinners were organized to focus on the ideas of peace and hospitality.

“People will begin to consider the idea or concept of peace as having some tangible aspect of reality in their lives, it’s impacted their lives in some way. Even if it’s simply a hope, even if it’s a recognition,” Lambert said.

The first event, "The Voices from the Congo," was a night of stories from the Congolese community in Syracuse.

“The actors were actually the people who lived through these experiences, “ Lambert said. “Many students had come to me later on and said, ‘I had no idea that these things ever happened in the Congo, I had no idea of the extent of the suffering and the genocide that took place there.’”

Although the Eat Together for Peace events were planned independently of the Dalai Lama’s visit, Lambert says he hopes they act as a prelude.