The Words of the Haider Family

International Christmas Celebration in Vienna

Peter Haider
December 20, 2009
UPF - Austria

Vienna, Austria - The UPF community of Vienna celebrated “International Christmas -- A Festival for Peace” on December 20. Many of guests who attended were Ambassadors for Peace who brought along their families or friends. After singing two traditional Austrian Christmas songs together with the audience, the Russian Orthodox Choir of the Cathedral of St. Nicolas in Vienna gave us a taste of their choral singing. This created a festive atmosphere. The director of the choir, Lector Nikolaj Nazarov, explained the deeper meaning of the various pieces in the Orthodox Christmas liturgy, which is celebrated on January 7th as they are following the Julian calendar.

Then Mr. Peter Haider, Secretary General of UPF-Austria, gave a summary of the UPF events in 2009 highlighting the UN conference on the Year of Reconciliation which was part of the Global Peace Tour, the conference commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Iron Curtain, the Slovakian-Austrian concert, and the meetings with Slovakian and Hungarian Ambassadors for Peace.

Throughout the year, more than 30 events were organized, among them lecture evenings, inter-religious services, world music concerts, and panel discussions. As an international highlight of the year 2009, a video of the October 14 World Peace Blessing in Korea was presented. After showing it Mrs. Elisabeth Cook gave a short explanation about dedicating one's marriage and family for the cause of peace and invited the guests to attend the upcoming European Leadership Conference and World Peace Blessing Ceremony, which will take place on January 23 in San Marino.

In the second part of the concert, three young students of African origin gave us a foretaste of 2010, which will be the year of Africa highlighted by the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa. Then a Russian women's group called “Kumushki” appeared in folk dresses and introduced themselves as “The Gossiping Women.” Their songs and their whole presentation led us into the more rural Christmas customs of old Russia. The performance was so funny and full of energy that everybody started to laugh and clap. As a musical finale the singer Eudora Price entertained the audience with American style Gospel and Christmas songs.

Finally six distinguished leaders of NGOs were appointed as new Ambassadors for Peace. As they were introduced, we were all moved to see that each of them had done remarkable work in their respective fields, which included European sustainable development, an Atomic Bomb Memorial Day in the UN, the Friendship Force, cooperation of musicians on an international level, integration projects for Africans in Austria, and lectures for peace education. Altogether 120 people attended the event. 

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