Ray Cunnington’s passion is peace. And he believes that individuals, not just nations, create the conditions for peace both locally and around the world. He’s a perfect example of putting that idea into practice.
Ray has a long history of peace initiatives. At age 96 he recently published a book on peace called Towards Less Adversarial Cultures. The previous year he was awarded the Hamilton-Burlington-Brantford YMCA Peace Medal. Three years ago, he established a fund at Hamilton Community Foundation to provide support for Culture of Peace Hamilton, a United Nations-backed group which works with others in the community to promote non-violence locally. The group holds monthly meetings, sponsors a public peace lunch and discussion twice a year, and has made significant donations to the city’s Peace Garden. It continues to uphold the UN doctrine that peace involves individual commitment.
In 2000 the UN proposed six practical suggestions for people who wanted to promote peace — clear, straight-forward acts like rejecting violence and preserving the planet. More than 75 million people around the world pledged to follow them in their daily lives.
Six principles of peace in everyday life:
- Respect all life
- Reject violence
- Share with others
- Listen to understand
- Preserve the planet
- Rediscover solidarity
The United Nations’ Culture of Peace Manifesto 2000
But times change. The world has gradually shifted away from personal responsibility back to governments and nations. Concerned that these very good suggestions might get lost or forgotten, Ray looked for a way they could be preserved and protected.
He found a home for Culture of Peace at HCF. He saw Terry Cooke on television, and “Terry made it seem so simple to set up a fund for a good purpose” Ray says. “The Foundation is a respected organization of thinking people who want to do something good for the world.” Ray is certainly one of them.
Excerpt from 2017 Annual Report