On March 14, 2004 I spent the last hours of my father’s birthday by his bedside trying to help him cope with his pain. I thought I would try to distract him by teaching him how to make an origami paper crane. However, in the last hour of his birthday, he left this world. He was never able to finish his paper crane, but he left it in my hands and this was his message to me. The origami paper crane is a symbol of peace and hope and my father had always dreamt of a day when we would have peace in our world. He had always expressed his sadness by all the divisions created by man and had prayed and hoped one day for a world where every human being could learn to love and respect each other.
My father left me with the paper crane in my hands and I know that was his way of letting me know that I must continue to work towards creating peace. I had already begun to make a new film about peace and two little girls, one Muslim and one Christian, who dream of celebrating each others’ festivals, but I never had a symbol for the film. The paper crane became the perfect symbol and then I began to think of all the beautiful symbols from all our cultures and faiths and how wonderful it would be if they were all hung on one tree. And so the story unfolded… The Peace Tree shares the voices of our children who enlighten their parents to the importance of having an open mind and sharing and celebrating diversity together. Through their struggles and their dreams, the children create a unique symbol – The Peace Tree - a tree that highlights the symbols from all our vibrant cultures and faiths on one tree reflecting the beauty of diversity in unity.
Beyond the Film
It is our hope that the Peace Tree will be created in homes, schools and cities around the world in our effort to spread peace, hope, diversity and unity. As Peace Trees are created internationally and Peace Tree Day is celebrated around the world, photos of the diverse trees and Peace Tree Day celebrations should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org so they can be posted on the website at www.sandalwoodproductions.com/peacetree, so we can see the variety of peaces trees created around the world and the messages of peace from our children. If our children grow up with an understanding and appreciation of all our vibrant cultures and faiths, we can one day hope for a world of peace and respect for all people.
In a continent with a diverse population like North America, it is imperative that our children grow up understanding, respecting and appreciating all our unique customs, cultures and faiths. 'The Peace Tree' will illustrate to parents the importance of providing their children with the opportunity to experience and celebrate the vibrant festivals and practices of families from around the world.
By encouraging our children to develop open-minds and experience the positive aspects of life outside their own culture, we will inspire them and help them understand the enriching experience of embracing the diversity that exists around us everyday. This in turn will enable our youth to grow up in a society where they will learn to cooperate with people from all backgrounds as we live side by side in our multicultural land. As the future of our country will be determined by our youth, it is essential that we expose them to the beauty of every culture and faith and break down the divisions that separate our communities. 'The Peace Tree' will bring all our communities together through our diverse celebrations, thereby showing how religion can unite us, rather than divide us.
If we want to preserve the harmonious state that presently exists in North America, and prevent conflict and segregation, we must provide our parents and youth with an educational tool like 'The Peace Tree' in order to ensure that every North American embraces and celebrates multiculturalism. 'The Peace Tree' is an important and essential resource that will create greater understanding and unite all communities by encouraging our citizens to experience all our vibrant cultures and faiths as we celebrate peace together.
“Let us embrace the beauty of every culture and faith to create peace and hope on earth.”
Produced with the Generous Support of...
Ontario Arts Council
National Film Board of Canada
Sony Professional Media
Sandalwood Productions Inc.
Produced in Association with…
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation