World peace begins with you and me

Cowra celebrated World Peace Day on Monday with a slight twist due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gone were the usual UN Youth facilitators and local school students gathered to ring Cowra's Peace Bell, replaced with a few local dignitaries and social distancing.

This year's ringing was conducted simultaneously with New Zealand's peace bell in Christchurch as a message of solidarity following last year's mosque shootings.

Chairman of the Australian Chapter of the World Peace Bell Association, Ian Brown, said the simultaneous ringing was a significant message.

"It is significant we share this with our ANZUS partner New Zealand to send a message of peace, reconciliation and support," he said.

"We remember the victims of the Christchurch massacre, the 51 deceased, the 40 injured and all the surviving family members and friends united in grief and sorrow by that terrible event.

"The price of peace is everlasting vigilance, we stand together with the people of New Zealand to promote peace and unity in our communities.

"It is time to increase our efforts in order to uphold human dignity, tolerance, understanding and friendship to join in shaping peace together.

"Peace begins with me and you making a difference."

Cowra Mayor, Councilor Bill West, said it was important to recognise the relationship Cowra had with New Zealand.

"We have a wonderful relationship with New Zealand and to grow that with the World Peace Bell is something we can be very proud of," he said.

"Peace is a different thing to different people, Ian has spoken about peace on the global stage and peace within our own hearts, minds, families and communities.

"Cowra is fortunate to be home of the Australian chapter of the World Peace Bell Association because of the hard work and dedication of one of our former mayors.

"And the continuation of that by Ian Brown and his committee over the years is fantastic and we say thank you."

The day was wrapped up with the annual Rotary World Peace Day Dinner.

Attendees were given an incite into the lives of Cowra's Congolese Banyamulenge community with a presentation from

The 2020 Cowra Rotary peace award was given to Bill West and the Junior Peace Award was given to Brayden Shaw at the dinner.

Cr West said he was humbled to receive the award saying he didn't feel the award fit him.

"I'm just doing the job the community elected me to do and I do it with a great deal of support from the community," he said.

"My colleagues, council staff, Rotary, Lions, Ian Brown are all doing their bit in this community making the job I do so much more easier.

"Keeping the moral compass, if you like, pointed at the basic principles of peace which has a much broader context rather than global peace or peace in politics."

Cr West said he hoped the spirit of peace would continue in Cowra with the town's Congolese community being welcomed with open arms.