Model U.N. at Gannon College – 1977 Nov 11-12

Filed under 2 or more | Community resources | Other programmes | Talks about the UN Heart-Home

Peace Meditation Group members Kevin (Adhiratha) Keefe and Bernard (Sanatan) Curchack were guest speakers at the Twenty-fifth , Gannon College model United Nations programme in Erie, Pennsylvania held on 11 and 12 November 1977 .

Gannon College holds the distinction of being the first college to develop a mock General Assembly for high school students. This year approximately ninety schools attended with nearly 1,000 students. Messrs. Keefe and Curchack conveyed the Secretary-General’s best wishes to Professor Reinhard and all the participants as they presented a photo of Kurt Waldheim which he had personally inscribed to Dr. Reinhard for his many years’ service as the moderator for the Gannon Model U.N.

On behalf of the Meditation Group at the UN, the two speakers also presented College President Dr. Scottino with copies of Sri Chinmoy’s thirteen books about the United Nations for the library.

They also had several newspaper, TV and radio interviews and discussed with members of the press and managers of CBS and ABC-TV stations how the media might be more involved in supporting the U.N. and the up-coming International Year of the Child.

Erie’s Mayor Tullio, President of the 1976 USA Mayors Conference, made a presentation to Messrs. Keefe and Curchack as an indication of the City of Erie’s friendship with the United Nations and its appreciation of the Meditation Group at the UN’s efforts to bring forward the highest goals of the U.N. Charter.

Below is extract of the comments made by the representatives of the Peace Meditation Group during introductory part of the Programme (Evening Nov 10th?).

Gannon College~ November 10,1977

MUN Secretary General; President·Dr.Scottino; Dr. Reinard; Delegates and friends.

I am happy to be with you this evening on the 25th Anniversary of the Gannon College Model United Nations. Upon discussing the topic of tonight’s programme ;

“Inside View of the United Nations”.

I realized that there are four groups of people who could claim to have this view.

  • The first, and best known are the Delegates of which there are more than 3,000 at the present UN General Assembly, representing more than 160 countries.
  • The second group, of which Bernie Curchack and I are members, is the Secretariat. There are 5,000 staff members at Headquarters and 18,000 around the world.
  • The third group which you may actually have been part of is the non-governmental representatives from organizations around the world and other visitors – about 3,000 a day.
  • The fourth group – The fourth estate – 300 accredited press correspondents and hundreds more who attend the daily meetings.

I also thought about the title of the essay Question which many of the delegates to the Gannon U.N. have expressed an answer

“Has the U.N. lived up to the Hopes of its founding Fathers”

These two phrases “An Inside view of the U.N.” which many different people can and do have and “Has the U.N. lived up to the hopes of its founders” which all at some time have asked – lead me to a statement upon which my talk tonight is based. It is at the core of why I and many others have joined the UN, are working for its goals and will continue to believe in it’s progress.


 I also offer this as the possible title for next years essay contest.~

My view of the U.N. living up to original hopes, is definite in the affirmative.

When I was ten years younger MY view was cautious and questioning, fifteen years ago it was hopeful but today it is sure. The U.N. has not only lived up to the hopes of the founders, but it has established a reality, growing in strength and service, in an environment which these founders had no idea would exist some 30 odd years ~later. The U.N. has been established and it continues to serve and survive through a period of time when possibly the greatest changes in the History of the Planet have taken place.

In the Consideration of the age of this Civilization, the U.N. is only a child, yet from its birth it has been expected to do an adults job. It limbs are composed of people from all parts of the globe trying~ to coordinate the greatest effort toward world harmony ever undertaken. The founders didn’t plan for the magnitude of the problems to be undertaken. They knew there would be time needed for the growth of the organization and the integration of the the different cultures being expressed in this house before the actual work could begin. But time wasn’t available, one great war had just been concluded and the necessity of rebuilding was e ever present.

From my view point, for many people around the world the United Nation is: “The Heart-Home of the World-Body”. All of us alive now on the planet are the ones who will help the dreams of the founders grow into a more fulfilling reality. You in your belief in the United Nations Charter as shown through your participation in the Model U.N. are a definite help.

Coming here to Gannon, I know of some of the concerns of the delegates that will be in committee, with suggested resolutions coming to the floor for a vote on Sunday.

  • The International Drug Traffic,
  • Middle East,
  • South Africa,
  • Charter Review and
  • Human Rights.


I would like to bring forward for your consideration two additional items

1) A resolution in Support of the international year of the Child (IYC) as proclaimed by the U.N. General Assembly for 1979

2) A statement of support and adherence in your own assembly of Rule 62 of the Rules of Procedure of the U.N. General Assembly,

“An Invitation to Silent Prayer or Meditation” adding “for the success of the United Nations and the Progress of Humanity”

1) The general Assembly, after years of initiative of Governments, Organizations and Individuals ~ proclaimed 1979 as the International Year of the Child stating “that in spite of all efforts , far too many children, especially in developing countries are undernourished,  are without access to and developing health services, are missing the basic educational preparation for their future.

~ The G.A. was convinced” that an International Year of the Child (IYC) could serve to encourage all countries to review their programmes for the promotion of the well-being of children and mobilize support for programmes according to each countries conditions, needs and priorities.

It affirmed that “the concept of Basic services for children is a vital component of social and economic development and Whereas “Mankind, owes the best it has to give to the children who are our future – still 350 million remain beyond even minimum essential services in health, nutrition and education fields. There exist rapid, practical and economic ways of bringing these ii services to the neediest children at the village level.  The concept of providing Basic Services for more of the people instead of highly technical services for less of the people must be practiced. These programms begin with outside assistance and can become self sustaining with Gov’t help in a short time.

~ 1979 will~be the 20th Anniversary of the Declaration of the Rights of  the Child and IYC can serve an opportunity-to support this declaration.

The Declaration affirms the rights of the child:.

  • to enjoy special protection and opportunities to develop in conditions of freedom and dignity. –
  • to have a name and nationality.
  • to security, including adequate nutrition, housing and medical care
  • to receive special education and treatment if handicapped
  • to grow up in an atmosphere of affection and security and wherever possible in the care of parents.
  • to receive at least free elementary education
  • to be among first to receive relief in times of disaster
  • to be protected against all forms of neglect, cruelty and exploitation
  • to be protected from practices which may foster any form of discrimination
  • to be brought up in a spirit of understanding, tolerance,friendship, peace and universal brotherhood.

The General Assembly invited the public to participate in the IYC especially at the local level. This would definitely include support of organizations such as yours. The Goals of IYC and Declaration of the Rights of the Child are very encompassing  but we believe that given the needed will “toddy’s dreams are tomorrow’s reality”


2. The second resolution I am suggesting might best be seen in connection with the knowledge that there is a history of meditation and prayer at the United Nations.

On November 15th a programme will take place marking the 20th Anniv. of the opening of the Meditation Room at the United Nations. The man who created this room, the late Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold called it “a room of silence where only thoughts should speak”

Since then, thousands have come to the United Nations each year, both delegates and visitors alike, to pause for a few quiet moments and offer their hopes and prayers for world peace. The second Secretary General added that the “United Nations’ hope for success rests on its thought and action being guided by the spirit that the Room symbolizes.”

The rule 62 of the General Assembly procedures referred to earlier this evening supporting meditation and prayer at the U.N. reads:

“Immediately after the opening of the first plenary meeting and immediately preceding the closing of the final plenary meeting of each session of the General Assembly, the President shall invite the Representatives to observe on minute of silence dedicated to prayer or meditation”.

The addition of the phrase “for the success of the United Nations and the Progress of Humanity” would add an important focus  to the phrase.


There is a 9roup at the U.N. which recognizes the importance of political discussions and socioeconomic activities. Yet at the same time it realizes deep down that none of these methods alone will ever bring about lasting peace, universal harmony and the oneness of mankind.

For thousands of years politicians have negotiated. But real lasting peace, can never be achieved only through politics. We feel it also needs the transformation of the Human consciousness. a spiritual transformation giving rise to a deeper inner awareness and a sense of the essential unity of mankind.

Those of us at the United Nations who hold to this credo go about manifesting it in various ways. In 1970 the Secretary General, U Thant requested an eastern teacher, Sri Chinmoy, to lead a non-denominational group of individuals who felt the need for meditation on a regular basis. In 1964 he had come to the West and established centers in Western Europe, America, Canada and Australia where meditation is studied and practiced under his guidance. Through his silence and inner awareness developed in the course of 20 years of intense prayer and meditation he brings a spiritual energy to the UN in a very tangible and powerful fashion.

There is a film we would have liked to have shown which is very close to the hearts of liked minded staff and delegates at the U.N. Unfortunately because of previous commitments a copy was not available  for this evening.

The film, has excerpts from the premier performance of the play: “Siddhartha becomes the Buddha”. It was attended by the late Secretary-General U Thant and includes a substantial section of U Thant and Sri Chinmoy discussing values which they feel are important. Having a Secretary-General with High Spiritual Values served as an inspiration for many people. On one occasion U Thant said,

“ I have certain priorities in regard to virtues and human values: …(PHYSICAL,INTELLECTUAL, MORAL and, SPIRITUAL). I would attach greater ‘importance to moral qualities or moral virtues over intellectual qualities or intellectual virtues — moral qualities, like love, compassion, understanding, tolerance, the philosophy of live and let live, the ability to understand the other man’s point of view, which are the key to all great religions.

And above all, I would attach the greatest importance to spiritual values,…faith in oneself, the purity of one’s inner self which to me is the greatest virtue of all. With this approach, with this philosophy, with this concept alone, we will be able to fashion the kind of society we want, the kind of society which was envisaged by the founding fathers (of the UN) 26 years ago. (ref: UN/ST/SCB/281)

Dr Muller the UN Deputy Under-Secretary-General for Inter-agency Affairs, who worked closely with U Thant,  has completed a piece about the Secretary-general titled: U Thant a Great Ethical Statesman.Dr. Muller has inscribed two copies: to Dr Reinard, your Moderator and to Therese A Niedenberger, your Secretary General as a token of our appreciation of the great effort they have made for this Model U.N.

Dr. Muller has said very well what many of us feel. ” Sometimes I think I would feel honored to wash the floor of this house, for on it tread humans from all over the world every day. You see them come a million a year, children ad adults of all races, languages and beliefs. They come to this building carrying in their minds their dreams and in their hearts their hopes. They feel the U.N is their building. the embodiment of their search for peace and happiness. “‘ It partly for this reason that I said earlier that the Phrase “The Heart-Home of the World-Body” aptly expresses the felling of many towards the United Nations.

and finally for my part in this programme titled an “insider view” I share with you a meditation offered by Sri Chinmoy at the U.N.:

“The outer message of the United Nations is Peace.

The inner message of the United Nations is Love.

The inmost message of the United Nations is Oneness.

Peace we feel. Love we become. Oneness we manifest.

Thank You. – – K.A. Keefe




Reports of the event also appeared in the

See also More on U Thant and Sri Chinmoy – Spiritual values, Oneness, Acceptance

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