Memorial service for AllIard Lowenstein 1980 March 21

Filed under americas | Tributes and Expressions of appreciation

AllIard Lowenstein, former Ambassador from the United States to the United Nations and Congressman from New York



A memorial service for Allard Lowenstein, former Ambassador from the U.S. to the United Nations and Congressman from New York, was held Friday, 21 March 1980, for U. N. staff and the diplomatic community. Mr. Lowenstein, who was tragically struck down in his office 14 March, is well remembered for his active and organising role in the human and civil rights movement.

A moving tribute to Mr. Lowenstein was made by Donald Keys, President of Planetary Citizens and Mr. Lowenstein ‘s close collaborator and personal friend for many years. Sri Chinmoy offered his gratitude to Mr. Lowenstein for his great efforts on behalf of all humanity and for his kind support of and participation in the meditation group’s activities. (For Mr. Lowenstein’s talks in programmes dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr., Oneness-Earth, the Peace Corps and Eleanor Roosevelt, see the December 1977, March 1978 and December 19 78 issues of the bulletin.)

The peace meditation group choir sang songs: “O human Rights” and one of “Farewell”. Sri Chinmoy closed the programme with a short talk.

Excerpts follow. 18

Mr. Donald Keys, President, Planetary Citizens,’

In speaking of Allard K. Lowenstein, his life, his times, his death, his contribution, I don’t feel that I’m making a personal statement because my life is only one of many of thousands that was touched by Al Lowenstein. I was struck by the words of one of the songs that we just heard: “Yours is the role to change the cosmos dole” (from song O Human Rights*)

AI Lowenstein heard that charge. He responded to that charge and he acted on it unremittingly without any thought for himself, in ways that most people are unwilling to commit themselves to do.

 I heard of AI’s prodigy role as president of the U.S. National Association of Students, of his role in the Civil Rights Movement in the South, but my own knowledge of Al was in connection with the efforts to halt radioactive fallout and in the efforts to end the Viet N am War. We used to meet at his father’s restaurant – AI; myself, as Director of SANE: National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy; and my Washington Political Action Director, Sanford Gottlieb, who is now heading New Directions Organisation in Washington-and we would discuss how to proceed.

Al was a brilliant tactician. He recognized that what we did must be pertinent to the political process and not just a personal or cathartic action as many of that period were. Our efforts benefited very greatly from Al Lowenstein’s participation. It was AI, together with Kurt Gans, who led a major effort to prevent the re-election of an American President most responsible for a horrible war, and we felt that it was a rather quixotic undertaking. But we and many others underestimated AI’s energy, persistence and unflagging dedication, and he succeeded.

 I saw little of Al during the subsequent years of his political life as congressman and in his efforts to regain a seat, but was delighted to see him re-emerge at the United Nations as a spokesman for human rights. His close relationship with Andrew Young, our then Permanent Representative, led to AI’s post I’ m sure. It was fitting that he carried his burning desire for human justice to the world level at the United Nations.

Al was in himself a burning aspiration-flame for human justice, fairness and equity – a flame clothed not only in brilliance but also in humility and compassion and with a human touch. Like all such flames, once kindled they never die, either in the soul of the persons themselves, or in the lives of the people they reach. And so the flame of Al Lowenstein ‘s becoming burns as one more bright increment in the progress of human freedom and destiny.



Words and, music by Sri Chinmoy

Parting, parting — indeed, no farewell.

Our closeness, sweetness-hearts in oneness dwell.

No time, no clime, no moon, no sun we know,

Shall dare challenge our deathless fondness-flow.

Song in:   Chandelier, Part 2 as “Parting”


After the song of “Farewell” Sri Chinmoy closed the programme with the following short poetic talk dedicated to Mr. Lowenstein, who fought so tirelessly with “a sleepless cry and a deathless smile ” for humanity’s oneness.


Because I need God’s Love,

       God’s Compassion saves me.

Because I need God’s Compassion,

       God’s Forgiveness illumines me.

Because I need God’s Forgiveness,

       God’s Satisfaction inspires me.

Because I need God’s Satisfaction,

      God’s Oneness liberates me.

Because I need God’s Oneness,

     God gives me His Eternity’s Boat,

      His Infinity’s Sea and

      His Immortality’s Shore.

Because I need God’s Boat, God’s Sea and God’s Shore,

        God gives me two things that He loves most

in His entire Creation:

A sleepless cry and a deathless smile.


Words to the O Human rights sung at beginning of Pogramme:


O Human Rights Divine!

In harmony-world you shine.

You are the voice of Light

And blue Perfection-Height.

Yours is the supreme role

To change the cosmos-dole.

You are the only strength

Of Heaven’s Vision-length.Division, bondage, doom,

No more —All oneness-bloom.

Song in:

Chandelier, Part 1


Above was also published in: United Nations: The World’s Oneness-Home – book 2005 May 11

PDF format of report in periodic Bulletin : “Meditation at the United Nations” Aug 1980


See Page-images 26  to 31

Gallery 2 below is jpg format

Gallery 1  Photos from event


Gallery 2: 

JPG scanned page images 26 to 31 “Meditation at the UN” Aug  1980

Galery 3  _ Photos of Al Lowenstein at some of the Peace Meditation Events at the UN: