Six eminent global diplomats honoured with ‘Diwali – Power of One Awards’ at UN

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United Nations | Published: December 12, 2018 3:41:43 PM

Six eminent diplomats from around the world have been honoured with 'The Diwali - Power of One' award, recognising their efforts at the United Nations to ensure a perfect, peaceful and secure world for all.

The Diwali Power of One award, united nations, diwali stamp project, UN Postal AdministrationThe ‘The Diwali – Power of One’ award has been established by NGO Diwali Foundation, USA, under the aegis of Ranju Batra, Chair of the Diwali Stamp Project, to celebrate and highlight the vital work done by eminent diplomats across the world, especially at the UN. (Reuters)

Six eminent diplomats from around the world have been honoured with ‘The Diwali – Power of One’ award, recognising their efforts at the United Nations to ensure a perfect, peaceful and secure world for all. The ‘The Diwali – Power of One’ award has been established by NGO Diwali Foundation, USA, under the aegis of Ranju Batra, Chair of the Diwali Stamp Project, to celebrate and highlight the vital work done by eminent diplomats across the world, especially at the UN. In its second year, the awards were given to former Permanent Representative of Greece to the UN Catherine Boura, the Permanent Representative of Tunisia to the UN Mohamed Khaled Khiari.

To the former Permanent Representative of Slovenia to the UN Andrej Logar, Azerbaijan’s former envoy to the UN Agshin Mehdiyev, Vietnam’s former Permanent Representative to the UN Nguyen Phuong Nga and Thailand’s former Permanent Representative to the UN Virachai Plasai. India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said the event is an “ode to diversity and multiculturalism and a celebration of excellence at the United Nations.”

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He said Diwali symbolises the eternal struggles and eventual triumph of light over darkness and good over evil. The UN Postal Administration has brought out its first ever Diwali commemorative stamp in October this year. “In many ways the celebration of Diwali at the UN reflects our collective commitment to promote peace, prosperity and dignity for all as envisaged in the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

The 2018 Power of One Awards, given at a ceremony here Tuesday, were co-hosted by the Permanent Missions of India, Belarus, Georgia to the UN and the Diwali Foundation USA. This year, the awards were co-sponsored by 26 Permanent Missions to the UN, including Albania, Cyprus, France, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Thailand, as well as the Permanent Observer of State of Palestine and the NY Office of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Batra had spearheaded efforts for nearly seven years to get a commemorative Diwali stamp issued by the US Postal Service in 2016, reaching out to the Indian-American community members and influential lawmakers, garnering support for petitions for the stamp.

A historic number of 24 nations, led by Belarus and India as co-organizers, and the US Postal Service had come together on December 5, 2016 at the UN to celebrate ‘The Diwali Forever Stamp’ issued that year and honour Batra for her years-long journey to get the commemorative stamp issued. Dedicating the ceremony to late former US President George H W Bush, she said his signature movement “thousand points of light” is “Diwali everywhere.” She said the award is “essentially the Oscars of Diplomacy” honouring “world class diplomats” for their service and “lifetime of principled efforts” and have “truly achieved many victories of good over evil and light over darkness.”

“Whatever the UN Charter dreams of, the Diwali Foundation’s Power of One awardees have helped make it happen and make it a reality.” Eminent Indian-American attorney Ravi Batra said the awards celebrate and highlight the “vital and important work done across the world in a peaceful manner, especially at the United Nations.” The award is given only to either a former Permanent Representative or former high level member of the UN Secretariat, or soon to be former, “who has toiled selflessly to help form a more perfect, peaceful and secure world for all.”

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