2023 “Diwali Stamp – The Power of One Awards,” aka “Oscars of Diplomacy” – Remarks by Ranju Batra, Chair, Diwali Foundation USA, Inc.

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ECOSOC Chamber, U.N.

December 11, 2023

Thank you so much, my dear Ambassador Olof Skoog, head of the European Union Delegation to the UN, for your principled leadership and in being the lead organizer again of the Diwali Stamp ‘Power of One’ award ceremony. And I thank you for your support and your warm words.

Excellencies, and friends all…

I thank every Speaker for their participation and their warmth; I’m humbled by each of you.


As many of you know, I spent seven years relentlessly seeking a Diwali stamp to be issued by the United States Postal Service. I used only respectful and inclusive means, as Diwali is a message of peace.

I requested everyone to sign the Diwali Petitions, from ambassadors and politicians to outside supermarkets, over lunches and dinners, and I sent tens of thousands of paper petitions to Citizens Advisory Committee, that William Givker, director of USPS Stamp Development, said:

“This was the biggest push, the most people writing in, and it was the volume of petitions, and not the high-profile support, that swayed the committee.”  


So, after long darkness, the Light of Diwali finally triumphed. My journey succeeded on October 5th, 2016 when the United States Postal Service dedicated the Diwali Stamp and made it immortal as a Forever stamp. I had the added honor  – to be invited by USPS – to sell the Stamps for “Day One,” and I’m happy to report that I personally sold over 170,000 stamps in 10 days: making it the #1 best seller in the history of the Postal Service!

Discussing these events over dinner hosted by the then Georgian PR Kaha Imnadze, H.E. Andrei Depakunis organized an event on December 5th, 2016, in Trusteeship chamber, to honor the Diwali Stamp and my 7 years long journey; and that honorific event was co-sponsored by 24 nations.

H.E. Valentin Rybakov, while honoring me at that ceremony, spoke about “the power of one.” And that inspired these Awards.  Amb Rybakov went on to serve as the lead organizer in 2017, 2018 and 2019 before Covid imposed a global pause.


I am most grateful to each one of them for honoring me, but more importantly, for seeing my journey for the Diwali Stamp as a metaphor of Peace and harnessing its power to promote excellence in diplomacy. In fact, the Ideals of Diwali are the Ideals of UN Charter.

Today, our Award ceremony is more global, with over 70 nation partners. I give my heartfelt thanks to our Co-Organizers, Co-Sponsors, and Speakers:

Amb. Olof Skoog, Head of Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, Amb. David Bakradze of Georgia, Amb. Ruchira Kamboj of India, Amb. Omar Hilale of Morocco, Amb. Paula Narvaez Ojeda of Chile, Amb. Teburoro Tito of Kiribati, Amb. Akan Rakhmetullin of Kazakhstan, Amb. Mohamed Al-Hassan of Oman, Amb. Sophia Tesfamariam of  Eritrea, Amb. Mohan Pieris of Sri Lanka,  and H.E. Miguel A. Moratinos, head of UNAOC.

I give a big “Thank You” to each of you, and to every Co-Sponsor, and they are:

The Permanent Mission to the United Nations of Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bhutan, Botswana, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, El Salvador, Estonia, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Lithuania, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nepal, Nigeria, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Suriname, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uzbekistan, Vietnam; and Palestine; and IAEA-NY, Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, and Council of Presidents of UN General Assembly.


As one person can make a difference, our 2023 “The Power of One” Awardees clearly have. I congratulate:

• H.E. Ban Ki-moon, former Secretary General of the United Nations; Lifetime Achievement Award;

• H.E. Mirsada Čolaković, former P.R. of Bosnia and Herzegovina; 

• H.E. Kim Sook, former P.R. of Republic of Korea; and

• H. E. Miroslav Lajčák, 72nd President of the UN General Assembly.

Diwali Stamp’s celebration is not of a religion or of a nation, but of the spirit of harmonious inclusiveness and cross-cultural understanding that all religions deserve.

While my journey took seven years, Diwali Stamp is here FOREVER. It will be a matter of pride for generations to come, because it was done with help of every faith – because we all are entitled to a better and peaceful tomorrow, no matter where we were born, and no matter how we pray!

I thank each of you – for your support – to help make a more perfect world, so peace and goodness can prevail. I wish every person and every nation on earth, a Happy Diwali, every single day!

I….Thank you!

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