Remarks by Ranju Batra, Chairperson, Diwali Foundation USA at 2022 “Diwali Stamp – The Power of One” Awards at UN

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Thank you, Ambassador Olof Skoog, head of the European Union Delagation to the UN, for your principled leadership and in being the lead organizer of the Diwali Stamp ‘Power of One’ award ceremony and thank you for your warm words.

EXCELLENCIES, and friends all…

We are deeply honored by the presence and participation of H.E. Csaba Kőrösi, the President of the General Assembly. And I thank you Mr. President for your kind words.

I thank every speaker for their participation and warmth, I celebrate Amb. Ruchira Kamboj for being the President of the Security Council, and I thank OSCE High Commissioner Kairat Abdrakhmanov for his letter of support. 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 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 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 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 this very chamber, to honor the Diwali Stamp and my 7 years long journey and it 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 60 nation partners.

I give my heartfelt thanks to our Co-Organizers and Speakers:

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. Mohan Pieris of Sri Lanka,

Amb. Vanessa Frazier of Malta,

Amb. Michal Mlynár of Slovakia,

Amb. Boštjan Malovrh of Slovenia, and

Amb. Lachazara Stoeva of Bulgaria, President of ECOSOC.

 

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

Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bhutan, Botswana, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Eritrea, Estonia, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Lithuania, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Nepal, Panama, Philippines, 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, along with  IAEA-NY, Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean and United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.

 

As one person can make a difference, our 2022 “The Power of One” Awardees clearly have. I congratulate:

H.E. Kaha Imnadze

  1. E. Keisha A. McGuire

H.E. Georgi Velikov Panayotov

H.E. Jean-Claude do Rego, and

Hon. Eliot Lance Engel.

 

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 day!

I, Thank you!

About the author

Author profile
Ranju Batra, starting September 11, 2021, she is now a publisher of The America Times Company Ltd.and a member of the National Press Club, Washington, D.C.
Since 1990, she is the Administrator of The Law Firm of Ravi Batra, P.C., Chair of the Diwali Foundation USA since 2017, and created the DF-USA’s “Power of One Award” - the “Oscars of Diplomacy” - which have been annually awarded to exceptional world class diplomats since 2017 at United Nations. Since September 2021, she is an Advisor for Legal and Humanitarian Affairs to the Permanent Mission of Georgia to the United Nations, having previous served as an Advisor to the Permanent Mission of Ukraine from 2015.
Since 2010, she chaired the Diwali Stamp Project and after a 7-year personal journey, successfully secured the Forever USPS Diwali Stamp on October 5, 2016. Joining in the USPS’ official Dedication, her person sale of over 170,000 stamps for First Day made the “Diwali Stamp" the best seller in USPS’ over 200 years history. Two months later, 24 nations, came together at the United Nations’ Trusteeship Council Chamber on December 5, 2016 to celebrate the Diwali Stamp and honor Ranju Batra for achieving it at the:  "Small Stamp for a Big Festival" - “Celebrating the living heritage of a billion people and honouring the 7-year-long quest of a woman to have it immortalised in a stamp. Organized by the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Belarus.” It was co-organized by the permanent missions of Georgia and India, and supported by Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, France, Germany, Honduras, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Moldova, Morocco, Nepal, Panama, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Ukraine, the U.K., Vietnam and Palestine. In 2017, new nations who supported the "Power of One" Award were: were Algeria, Botswana, Malta, Republic of Korea, Romania, Spain, United States of America, IAEA-NY. In 2018, additional nations who supported were: Albania, Greece, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Oman, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan. In 2019, additional nations who supported were: Bhutan, Bulgaria, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lebanon, Philippines, South Africa, and Turkey. 50 nations. And, then, there was a Covid-19 based hiatus.

Ranju’s campaign for the Diwali Stamp was supported by many, including, Rep. Carolyn Maloney who authored two Congressional Resolutions, Rep. John Lewis, Rep. Eliot Engel, Rep. Greg W. Meeks, Rep. Yvette Clarke, Rep. Grace Meng, Rep. Ami Bera, Rep. Adriano Espaillat, Amb. Dnyaneshwar Mulay who wrote the Official Poem for the Diwali Stamp Project, and many diplomats and their families, including, Palestine’s Amb. Riyad Mansour, now India’s Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, and founding Executive Director of U.N. Women, A/S Lakshmi Puri. As president of the Association of Indians in America-New York during 2011–2012, she celebrated the 25th Silver Diwali in New York City, including, a history-making gala dinner at The Pierre, where United Nations Security Council Amb. Abdullah Hussain Haroon, of Pakistan, and Amb. Puri, of India, of India, jointly participated to celebrate Diwali. Her hard work to grow the Diwali celebration in 2011 was recognized by “The New York Times” as the largest such celebration in North America with “over 200,000” attendees.  Ranju has excelled and made a difference with her excellence-with-humility approach in helping to “form a more perfect nation.” Her exemplary service to society has been duly recorded and celebrated with numerous awards, citations, proclamations and Congressional Records. She regularly interacts with the multilateral diplomatic community, and during the High Level UNGA Debate, with heads of State/Government.

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