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
- 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!