by Ravi Batra
Chair, National Advisory Council for South Asian Affairs, delivered at the Diwali Stamp – The Power of One Awards Ceremony,
Trusteeship Council Chamber, United Nations, December 5, 2022
⭕️Check against delivery at UN Web TV: https://media.un.org/en/asset/k1t/k1t9pmrdvt
Thank you dear Amb. Olof Skoog, King Gustav’s highest decorated diplomat, for all your love, and the support of the EU Delegation. I thank Georgia and India for their essential help, and Amb. Ruchira Kamboj for waiting until December to be President of the Security Council, so we could have two UN Presidents gracing us: her, and PGA Csaba Korosi.
I celebrate H.E. Harold Adlai Agyeman of Ghana, last month’s SC President, for his support, and I’m touched by the official Letter from OSCE High Commissioner, H.E. Kairat Abrakhmanov, dated today, to Ranju and the Diwali Foundation, supporting her selfless motives and humanity’s shared goals. Thank you all!
I’m eternally grateful to H.E. Andrei Dapkiunas, a nobleman, for starting this tradition in 2016, in addition to planting the Peace Tree in the UN South Lawn, and to H.E. Valentin Rybakov for characterizing Ranju’s selfless achievement as the “Power of One,” and unexpectedly inspiring the creation of these Awards,” aka the “Oscars of Diplomacy,” and then for admirably leading all of the Award ceremonies until 2019.
Vatican of Hope & Arch-Angels
Dear President Csaba Korosi, First Lady of the world, Excellencies, my dearest Ranju, and friends all,
President Korosii, we are blessed to have you as our PGA during these trying times, as your calibrated wisdom is sorely needed to nudge the Combatants towards Peace in Europe, while preventing a new Axis War from starting in the Far East, perhaps, by excommunicating the Mirrors of History in favor of Mahatma Gandhi’s & Martin Luther King’s direct descendant, Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s Truth & Reconciliation paradigm.
I thank each you – for all the warmth and love expressed in this Chamber – especially for Ranju and her immortal Achievement, and for today’s exceptional Power of One Awardees – each of whom have made our world better. I acknowledge two 2017 Power of One Awardees present: H.E. Maged Abdelaziz, the Pharaoh, and gender-equality champion H.E. Lakshmi Puri by her dear Amaya Zai Ramanan.
The United Nation – is humanity’s Vatican of Hope, and the Diplomats are the Arch-Angels, who, when doing Good can:
- Stop a war from starting, and even stop one that’s raging; or
- Do a “Black Sea Grain” deal, as SG Antonio Guterres did with Turkey, Russia and Ukraine, to save 50 million men, women and children from starvation!
Diplomacy, then, tilts between life or death, Good and Evil.
Diplomacy exists so even adversaries can talk. In 1945, General Douglas MacArthur personified Respect on the deck of the USS Missouri, even while receiving the Instrument of Surrender! But Social Media has denigrated discourse into a mud-fest of Insults that infects domestic politics, celebrating Division and inviting Sedition. Our rhetoric today, is hotter than the Volcanos of Hawaii; we must freeze it!
Let me be clear: Insults cause War; and only Respect converts Swords into Plough Shears! So, lets show real respect to our adversaries. As a great American P.R. Daniel Patrick Moynihan said:
“No one is innocent after the experience of governing. But not everyone is guilty.”
PM Narendra Modi declared at the SCO Summit in Uzbekistan, that “this is not an era for war.” So, we must all help make an Era of Peace. This annual globally-unique Award Ceremonies, celebrating world class diplomats, are held so diplomacy can disarm war, achieve SDGs, and feed the hungry.
The Ideals ofDiwali are the Ideals of the UN Charter! Ranju’s selfless journey honored these ideals with a secret ingredient, Respect, and she achieved an immortal stamp. Diwali is now a metaphor in the Vatican of Hope.
USA – Morocco: First Treaty of Friendship.
As a personal privilege, I thank dear Amb. Omar Hilale for sending me copies of America’s First Treaty of Friendship signed in 1787 by our great Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and even George Washington with the then- Emperor of Morocco. Recently, our SG was in Morocco at dear Minister Miguel Moratinos’ Alliance of Civilizations Forum, and urgently called for an “Alliance for Peace.” The recipe for Peace is: Diwali. The secret ingredient Ranju used is: Respect.
Humanity has run out of time to silly egos, wars and empires, as we face existential threats from a Climate Crisis that will drown nations and wash away sovereignty, as freely as Hurricanes blow past our borders and rip the roofs right off our homes!
So, I applaud all of the Co-Organizers and Co-Sponsors of these Power of One Awards, as these brave Ambassadors and brave Nations dare to wage Peace, and seek to outlaw War.
Now, I assume the moderator role. I remind all Awardees, Speakers, PRs, HL UN Officials, etc., that at about 5:30 there will be a family picture.
Moment of Silence
Please join me in a Moment of Silence to honor the memory of UN Peacekeepers lost, along with PM Shinzo Abe, Pres. Mikail Gorbachev, Queen Elizabeth II, F.M. Vladimir Makei, Pres. Jiang Zemin, and Rouslan Johnny Ago-gho – son of our Awardee Jean-Claude. Thank you.
To help us better embrace Humility, Peter Ngo Essoka, Cameroonian afro soul singer and Rouslan’s friend, will now sing: “Amazing Grace”!
Power of One Awards
Finally, the moment we are all waiting for: to honor the best among us, who strive to give us a more perfect world.
Our 1st Awardee is H.E. Kaba Imnadze of Georgia.
A man of history, as he served with Georgia’s 1st President Shevardnadze. It was Kaha’s dinner five days after the Stamp-dedication, that is the root of all that followed. After his distinguished service as PR, he is currently Georgia’s ambassador to Canada. And, today we honor that generous man who has made Georgia proud, and each of us safer due to his efforts. His achievements are plentiful and notable. So, the Diwali Foundation USA, supported by all Co-Organizers and Co-Sponsors, over 60 nations, is proud to bestow the Diwali Stamp – Power of One Award upon Amb. Kaha Imnadze.
Our next Awardee is H.E. Keisha A. McGuire of Grenada.
H.E. Keisha Aniya McGuire is the former Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Grenada to the United Nations from 2016 to 2022. She currently serves as the President & CEO of the Present and Future Institute, Inc.
And, today we honor her as she made Grenada proud, and each of us safer due to her efforts. Her achievements are plentiful and notable. So, the Diwali Foundation USA, supported by all Co-Organizers and Co-Sponsors, over 60 nations, is proud to bestow the Diwali Stamp – Power of One Award upon Amb. Keisha A. McGuire.
Our next Awardee is H.E. Georgi Velikov Panayotov of Bulgaria (Teo) After his distinguished service as P.R., he served as a caretaker Defense Minister of Bulgaria, and is currently Bulgaria’s ambassador to the US. And, today we honor him as he made Bulgaria proud, and each ofus safer due to his efforts. His achievements are plentiful and notable. So, the Diwali Foundation USA, supported by all Co-Organizers and Co-Sponsors, over 60 nations, is proud to bestow the Diwali Stamp – Power of One Award upon Amb. Georgi Velikov Panayotov.
Our next Awardee is H.E. Jean-Claude do Rego of Benin.
After his distinguished service as P.R., he is currently Benin’s ambassador to the United States.
And, today we honor him as he made Benin proud, and each of us safer due to his efforts. His achievements are plentiful and notable. So, the Diwali Foundation USA, supported by all Co-Organizers and Co-Sponsors, over 60 nations, is proud to bestow the Diwali Stamp – Power of One Award upon Amb. Jean-Claude do Rego (Nadia)
Our last Award is for Lifetime Achievement by Hon. Eliot Lance Engel. Of the many great things dear Eliot Engel has done, aside from being the Chairman of the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee, is to have a boulevard named after him in Albania, the birthplace of Mother Teresa, and speak at my swearing-in as NACSAA chair on Capital Hill 15 years ago, along with now-HFAC Chairman Greg W. Meeks, along with then-House Oversight Chairman Ed Towns, chair of Central, South Asia Gary L. Ackerman, plus then-D.A. Bob Morgenthau’s representative.
As a co-equal branch of government, Chairman Engel has helped globally guide the rudder of our Ship of State away from needless strife. He has served as a Congressman for 32 years, from 1989. His lifetime has been dedicated to help America form a a more perfect union, and the world to be better. And, today we honor him as he made the United States proud, and each of us safer due to his lifetime of distinguished service.
His achievements are plentiful and notable. So, the Diwali Foundation USA, supported by all Co-Organizers and Co-Sponsors, over 60 nations, is proud to bestow the Diwali Stamp – Power of One Award upon Congressman Eliot Lance Engel.
Family Picture: Awardees & family, Speakers & family, Miracle Angela & Precious Neal, Diwakar Kamboj, Valentin & Natalia Rybakov, Co- Sponsors, P.Rs, US Gs & AS Gs, Amaya & Himayani, Peter Essoka