January 6, 2002-
Dear Friends of the Institute, including:
United States Senator Robert C. Byrd and Staff
Honorable Members of the New York State Assembly
Mayor and members of the City Council of Morgantown, West Virginia
Commissioner and Members of the New York State Education Department
Administration and Faculty of:
State University of New York at Albany,
West Virginia University
Members of the United Nations Association–USA
Members of the United Nations NGO Committee on Aging
Oprah and Staff
Saratoga Chamber of Commerce, Saratoga, N. Y.
Lions Clubs International
Family and Friends
With the 61st International Peace Meditation, we are beginning our sixth year of meditating together on the first Sunday of every month. While we have no way of knowing how many people are meditating, we do know that our web site, on which the invitation is given, has been visited by 25 countries. We also know that there is an average of 2900 hits per month, 18 visits per day, and the average visit is just over eight minutes.
What does that tell us? While it cannot tell us how many of those are meditating with us, it does tell us that there is an interest internationally to find like-minded people who care about unity, meditation, and peace. In fact, these are often the words entered into search engines which have located our site. The internet has a unique way of allowing people of common interest to find one another. It is a democratizing tool, that allows anyone, anywhere, with access to internet service to learn, connect, and communicate, thus tearing down barriers of time, distance, location, and class that otherwise could keep us separate. The internet has potential to be a great unifying tool.
With the recent events in Afghanistan, we are once again reminded of the great chasm between the education haves and have-nots. What we in the United States consider an entitlement, public education, was denied girls and women, and, other than religious training, young men. Now, with the integration of the computer and the internet into public education, we have broadened possibilities for all those who have access to this technology.
However, this brings with it a great concern. Those with internet access have a whole world of learning open to them. Those without are denied this wonderful door to the world. In the United States where computers and the internet are available in many of our schools, the division between the haves and have-nots may only increase unless we can provide computers and the internet for all. This need for computers and the internet continues into each home, as homework demands require equity of access to achieve equity of educational opportunity.
International Unity Day has as one of its prime goals to raise awareness and commitment toward equity of access to the internet globally. This can be the great tool for increasing and ensuring democracies internationally. While we have yet to learn how to control the risks it brings, we must be careful to continue to allow the freedom it provides. This year, as we celebrate International Unity Day on September 11, let us remember those from over 80 countries who perished, and those who lost, but let us also dedicate ourselves to the freedom brought only through education. Let us be determined that what happened to those Afghanistan girls and women, and young men, will never happen again. By providing for internet access globally, we lessen the chances of that kind of tyranny. Freedom is essential for the one on a spiritual path. For only with freedom in our minds and hearts, can we develop into that for which we are each uniquely designed.
Let us dedicate this meditation to the freedom of all people. Let us dedicate ourselves to the empowerment of all people through education. And let us also dedicate ourselves to providing internet access globally as the opportunity for each of us to act appears.
Please join us in prayer/meditation, from wherever you are, at any time during the day or night, on January 6, 2002. Together we can make a difference in the hearts and lives of many.
A special welcome to all those recently added to our meditation list. We hope you will find this meditation a special opportunity to join with like-minded, caring people who have a desire for freedom, unity and peace. Thank you.
Sue Kidd Shipe, President
International Institute For Human Empowerment, Inc.
P. O. Box 3920
Albany, New York 12203 USA