Thousands of activists are expected to assemble at on Saturday, May 21, for the “” in demonstration of their commitment to peace-building, both locally and globally.
Grand Marshall and special guest for the walk is Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who will deliver a blessing in front of Town Hall, at 10:45 a.m., just prior to the walk’s 11 a.m. starting time.
Tutu, the Nobel Laureate known for his nonviolent fight against apartheid in South Africa , will also appear at a public lecture entitled “Humanity & Harmony” on Friday, May 20, at 7 p.m., at the XL Center in Hartford. Event organizers have indicated that this will be the Archbishop's last appearance in the United States. World-renowned saxophonist Branford Marsalis will also appear at the XL Center event.
The lecture and Peace Walk are kick-off events to benefit the World Youth Peace Summit and the 2011 World Scholar-Athlete Games. Both are initiatives of the Institute for International Sport – founded by West Hartford’s own Dan Doyle, who is known for his popular summer youth basketball camp and Camp Renaissance, held at .
"We could not think of a more appropriate person to launch a peace movement than Archbishop Desmond Tutu,” said Doyle. “I am particularly pleased that he will help launch this movement in the Town of West Hartford."
According to its website, www.youthpeacesummit.org, the World Youth Peace Summit’s mission is to “develop scholar-athletes and scholar-artists from around the world as well as other interested individuals or groups into successful peace advocates.” Through a week-long series of lectures and workshops on peace policies, the Summit will provide participants with “practical knowledge of how to develop and implement their own peace initiatives successfully in their home communities.”
The inaugural World Youth Peace Summit will be held in Hartford, from July 1-4, 2011. Expected to deliver speeches – which will be open to the general public – are former Vice President Al Gore, General Colin Powell, and author Greg Mortenson (“Three Cups of Tea”).
Funds raised at the May 20-21 events will provide scholarships for young leaders to attend both the Summit and the 2011 World Scholar-Athlete Games, which are scheduled for June 26-July 4 at the . These Olympic-style games are for youth ages 15-19. Approximately 2,500 scholar-athletes and scholar-artists from around the world are expected to attend.
Peace Walk schedule and parking
The Peace Walk is a 2.6-mile trek which will begin and end at Town Hall. According to Sharon Murray, Connecticut liaison for the Institute for International Sport, at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 21, participants will journey from Town Hall, to Raymond Road, cross over Park Road and continue on Overbrook Road, turn right on Ledgewood, right on Webster Hill, right on South Main Street and end at Town Hall.
Murray said on-site parking capacity will be limited and there will be free parking at Kingswood Oxford (lot off Trout Brook Drive); free parking with shuttle service at the , 139 N. Main St.; free parking with shuttle service at , 1678 Asylum Ave.; and paid parking in the Town Center Garage, 29 S. Main St.
Murray said approximately 100 students from are already expected to arrive by bus. Groups arriving by bus will be dropped off and picked up on Burr Street.
Organizers have asked that all participants register in advance of the walk (registration is free) so that they can get a “head count,” which will help them “make a statement” about how many Greater Hartford residents marched for peace.
Since the Peace Walk is also a fundraiser, participants are encouraged to sign up for an online fundraising page (www.youthpeacesummit.org/ct-peace-walk) where they can personalize a message, share information and track donations.
Event schedule on May 21
9:15-10:15 a.m.: Shuttle service available from the American School for the Deaf and Saint Joseph College.
10:45 a.m.: Archbishop Desmond Tutu blessing in the West Hartford Town Hall parking lot. Participants are requested to arrive by 10:15 a.m.
11 a.m.: Peace Walk begins at Town Hall.
12 -1 p.m.: Peace Walk ends at Town Hall. Shuttle service available to the American School for the Deaf and Saint Joseph College.