Peace Tree Day, founded by Mitra Sen, was inspired during the making of the award-winning film The Peace Tree, she produced, wrote and directed. While filming Mitra realized that all the Festival of Lights including Diwali, Hanukkah and Christmas had their roots in one faith and that there needed to be a festival that shared the roots of every culture and faith. This would encourage families of all backgrounds to unite and interact as they explored the vibrant traditions of every culture and faith in order to create greater understanding and respect among all people. Therefore, she was inspired to create, Peace Tree Day, an annual festival for children, youth and families of every culture and faith to share and celebrate peace, diversity and fusion through the arts
by children and youth!
Children around the world are now creating Peace Trees that highlight symbols from all our cultures and faiths on one tree to reflect the beauty of ‘diversity in unity’. Mayor David Miller of the City of Toronto and Mayor Michael Di Biase of the City of Vaughan proclaimed June 1st as Peace Tree Day in 2006. Now other cities, school boards and police services are proclaiming Peace Tree Day around the world. To date, the city of Vaughan, Ottawa, Windsor, Stratford, Sudbury, Brampton, Markham, Richmond Hill, York Region, York Region District School Board, York Region Catholic District School Board, York Regional Police and Boston have also proclaimed Peace Tree Day. Peace Tree Day has also been celebrated in Charlottetown, Maryland, Hyderabad, and Jammu/Kashmir, Tel Aviv, Moscow, Buenos Aries, Sydney, Cyprus and Gujarat, India.
Peace Tree Day is celebrated in cities, organizations, hospitals, classrooms, homes and through school boards. The festival inspires children and youth to take pride in their heritage and to share it with others, while also discovering the vibrant cultures, traditions and festivals of every culture and faith. It is also a time to encourage young people to share their talents and develop compassion for others.
Students from diverse backgrounds will work together by combining elements from different cultures, to create new forms of art, which will help raise funds to assist children less privileged around the globe. Peace Tree Day inspires young people to contribute to society while they explore and celebrate the beauty of every culture and faith to create peace in our world.
Mitra Sen is an award-winning filmmaker and a teacher with the Toronto District School Board, who produces, writes and directs socially relevant dramatic films that promote intercultural/interfaith unity, diversity, and peace through the spirit of young people. Mitra’s films also inspire children and youth to take action and create social change through a variety of cultural and interfaith initiatives to promote peace and respect among people of all backgrounds in their schools, communities and around the world. Mitra’s films have travelled to over 90 film festivals including Tribeca Film Festival in New York and to Roger Ebert’s Film Festival. The Peace Tree and ‘just a little red dot…’ have received 25 international awards including the Liv Ullmann Peace Prize at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival and the Children’s International Jury Prize at the Cairo International Film Festival for Children.