New York – Six international diplomats and luminaries, including Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, Lakshmi Puri, recently received the inaugural Diwali “Power of One” award at an award ceremony held at the Trusteeship Council Chambers of the UN Headquarters.
The other awardees included outgoing British Ambassador to the UN, Matthew Rycroft; Lebanese Ambassador to the UN, Nawaf Salam; former Permanent Representative of Egypt to the UN, Maged Abdelaziz; former Permanent Representative of Moldova to the UN, Ion Botnaru; and former Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations, Yuriy Sergeyev.
The “Power of One” award, established by the Diwali Foundation USA, celebrates the important work done around the world to promote peace and development, especially at the United Nations. New York-based Ranju Batra (Diwali Foundation) led seven years of unflinching efforts, supported by her husband, eminent attorney Ravi Batra, towards the release of a Diwali stamp by the US Postal Service.
Announcing the awardees, Ranju Batra of the Diwali Foundation said, “Awards being bestowed upon globally exceptional people – who have toiled selflessly “to help form a more perfect,” peaceful and secure world for all of us.”
She further expounded, “At the core of our purpose, is the concept of harmonious inclusion. Respect of all peoples and all cultures, serves as the only proven path to a peaceful and just society. Diwali Stamp proves it. May God bless each nation, so every person is blessed too. That will make Diwali, global.”
Addressing a select audience and honoring the awardees, National Advisory Council South Asian Affairs Chair Ravi Batra said, “These Diwali Foundation USA’s ‘Power of One Awards’ are essentially the ‘Oscars of Diplomacy’ for helping Good beat Evil and Suffering.”
“Ultimately, the Power of One Awards – to paraphrase our exceptional Constitution – is to help form a more perfect world. Even Thomas Becket and the Barons in 1215 at Runnymede who got the Magna Carta could not imagine what occurred in Philadelphia in 1789; and we are most grateful to England because we stand on these wonderful shoulders. And thank you for the Common Law, as one of our Honorees will be gracing the International Court of Justice,” added Ravi Batra.
Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin from India added color to words saying, “What started off last time as the “Power of One” by Ranju, and then Ravi actually made it a “2 for 1″ – and that’s with the “Power of One” is: that you always carry your better=half with you.”
Thanking the Batras, Lakshmi Puri said, “”I am honored to receive the Power of One Award from the Diwali Foundation USA and would like to thank and congratulate the founder , inspiration and personification of this concept: Ranju Batra and her equal half Ravi Batra.”
Ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev, former Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations (2007-2015) said, “I would like to extend my congratulations to a wonderful couple Ranju and Ravi Batra for bringing Diwali spirit to the United Nations. You both – Ranju and Ravi- and your family who is here present radiate Diwali’s light through your generosity, friendship and love.”
Thanking Ravi and Ranju Batra, Ambassador Nawaf Salam, Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the UN, recently elected to the International Court of Justice stated, “Light is also associated with hope, and that is what we need in these difficult times. Diwali is the power of one. The United Nations is also power of One while respecting all our diversities at the same time.”
Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, CBE, Permanent Representative of United Kingdom to the United Nations said, “I thank Ranju and Ravi for bringing us all together and creating this wonderful set of awards,” adding, “What an honor it is to receive an award that recognizes the work that we all do to form a more peaceful world.”
Co-hosted by the Permanent Missions of Belarus, Georgia and India to the United Nations, and the Diwali Foundation USA, and backed by a number of other countries, the event marked the first anniversary of the US Postal Service issuing “the Diwali Forever Stamp.”
Diwali Foundation USA was established this year as an NGO to promote a peaceful and consensus-based process to achieve societal “Good” as befits the high hopes and ideals of humanity enshrined in the UN Charter. The United Nations General Assembly recognized the significance of Diwali in 2014, a Hindu festival representing the victory of good over evil and of light over darkness. The “Power of One” award, established by the Diwali Foundation USA, celebrates the important work done around the world to promote peace and development.