Star sings praises of Peace Prize

South Wales Evening Post – November 10, 2005

A Swansea-based project born out of the 9/11 disaster has led to a nationwide award scheme for young people. The Peace Mala was conceived by teacher Pam Evans with help from her pupils at Coedcae school in Llanelli, with the aim of encouraging peace and tolerance, as well as improving understanding between different religions.

The project has attracted worldwide interest, with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams agreeing to be patron, and support coming from former Pope John Paul II and the Dalai Lama of Tibet.

Bonnie Tyler and Pam Evans at the launch of the Bespoke Peace Mala and Awards for Youth
Bonnie Tyler and Pam Evans at the launch of the Bespoke Peace Mala and Awards for Youth – picture Robert Meleen, with kind permission of the editor of the South Wales Evening Post

To support its aims, the Peace Mala Award for Youth scheme was launched this week, to be presented to young people who enter a competition promoting the project’s vision.

Pam Evans said: “We decided we wanted to do something to tackle the rise of Islamaphobia and racism after 9/11, and to encourage tolerance and friendship.

“These awards are for any members of schools, colleges, youth clubs, faith groups or other centres of learning who produce a project sharing the vision.”

The principles of Peace Mala are symbolised in a multi-coloured beaded bracelet, with beads representing different religions.

The bracelets have been available since the project was first launched in 2002, but now a new, solid silver Bespoke Peace Mala has been produced, with proceeds going to support the Awards for Youth.

Swansea singer Bonnie Tyler, a supporter of the Peace Mala, turned up at the launch to give her backing to the project.

She said: “I’m happy to be involved with this because it helps towards a better understanding of other people and faiths.

“Every religion says that we should treat people as we should like to be treated ourselves, and if we all stick to that then the world will be a better place.

“These awards and the bracelet represent that.

“Hopefully these awards will encourage younger people to get involved.”

The awards involve a junior category for five to 11-year-olds and a senior category for those aged 12 to 18. Entries must be received by the end of March, with an awards ceremony taking place at the Welsh National Temple of Peace in Cardiff.

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