The Children – Ambassadors of Peace pillar was unveiled at Artek. A stela bearing the logos of the center and its partners – the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Artek Support Foundation, the secondary boarding school at the Foreign Ministry and the Diplomats’ Club – became a symbol of friendship and international communication between children and youth as well as cooperation in choosing a career in international relations and preserving diplomatic traditions.
Sergei Lankin, a representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry in Simferopol, delivered a message of greetings from Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov: “Today Artek is an important international site that promotes youth exchanges and inter-cultural dialogue. This allows us to view the opening of the memorial pillar as evidence of the readiness of event participants to work even harder towards establishing values like friendship, neighbourliness, mutual respect, trust and broad equitable partnership in international relations.”
Guests and children of the international children’s center were welcomed by Artek Deputy Director Yury Eelmaa: “Let me speak to the children. Artek has always been an international children’s center. It was the only place in the Soviet Union where your parents could have met a foreigner. Today, international programs are being implemented here, and this is very important. You will live in a big world with no or just a few borders. We would like you to remember that Artek is always open for people speaking any language when you look at this sign. For people of any skin color and beliefs.”
Pyotr Uksusnikov, first deputy rector for administrative, financial and maintenance issues at the Russian Foreign Ministry Diplomatic Academy, thanked Artek’s management for their support in promoting diplomatic educational programs and expressed confidence that “the pillar will become a symbol of youth events held under the auspices of the Academy and the Diplomats’ Club as well as of promoting the Russian language and culture and learning about international relations and countries.” Vladimir Bobkov, chairman of the Republic of Crimea State Council Committee on Education, Science, Youth Policy, and Sports, noted that the pillar has deep meaning: “The words ‘peace’ and ‘children’ should be synonyms. Today’s event is a small step down this road.”
Children also speak about the importance of the new pillar at Artek. Ulyana Melnikova from Moscow says: “When Samantha Smith wrote her famous letter, she was about the same age as we are now. We are living in a different time, but, like Samantha, we want peace and friendship on Earth. Artek symbolizes peace, because here no one cares where you are from or who your parents are. Everyone can express his or her opinion, and it will be heard. Today we are going home. This is the last event of the session, and we will remember it for a long time.”
The Department of Children’s Diplomacy will be opened and the Children – Ambassadors of Peace international program will be held as part of the partnership between Artek, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Academy, the Artek Support Foundation, the secondary boarding school at the Foreign Ministry and the Diplomats’ Club.