Fri, Aug 22, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Poet wants a good world for children

A PLACE FOR ALL The Australian grandmother strives to make Earth a better place for children to grow up in and develop to their utmost potential


Children leave their palm prints on paper for Kerry Bowden's ``One Mind One Voice'' tour yesterday.


When Australian poet Kerry Bowden saw her third granddaughter Caitlin the day after her birth, holding on to her father's finger, she suddenly realized that her son and her entire family would be willing to die for the baby.

She started to worry about Caitlin's future and promised her that she would make the world a better place by 2015, when Caitlin reaches the age of 15.

That was back in 2000. Last year, Bowden wrote a poem One Mind, One Voice, promoting peace, tolerance and compassion. She also made it into a song and a short animated film.

She launched a Web site on Sept. 11 last year to promote the ideals presented in the poem. Soon she was contacted and admired by many, including French President Jacques Chirac.

This year, the 57-year-old Bowden initiated the Hands of Peace Exchange and Exhibition (HOPE) project, hoping to link children around the world by exchanging their palm prints. By invitation of the Joy Children's Cultural and Educational Foundation, Taiwan became Bowden's first stop outside her country on her trip around the world.

She is going to travel around the island, taking two rolls of newsprint with her to collect the palm prints of local children.

"I use newsprint because it represents the media, and the media has a lot to do with my goal," said Bowden.

She has also facilitated a twinning project between Joy's Kuling branch and North Arm Primary School on the Sunshine Coast in Australia, with students from the two schools exchanging palm prints.

Bowden said that when she first made the promise to her granddaughter, many people probably considered it "an impossible dream" because she was a mere unemployed grandmother at the time.

"[But] if an unemployed grandmother can make a difference, imagine if we all made the same promise to the children of the world. Just imagine what we could achieve. We would become a family and start caring about all children," Bowden said.

Joy Foundation's chairman, Sam Chen (陳平三), said that he was deeply moved by Bowden's vision when he first learned of it.

"Ms Bowden's motto of `One Mind One Voice' exactly matches Joy's slogan, `We are Joy family.' We hope that we can create a peaceful, harmonious and happy Joy family," Chen said. The activity enjoyed the support of the Ministry of Education, he said.

"People are always concerned with how to provide the next generation with the best environment for their best development. We want to make a better world for our children to live in and children everywhere are our hope for the future," said Lu Mu-lin (呂木琳), administrative vice minister of education.

Bowden has also been invited to join the Global Strategy Alliance (GSA) to be in charge of the soon-to-be-established Global Children's Alliance. The GSA is going to launch both the children's alliance and the Alliance for the New Humanity (ANH) this December. The founding members of GSA and ANH include two Nobel Peace Prize winners, Oscar Arias Sanchez and Betty Williams.

Kerry Bowden's "One Mind One Voice" Web site can be found at

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