The United Nations Celebrates Pages for Peace
UNITED NATIONS — Representatives from DuPont joined a joyful crowd of students, their families, ambassadors and dignitaries from all over the world at the United Nations on March 20th to celebrate the unveiling of The Big Book: Pages for Peace. This outsize volume — 12 feet (3.7 meters) tall, 10 feet (3 meters) wide, and weighing over a ton (907 kilograms) — is printed on 4,000 yards (3657 meters), or almost three miles (4.8 kilometers), of DuPont™ Tyvek®.
This colorfully illustrated 1,100 page volume — which includes thousands of poems, illustrations, and letters, including ones from renowned world leaders like the Dalai Lama, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, U.N Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and Nelson Mandela has been a dozen years in the making. “One Day Peace will Cover the World”, reads one student’s brightly illustrated slogan from the book. “Peace Begins at Home” is another.
Over 10 Years in the Making
The Big Book began as an after-school enrichment program at the Groton-Dunstable Regional Middle School in Massachusetts in 2004 when teacher, Betsy Sawyer, and eight fifth grade students formed the “Bookmakers and Dreamers Club” with a goal of building the biggest book in the world on the topic of peace. Club members solicited letters, poetry, artwork, and songs from writers, artists, musicians, and world leaders. Over 1000 student participants and 3,500 contributors took part in the project.
Because of the size of the book, which measures 20 feet across when opened, and the fact that it will be travelling around the world, a light, yet durable material was needed to make up its pages. And this substance had to be bright and flexible so as not to comprise The Big Book’s fun, colorful pages and important message.
After the club approached them for advice, students and faculty at the nearby University of Massachusetts Lowell’s Francis College of Engineering recommended the use of DuPont™ Tyvek® because it has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than paper, absorbs little or no moisture, is both strong and tear-resistant, and is made of environmentally responsible material.
Spreading the Message of Peace
The book’s reception was held on the U.N.’s International Day of Happiness. Seven of the original students in the club, now juniors in college, took part in the event. They and their teacher expressed gratitude to the company for donating both time and Tyvek® to the cause. “DuPont worked with us for the last decade and never gave up on these dedicated students, helping them realize a seemingly unattainable goal,” Betsy Sawyer recalled.
Chris Marx, global business leader – Tyvek®, DuPont Protection Solutions, returned the praise, saying, “These students should be applauded for what they have accomplished and we are delighted to have contributed to their success and the endurance of their gift to the world. DuPont is proud to be a part of this remarkable project.” Tyvek® brand platform For Greater Good™ represents the promise of DuPont™ Tyvek® to help protect others so they can accomplish big things.
After its time at the U.N., The Big Book will head to South Korea, where it will be displayed at the 66th United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) / Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Conference in the City of Gyeongju, beginning on May 30th.
The Pages for Peace Foundation, a 501c3 not-for-profit organization formed in 2008, is accepting public donations toward further exhibiting The Big Book. The students hope to bring the book to a global audience by funding both more travel and the creation of a display and automatic page turning device by students at UMass Lowell’s Francis College of Engineering. For additional information, and to see updates on the world tour of The Big Book, please visit their website, www.pagesforpeace.org.