Peace One Day Blesses Winds of Freedom for Peace Day LA: Rotary Clubs of South Bay Partner-in for Only So Cal Peace Day Event

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On September 21 Peace Day, an annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence on the UN International Day of Peace, will be commemorated by events around the world sponsored by Peace One Day, an organization founded by English actor and filmmaker Jeremy Gilley. His tireless efforts, in 2001, resulted in a General Assembly resolution unanimously adopted by UN member states to establish Peace Day. Despite events being planned worldwide, there was not a 2017 Peace Day for one of the biggest cities in the world, Los Angeles.

That is until two-weeks ago, when a combination of factors resulted in the Rotary Clubs of South Bay sponsoring Peace Day LA at the Hermosa Beach Community Theater with the Winds of Freedom Symphonic Multimedia Presentation, created by Alex Azyin, as the main attraction. The Winds of Freedom Foundation, also created by Ayzin, is dedicated to bringing this unique production to audiences around the world in an effort to encourage peace movements.  

Pete Allman, WOF Director of Communications

However, that is only half the story. The Winds of Freedom Foundation had contacted Peace One Day months earlier to get their blessing to use the Winds of Freedom Symphonic Multimedia Presentation as an anchor for a Los Angeles Peace Day, an idea they readily agreed to after reviewing the origins and parameters of this outstanding work of high-art. During this time, in conjunction Pete AllmanDirector of Communications for the Foundation, Ayzin began to cultivate contacts in Los Angeles Rotary Clubs and then, in June, with WOF tech-advisor Dennis Mathews, he attended the 2017 Rotary International Presidential Peace Conference in Atlanta.
This yielded contacts which proved invaluable to Pete Allman, who has been working with Azyin for years on Winds of Freedom, as he burned up the phone lines working every possible angle to get Rotary excited about the Peace Day/Winds of Freedom combination. He hit pay dirt with the fantastic group in South Bay, who ran with the baton and made Peace Day LA a reality. Alex Ayzin freely states that Pete Allman was key to breaking the doors down and is extremely grateful to Rotary Clubs of South Bay for making Winds of Freedom the primary attraction for Peace Day Los Angeles on September 21, 2017 at 6:30 pm at the 450-seat Hermosa Beach Community Theater.

Peace One Day officials in London are pleased to have an event in Los Angeles and have been promoting it through their social media platforms. It is hoped that Peace One DayRotary Clubs of South Bay and the Winds of Freedom Foundation can continue with a 2018 Peace Day LA that has an expanded program in a larger venue.

From Soviet Émigré to Unique Peace Activist: Rotary Clubs South Bay Find Beautiful Wisdom in Winds of Freedom for Peace Day LA

When Alex Ayzin was in training to be a Soviet Naval Officer, at the Odessa Higher Engineering Marine School, it was impossible to know he would soon escape West, with his whole family, and later become an advocate for peace based on a full-length symphony he would commission and later transform into a multimedia event with video and still images. But that is what happened and now, having made connections with Rotary Club officials in Los Angeles and at the 2017 Rotary Presidential Peace Conference in Atlanta, his Winds of Freedom Symphonic Multimedia Presentation will be the main event at the only September 21 Peace Day event in Southern California.

Having received the blessing of Peace One Day, a UN mandated organization which founded the Peace Day movement in 1999, the other piece of the puzzle fell into place when Rotary Clubs of South Bay stepped-up and secured the terrific 450-seat Hermosa Beach Community Theater to show Winds of Freedom. A free-event open to the public, the proceedings will commence at 6:30 pm, Winds of Freedom will be shown at 7:30 and a Q & A will follow afterwards. Rotary International has a long history of peace activism and their participation was a blessing for the Winds of Freedom Foundation in their efforts to bring this unique production to audiences around the world. 

“We are excited to be involved with Peace One Day and Winds of Freedom in creating Peace Day LA, it kind of came of nowhere for our group in the South Bay, but, I mean, things are getting a bit crazy out there and Winds of Freedom reminds us all that peace is better than war. Alex created something amazingly wonderful, seriously, who in this world commissions their own symphony for peace and turns into a movie, nobody else I ever met,” says Jody LeventhalRotary District 5280 Assistant Governor and Peace Chair for Hermosa Beach

This whole process began when the Challenger exploded in January 1986. Growing up in the Soviet Union all the kids idolized the first man in space, the famed pilot Yuri Gagarin, and Alex Ayzin was no different. He really took the Challenger tragedy to heart, in fact it brought him to tears; this started his association with the classically trained Russian pianist and composer, Emilian Sichkin, which lasted five years during which Concerto for Astronauts and Winds of Freedom were created, the latter a response to the Chernobyl nuclear plant meltdown and subsequent events leading to the final dissolution of the Soviet Union which brought the Cold War to an end. 

Like all creative processes, this one was fraught with difficulties. Azyin would craft out story boards for Sichkin to create music from, then they would test, rewrite story boards, test again; five years of mind-bending work, toil and heartache finally resulted in two amazing pieces of music. Sichkin was encouraged by Azyin to embrace the new synthesizer technology but proved a reluctant adherent, however, he eventually, after much berating, did incorporate it into the music. Sichkin was trained in the best Russian conservatories and his views were decidedly traditional. 

The combination of the Peace One Day and Rotary Clubs of South Bay brings one relatively new and one long-established organization together, respectively, in a major city where this will be the only Peace Day event. In addition, they will be featuring a rather unique strand in the annals of peace activism; a private citizen commissions a major symphony from a classical Russian composer, that decades later, thanks to the technology of the time, has the power to change the world. 

Alex Ayzin Visits the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change During 2017 Rotary Presidential Peace Conference in Atlanta

At the extreme last minute, on a trip sponsored by Mullen Technologies Electric Cars, Alex Ayzin, peace activist and creator of Winds of Freedom Symphony & Multi-Media Presentations, and Dennis Mathews, an African-America U.S. Marine disabled and former federal weapons contractor, attended the 2017 Rotary Presidential Peace Conference in Atlanta, June 9-10, at the Georgia World Congress Center. This unlikely pair, a Soviet defector from a third-generation naval family and a combat veteran Marine who is a high-tech inventor moving into VA Tele-Health Medicine, were on a mission to spread a message of peace and freedom by telling their stories, bringing attention to Ayzin’s Winds of Freedom and forming alliances with like-minded individuals and organizations.

Alex Ayzin, founder of Winds of Freedom Foundation, meets United Nations Deputy Secretary General at the 2017 Rotary Presidential Peace Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

Amina J. Mohammed, UN Deputy Sec. Gen.

Alex Ayzin, creator of the Winds of Freedom Symphonies & Multimedia Presentations, meets Dr. Bernice King, CEO of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, at the 2017 Rotary Presidential Peace Conference.

Dr. Bernice King

About 26,000 attendees were scheduled to attend the full Rotary International Convention, June 10-14, while the keynote speakers at the weekend 2017 Presidential Peace Conference were Dr. Bernice A. King, CEO of The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, and Amina J. Mohammed, the Deputy Secretary-General for the United Nations. Dennis Mathews, whose company live streams events all over the world,, and Alex Ayzin met Dr. King while she was signing her father’s book, Where Do We Go From Here: Community or Chaos, and Amina Mohammed, executives from The Carter Center, a Hiroshima survivor and heard Bill Gates talk about his generous donations to eradicate polio around the world.

Dr. Houda Abadi, Associate Director at Carter Center’s Conflict Resolution Program, gave a intense presentation at the 2017 Rotary Presidential Peace Conference about countering Islamic Extremism. In this photo she is seen with Alex Ayzin, founder of the Winds of Freedom Foundation and a third generation naval officer who defected from the Soviet Union with his family in 1979.

Dr. Houda Abadi

One particularly fascinating speaker, Dr. Houda Abadi, Associate Director at Carter Center’s Conflict Resolution Program, laid out with detailed graphics how ISIS (Daesh) recruits young boys and girls, inducts them into the jihadist philosophy and then trains them in methods to inflict death and suffering on innocent men, women and children. She talked about the rise of ISIS (Daesh), its global impact, use of social media for recruitment and propaganda dissemination and measures for addressing radicalization and the response of Muslim communities in the West. Ayzin and Mathews met Abadi, a brave woman indeed, after her speech in their efforts to find working partners such as fine organizations like The Carter Center.

During one session, when the discussion centered around military intervention to prevent human rights abuses, there was an open mic and Ayzin, with nudging from Mathews, got up and briefly told the story about his family’s escape from Soviet tyranny in 1979, the creation and existence of the Winds of Freedom Symphony & Multimedia Presentations in his effort to bring a message of peace and hope to the world. The crowd gave him a round of applause after hearing the story about his family defecting from the Soviet Union in their quest to live in freedom and peace.

One of Alex Ayzin's peace heroes is Martin Luther King, Jr. and he is seen here paying respects at the final resting place of MLK, a place of peace and honor.

Alex Ayzin at final resting place of Martin Luther King, Jr. & Coretta Scott King.

Alex Ayzin, who commissioned two symphonies, Concerto for Astronauts and Winds of Freedom, as a private citizen seeking to make a better world, is seen here at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Change in Atlanta. The capstone of their brief, unexpected journey as roving peace activists was a visit to The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Non-Violent Social Change, the Freedom Hall, the restored house where King was raised and the final resting place of King and wife beloved wife, Coretta Scott King. The inscriptions on their markers respectively are “Free at Last, Free at Last, Thank God Almighty I’m Free at Last” and from First Corinthians, 13:13, “And Now Abide, Faith, Hope, Love, These Three; but the greatest of theses is Love.”

Alex Ayzin was particularly moved by the experience of visiting the King memorials and it gave him pause to think that their journey to Atlanta, fraught with last minute preparations, blown plane reservations and frustrating timetables, was a gift from God. Dennis Mathews pushed him hard to attend and, against his own feelings, Ayzin took the plunge and it was well worth all the hassle and experience everything involved.

They met fascinating people, learned a lot and, most importantly, returned home inspired to keep fighting the good fight, just the U.S. Marines do everyday all around the world.

The house where Martin Luther King, Jr. grew was burned down and then rebuilt as a monument to his work and legacy. Alex Ayzin, creator of the Winds of Freedom Symphonies & Multimedia Presentations, is seen here looking plaintive as he contemplates the legacy of the great man. Obelisk at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change with Alex Ayzin of Winds of Freedom.

Winds of Freedom Visits MLK Monuments to Peace

Alex Ayzin is seen here contemplating the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. at his boyhood home in Atlanta, which was burned down and then reconstructed as a monument to his struggle for civil rights, peace and nonviolent change.