|“In Winter Garden, Florida, real estate developers recently built a large shopping center on the site of a formerly successful orange grove – to honor our past and our future. Sue Thompson created some amazing statues of some of our well known residents when they were children. The work represents our past – the children are all playing on orange crates; and our future. When Sue’s work was unveiled, I got to know her and appreciate her talent, beauty and amazingly uplifting personality. I write about successful artists and people who want to be more creative, so, when I wrote my book The Affluent Artist, Sue’s story was the perfect fit for the introduction. I am better for knowing Sue and her work.” – Rick Dibiasio, author of The Affluent Artist.
An encounter with Sue Thompson leaves a person in a contemplative mood. International artist, global peace advocate, photojournalist in the making, and humanitarian – Sue epitomizes the universal concept of life. She has the privilege of knowing personalities like Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu and internationally acclaimed speaker Frank Maguire; she has a book dedicated to her by Rick Dibiasio; she has mingled with world leaders and dignitaries, and spent last Christmas as a guest at the White House.
Apparently, Sue’s life has been anything but a bed of roses. A difficult childhood, a battle with cancer, and a near fatal motor accident that left her severely injured are quiet insurmountable odds. Yet, possessed with an inner serenity, Sue has overcome the adversity, and her modesty is humbling. “I come from a simple farming background, where education was a novelty,” she shares candidly. “It took a lot of courage and determination to get myself where I am today. Rice is still my favorite food!”
In the true spirit of an achiever, Sue went on to enjoy a successful career as an artist in her native state of Florida before she gave it up to follow her dream of world peace. She has organized exhibitions in Rome, Paris, Mexico and initiated the Global Peace Rally, which brings together artists, musicians and enthusiasts from all walks of life, dedicated to peace.
Her impassioned advocacy of peace over the years has earned her the title of “Peace Angel”. She has journeyed through most of the continents, lived in places mired by unrest and still continues to see beauty and goodness in a world that has lost its luster to most.
In January 2008, armed with only her ever present digital camera, Sue embarked on a global mission of photographing and exhibiting her moving collection titled Children of the World. “I prefer to capture and show the innocence of people, especially children,” she explains. “By photographing children from around the globe, I want the world to see what precious a gift we have and hope to move them enough to want to protect these treasures.”
“Our media is full of torrid facts and often they portray the wrong message of hopelessness,” Sue laments and then challenges: “Why can’t we also show that life is still striving in the face of devastation and that peace is a possibility?”
Kuwait is currently her mission-base. “I believe it is the center of what is happening in the Middle East, a doorway to Arab culture,” she asserts.
Quite naturally, her affable nature is a people-magnet. I caught up with some of Sue’s allies and partners-in-mission to find out more about this incredible altruist. Abbas Al Masri, founder of the peace organization WOPALN and an ambassador of Global Peace says, “She’s got this sweet smile and curious eyes and a lot of persistence to learn and understand people, their languages, traditions and customs. She easily breaks walls of unfamiliarity, steps into people’s lives and truly captures their hearts with the flash of her camera.”
Dr. Latifa El Hinnawi, whose own harrowing experience as a young pediatrician in conflict-torn Lebanon fueled her zeal for non-violence, is inspired by Sue’s simplicity. “She makes you listen to your heart and opens your mind to all possibilities,” she reveals. “She cherishes humanity, understands the responsibility of being a part of this world and believes that we all have the power to create love and allow peace to prevail.”
Vivek Singhania, Indian film producer and a supportive friend, has tremendous regard for her allegiance to global peace. “Inarguably, she is one of the most amazing photojournalists in the world,” says Vivek. “In her quest to bring peace to the world she doesn’t hesitate to visit even the most terror-ridden parts of the world, placing her life in danger. She is doing some remarkable work for world peace.”
“Sue breathes for peace and humanitarian rights,” shares Angelique Grimm, Global Peace Ambassador from Mexico. “Whether it is Columbia, USA or Palestine – injustice propels her to action, to raise her voice to fight for peace, liberty and dignity only with love. I think that really is the essence of Sue.”
Sue has solely funded her entire peace mission without any financial support because of her fervent belief. In spite of her unrelenting spirit, the time consuming mission and depleting funds have evidently put a strain on her. Her recent sojourn to Palestine has left her in dire need of financial support to continue with more motivation than ever.
Sue’s general fascination with the world and particular empathy for the oppressed has defined her life. “I have always felt a kinship towards people of the world and in spite of the setbacks, I am going to focus only on the positive,” she concludes.
|Log on to www.globalpeacerally.com to learn more about Sue’s mission & upcoming exhibitions; or join her on Facebook.
You can email her at: [email protected]
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Art and Design
IN PURSUIT OF PEACE:
Exclusive interview with Sue Thompson
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