Mingoola's Julia and Philip Harpham joined a roll call that includes the likes of Nelson Mandela and Princess Diana when they received Torch Bearer awards for their contribution to global peace through their African refugee resettlement program.
The Harphams' efforts to address the village's declining and aging population by resettling refugee families in unused farm houses has led to Mingoola Public School reopening and a pool of labour created for seasonal farm work.
The project's success has inspired several other small communities in rural areas to also resettle their own refugee families. It's anticipated that more people across Australia will have a more tolerant world view and understanding of the way of life in Africa, bringing people closer to world peace.
"I work on the three 'R's," Mr Harpham said, "recognition, respect and rapport."
The Harphams were presented with their awards when the Global Peace Run hit Tenterfield on Thursday, February 14, before the runners continued on to St Joseph’s Catholic School and then to Glen Innes.
The runners represented a mini-United Nations of nationalities, each volunteering their time and effort to spread the word on world peace.
This year for the first time, the Peace Torch of the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run will encircle the globe. More than 2000 runners from 50 countries are carrying the torch in relay, visiting every country of the Southern Hemisphere along its route.
Starting and finishing in Bali, the Southern Hemisphere relay will be a continuous route that visits 44 nations on five continents, including numerous island nations in the Pacific and Indian Oceans as well as Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica, South America and Africa between January and November this year.
The Peace Run was founded in 1987 by Sri Chinmoy, an athlete, philosopher, artist, musician and poet who dedicated his life to advancing the ideals of world friendship and oneness.
Sri Chinmoy wrote: “How can we have peace? Not by talking about peace, but by walking along the road of peace.”