UNITY EARTH “emerged” out of the co-creative endeavors of a small group working in the combined fields of interfaith engagement, interspiritual experience, ecology, indigenous wisdom, social transformation, technology and the transformative arts.
In some sense UNITY EARTH “began” at the 1st U Day Festival December 21,22, 2012 in Chiang Mai Thailand. It then grew into 1GOD.com, which was launched at the Parliament of World’s Religions in 2015, the work of Ben Bowler, Derek Grimm, Pato Banton, Antoinette Hall and others.
In another sense it was born of the meeting between Dr. Kurt Johnson of “the Coming Interspiritual Age” and Ben Bowler at Doug and Denee King’s home in Georgia in April 2016.
It emerged even more when Kurt introduced Ben and Derek to Yanni Maniates, with his decades-long legacy of interfaith events and networks, especially across India. The growing concept was nurtured over these early months by Ben, Derek, Kurt, and Yanni. Later on Deborah Moldow, Jeff Vander Clute and Irina Morrison would go on to play important foundational roles.
UNITY EARTH materially came into being as a brand, logo and URL (https://unity.earth) prior to the October 2016 launch of the “Road to 2020” event at Tillman Chapel in New York.
UNITY EARTH was a confounding platform of the Convergence Radio Show in 2016 and began the Convergence series of global in-person events at Crestone, Colorado in May 2017.
It legally was born in 2019 as the UNITY EARTH 501c3 in the United States and then as the UNITY EARTH Association in Australia.
In late 2019, Purpose Earth was born as a co-creation between UNITY EARTH and the Global Purpose Movement. The founders of GPM Emanuel Kuntzelman and Laura Rose joined the UNITY EARTH 501c3 board soon after.
UNITY EARTH continues to emerge, often in surprising ways, as an ongoing revelation, and an unfolding blessing.
Significant milestones on our journey
U DAY I - Thailand 2012
Before UNITY EARTH came into being as a brand and an organization there was U Day Festival. The original U DAY Festival took place in Chiang Mai, Thailand on December 22-23, 2012. Bringing together artists, musicians, visionaries and travelers from all over the world, the Festival opened in the afternoon on December 22 with a multi-faith opening ceremony including representatives of many different faith-traditions. The headline act for the U-NITE! Concert that evening was acclaimed international Reggae star Pato Banton.
The next day was the dawn ceremony at the beginning of the New Day.
U DAY 2012, though small in scale, represented the first steps of what was to become UNITY EARTH, and the essential recipe of bringing together interfaith spirituality, great music and sacred activism lives on in the very DNA of UNITY EARTH.
Tillman Chapel: Launch of Road to 2020
In October 2016, the brand “UNITY EARTH” emerged for the first time, coinciding with the launch of the Road to 2020. The launch event was held at the Tillman Interfaith Chapel, located at the United Nations in New York. It was a magnificent gathering that brought together visionaries, change-makers, musicians, poets, evolutionary leaders, and heads of NGOs, who collaborated to commence the global series of events called the Road to 2020.
Over the next four years, these events traveled all over the world, before finally returning to New York for Peace Weekend 2020, which concluded the Caravan of UNITY Across America.
The Convergence Radio Show Begins!
Gathering on Spirituality & Sustainability
The Spirituality and Sustainability conferences in Rome/Assisi are inspired by Thomas Berry’s wisdom and guided by the Earth Charter values and principles. UNITY EARTH is a proud participant and supporter of this important event. The June 2017 event was a pivotal networking experience for UNITY EARTH, connecting us to a new community of academics, spiritual leaders, musicians and global peace activists. The spirit of St Francis and St Clare are guiding lights for many in our community and for the work as a whole.
The event continues into 2023 and beyond:
The Crestone Convergence in 2017 was a seminal event for UNITY EARTH. Bringing together a stunning array of thought-leaders, visionaries, indigenous leaders, musicians and spiritual wayshowers for a five day conference. This event built upon the powerful launch of the Road to 2020 nine months earlier and provided a significant rise in momentum and spiritual energy to the global growth of UNITY EARTH, our partner organizations and our aligned networks.
The event included powerful ceremonies, workshops, concerts and roundtable discussions. It laid the foundation for so much of what was to follow in the continuing emergence of UNITY EARTH and the mission to foster greater unity, peace and purpose in the world.
From February 1st to 7th, 2018, UNITY EARTH collaborated with the United Religions Initiative, the Inter-Religious Council of Ethiopia, and the World Peace Prayer Society to host a celebration of World Interfaith Harmony Week 2018 in Lalibela, Addis Ababa, and Shashamane, Ethiopia. The event brought together over 65 religious representatives from various faiths and musical artists from across the globe.
The gathering included individuals from diverse backgrounds, such as Aboriginal Australians, indigenous leaders from North and Central America, Buddhist monks from Thailand, Sikhs, Baha’is, Sufis, Hindus from India, Jews, Christians, and Muslims, all joining together to stand for unity, peace, and compassion.
The mission of the U Day gatherings is to bring people into joyful harmony through interfaith understanding and the common language of music.
The 2018 Crestone Leadership Conference followed on two years of Forum 21 Institute, and partners’ sponsoring of two conferences on “Spirituality and Sustainability” in Rome-Assisi, and joining with Unity Earth, and others, for The Crestone Convergence program, held in Crestone, Colorado, in 2017. These activities highlight several years of Sacred Site ceremonial activities around the world, joining shamanic practitioners in healing work for Mother Gaia. These have been sponsored in Japan, Australia, Ethiopia, Italy, and for 2018 at the “Four Corners” near Crestone. The 2018 Crestone Leadership Conference was an intimate gathering of stakeholders furthering the visioning and support of this work.
Mungo Man: Return to Country Festival
To celebrate this historic occasion, UNITY EARTH, working with local Aboriginal Elders, produced a live concert in the regional city of Mildura, Victoria the day after the return of Mungo Man. Featuring some of the most celebrated Aboriginal artists, dancers, and Lore men and women from across the country, the concert attracted 5000 participants, who came to witness and honor the return of Mungo Man, and to promote intercultural harmony and understanding. The event was a powerful moment of healing and unity, and represented a significant step towards greater respect and recognition of Indigenous culture and heritage in Australia.
The Toronto Convergence: Unifying the Unifiers on the Road to 2020,
Coinciding with The Parliament of World’s Religions, included leaders of various organizations, social influencers and activists whose life’s work is dedicated to the overall mission of peace, unity, harmony, justice, and a successful transition to the next stage of spiritual evolution toward a global culture of peace.
On November 24th and 25th, 2018, the first ever Fields of Healing event was held in Byron Bay, bringing together indigenous leaders from all corners of the globe. This historic and family-friendly gathering was presented by UNITY EARTH and co-hosted by Minyungbal Yugambeh songman, Magpie Yerrubilgin. The event served as a powerful celebration of cultural diversity and unity through music, art, workshops, performances, ecological healing, and much more.
The Fields of Healing event also commemorated the one-year anniversary of the Return to Country of Mungo Man, a significant moment where the ancient remains of a 42,000-year-old human ancestor were brought back to his country in the Willandra Lakes Region of NSW.
UNITY EARTH: LIFT OFF
UNITY EARTH: LIFT OFF was a multigenerational, intercultural, interactive concert in celebration of UN World Interfaith Harmony Week, which took place on February 2, 2019 at the historic United Palace in New York City.
This unprecedented celebration brought together indigenous leaders, musicians, diplomats, artists, scientists, peacemakers, interfaith and faith-based activists, along with guests of all ages in a colorful celebration of our common humanity.
U DAY III: Land of Spirit. Participants were able to experience the sacred city of Varanasi on the Ganges River, participate in the annual Mahindra Kabira Festival there and visit Benares Hindu University. In addition, they visited Sarnarth, where Buddha gave his first sermon; travelled to the sacred city of Rishekesh, also on the Ganges River, where a Women’s Spirituality Summit was hosted; and then ended in Delhi where numerous public events were held. The United Religions Initiative (URI) was UNITY EARTH’s U Day India 2019 partner.
U DAY 2020: Holy Land Living Water
UNITY EARTH, working with local host organization EcoPeace, with 25 years’ experience in the Middle East, brought all the momentum of U Day India 2019 to the “Holy Lands” around the Jordan River basin, Israel, Jordan and Palestine.
This event, held during UN World interfaith Harmony Week, was another close collaboration with the URI, with Ambassador Mussie Hailu again taking a lead role in diplomacy and networking, as he did in U Day Ethiopia 2018, along with the UNITY EARTH team and the ground-partners EcoPeace. Events were comprised of keynote speeches, musical performances and multi-faith spiritual ceremonies.
World UNITY Week: "Answering the Call"
World UNITY Week 2020 emerged as a direct response to the uncertainties caused by the global COVID19 pandemic. Faced with these unprecedented challenges, UNITY EARTH came together with the SINE Network to brainstorm ideas on how to navigate this new global reality. The concept of an online series of events, from the June 20 Solstice leading up to the June 27 celebration of the 75th anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter, was developed in collaboration with over 100 global partner organizations.
Through this co-creative partnership, World UNITY Week was born, providing a platform for all people to come together and promote greater unity, while facing the challenges and embracing the opportunities posed by the pandemic. Using a combination of Zoom and Facebook Live, hundreds of organizations collaborated to offer 200+ presentations, which were viewed nearly 600,000 times.
On June 21, during World UNITY Week 2020, Purpose Earth made their first public presentation. Many other valuable initiatives were conceived, created and empowered through the global platform of World UNITY Week.
Caravan of Unity Across America
The Caravan of Unity, beginning in San Francisco and finishing in New York around the UN International Day of Peace, was the climatic event in the build-up of the Road to 2020. The Caravan brought together an unprecedented line-up of activists and change-agents from across the spectrum in major public concerts, speaking events as well as sacred sites visit along the way. This colorful Caravan was designed to attract attention and to foster an actual experience of unity in diversity and spiritual transformation. “Come, come, whoever you are…..”
Peace Weekend 2020 was a three day Global Broadcast, commemorating the International Day of Peace. Peace Weekend 2020 foreshadowed the coming decade of global initiatives aimed at promoting greater unity, healing, justice, peace & harmony with all of life. This followed the UP Convergence, an 8-day online summit that showcased global solutions to various issues.
Peace Weekend included moving ceremonies, concerts, global discussions, and cultural celebrations from all around the world.
World UNITY Week: Let’s Do Something!
Following the successful inaugural year of World UNITY Week in 2020, hundreds of groups and thousands of individuals came together in 2021 to take responsibility for our global evolutionary journey and take action under the theme “Let’s Do Something!” The event hosted over 600 events, with renowned speakers such as Dr. Jane Goodall, Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, Vandana Shiva, Paul Hawken, and many others taking part.
World UNITY Week 2021 featured a broad range of on-the-ground activism, including demonstrations of ecological peacebuilding in the Middle East and the continued global philanthropic efforts of Purpose Earth.
World UNITY Week: Coming Home Together
World UNITY Week 2022 marked the third annual, free, 8-day online event celebrating the mid-year Solstice, Yoga Day, and UN Refugee Day, featuring a wide range of interconnected global content. This year it also launched the “99 Days of Peace through Unity”, culminating in Peace Week in September.
The 2022 theme, Coming Home Together, focused on ecology and restoring the right relationships with the foundations of life and featured speakers such as Vandana Shiva, Linda Tucker, Duaine Elgin and Richard Rudd, among many more.
Peace Week 2022
Oriented around the International Day of Peace on September 21, Peace Week 2022 was a time for people from all walks of life to come together and celebrate the power of peace, justice and unity. As the culmination of the “99 Days of Peace Through Unity”, the week was filled with powerful events and activities that aimed to promote peace and harmony worldwide.
Presenters included Deepak Chopra, Vandana Shiva, Zach Bush and hundreds of other global leaders in the fields of peace, ecology, spirituality and global transformation.