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A Time of Celebration and Reflection

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Understanding a true meaning of love and peace is the beginning of wisdom and unity with the great spirit of the Universe.

The closing of each year is a time of celebration and reflection. We count our blessings, remember our losses, and look forward to the wondrous mysteries of what is to come. For me, 2012 was a remarkable time. I have seen and taken part in so much for which I am thankful beyond words. The past 12 months have led to my sculptural experience, Love & Peace, taking root and blooming internationally. I feel connected to the world in ways I had only imagined possible before and I know that 2013 will bring even greater surprises to us all.

When I think back upon 2012, I am awed by our progress. When injustice was found and the oppressed were silenced, so many hands and voices reached out in support of righteousness.

I believe there have been precious few times like these when so many opportunities for empowerment have been within the grasp of women and the young. Those courageous individuals who made a stand and pursed those opportunities have provided me with unending inspiration.

Figures such as Malala Yousafzai, whose brave fight for the rights of girls to an education in Pakistan lead to her also fighting for her own life after being struck down by an assassin's bullet. Malala's miraculous and blessed recovery and the way the world rallied to her support forced us all to pay attention to her cause; to discuss the issues she had raised and begin to think about a better, fairer and more just future.

Somaly Mam, grew up in poverty in Cambodia. Her journey from lost innocence became an inspiration to millions. Somaly and her Foundation are tireless in their struggle to highlight the plight of innocent women and children sold in to sex slavery.

Aung San Suu Kyi has stood up against the dictators in Myanmar from the confines of house arrest for most of her political life. In 2010 the rulers of her country finally caved in under the weight of global pressure and she was freed. This year she became part of the new democratic process and took her seat in Myanmar's Parliament. This long and hard fought for change is greatly due to Aung San Suu Kyi's status as a symbol of freedom and her ever presence in global conversations.

The tireless determination of these women and so many others burns brightly in our eyes, bringing us closer to the reality of global peace.

The year also brought with it immense tragedy. From escalating violence in the Middle East to the horrors committed against the truly innocent in Chengping, China and Sandy Hook, Connecticut, our will to persevere was tested again and again. Moments of despair like these leave us wondering how we will be able to recover, how will we ever piece life back together from the shards and scraps. I truly believe that the surest route to healing is through conversation. When we share our hurt, it begins to be released from us--the open ear of a friend is another shoulder to carry even the heaviest burden. Love & Peace has been created to open lines of communication between all people, offering places of solace and community across the globe. I hope so strongly that comfort may be found through my sculptures, and that they are received as tributes to resilience.

As we retire old calendars and prepare for a fresh start, I wish for so much: May our spirits be cleansed and our hearts open to a universe of positive change. May we treat every being with compassion and respect, as all creation possesses within it a spark of the Divine; may our souls link to strengthen us in the face of struggle. Let us make each new day a celebration of our miraculous lives--and let us make 2013 the Year of Love & Peace!