Japanese tea master to be named UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador

Japanese tea master Sen Genshitsu. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

2 March 2012 – The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced today that it will appoint Japanese tea master Sen Genshitsu as a Goodwill Ambassador in recognition of his contributions to peace and culture.

The designation ceremony will take place at the agency’s headquarters in Paris on 5 March and be followed by a commemoration of the first anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan last March.

UNESCO stated in a news release that Mr. Sen is being recognized for his contribution to peace and culture through the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, and his dedication to the ideals and goals of the agency.

Born in Kyoto in 1923, Mr. Sen became the 15th Urasenke Grand Master in 1964. Urasenke is one of the leading tea ceremony schools in Japan. The Grand Master inherited the name of Soshitsu, which he passed on to his eldest son in 2002. He then took his present name with the title of Daisosho, signifying his status as the former Grand Master.

He has been a global advocate of culture and peace, promoting his ideal of ‘achieving peacefulness through a bowl of tea,’ UNESCO pointed out.

As part of his efforts to promote peace, Mr. Sen has travelled the world, lecturing and conducting tea-offering services. He also conducted tea ceremonies and peace prayers at UN Headquarters in New York on the occasion of the UN Millennium Assembly in 2000 and again at the UN General Assembly in 2010.

Mr. Sen joins a distinguished roster of over 40 well-known personalities who use their fame to spread UNESCO’s goals in the fields of education, culture, and science and communication. They include Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nelson Mandela of South Africa, United States jazz musician Herbie Hancock and Cuban ballerina and choreographer Alicia Alonso.


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