World Humanitarian Day

World Humanitarian Day
Meditation in Central Park, NYC
19 August 2014
Alessia Ferraro & Dr. Ani Kalayjian

The 19th of August has been selected by the United Nation as World Humanitarian Day, to recognize and remember those who face danger and adversity in order to help others. According to the UN, “World Humanitarian Day is also an opportunity to celebrate the spirit that inspires humanitarian work around the globe.” What better day than this to offer a free meditation session? ATOP Meaningfulworld organized this event in the Strawberry Fields section of Central Park in NYC, and the weather was perfect – cloudy enough to freshen the air but not too cold. The reason for this meditation was to highlight the importance of helping other people, while we first help ourselves. In addition, to spread the word about the work we do every day locally and globally in order to help people overcome the psychological isolation and despair that may feel after a natural catastrophe or a human-made disaster. Concomitantly, we wanted to ascertain the impact of meditation on anxiety levels before and after the meditation. Blood pressure and pulse were taken before and after meditation and pre and post questionnaires on anxiety were also completed.

The meditation session started with an introduction of all the attendees, who numbered approximately twenty. All were welcomed to dedicate their meditation to a cause, a person, or themselves. Dedications were to: self, loved ones, mentors, recently transitioned people, etc. Dr. Ani dedicated it to Robin Williams and Rivka Mier, who had both transitioned-in a devastating manner-in the previous week. After brief introductions and networking the meditation was divided into five parts. The first part was the “silent meditation:” with the help of the light of a candle in the center of the meditation circle everyone focused on the heart chakra, closing the eyes and bringing awareness into the heart center. The second part was the “meditation with essential oils,” during which were distributed lavender for peace and calm, sweet orange for joy, and green essence for a closer connection with Mother Nature, and the sound of a drum helped the attendees relax and go deeper into their meditation. The third part included chakra-balancing exercises to open the heart center. The next part was the “walking meditation,” where everyone walked in a circle around the trees in their bare feet to better connect with nature. The last part was the sound and vibrational meditation, where each exhalation was released with an “OM” sound.

At the end of the meditation everyone was very calm and began networking and sharing personal stories, their passion, their love of humanity, and how to start by caring for ourselves. This turned out to be a wonderful opportunity to meet new people and to share our feelings and thoughts with one another. As our motto underscores: When one helps another, both become stronger.

A special gratitude to Dr. Ani Kalayjian, founder of ATOP Meaningfulworld, for leading the meditation, to Alessia Ferraro and Justin Koroglu for helping to welcome the attendees and document the event, and to Jean Weiss for spreading the word and inviting her family and friends.

ATOP Meaningfulworld would also like to invite you to our next event: the International Day of Peace, taking place on 21 September at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. There will be live music, films of humanitarian missions, home-cooked food, raffles and prizes, and a Peace Award will be given to Dr. Patch Adams and to Amanda Neshweiwat. For more information contact us at, and visit our website at:

Good intentions are no longer enough. I wanted to support humanity in my own way. Meaningful World was a natural way for me to help the victims of tsunami.

So many systems have failed us and as we transition from failed models, attitudes and behaviors that are polarizing, destructive and failing all around us I could not just sit back, be overwhelmed and do nothing… I am doing something with Meaningful World.

Meaningful World cultivates well-being, relatedness, a deep awareness and understanding how to elevate some of the world's suffering. Our choices impact all living systems and I choose to be an agent of good.