A leading light of the Italian Renaissance, Michelangelo was known as "II Divino" meaning "the divine one," and is considered one of the greatest artists of all time. A poet, sculptor, and architect, his creations include internationally renowned masterpieces like the famous marble sculpture of King David of Israel and the magnificent biblical painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo was also a principal architect involved in constructing one of the Vatican's holiest buildings, St. Peter's Basilica. Michelangelo was first and foremost a sculptor, displaying his talents from a young age. He could see a connection between the human form and the soul, bringing his sculptors to life in a novel way for his time. His use of light and shadow gives his sculptures a truly authentic presence. “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” - Michelangelo Buonarroti
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Michelangelo started gaining fame after creating the “Pietà,” a beloved sculpture of the Blessed Virgin Mary cradling the body of Lord Jesus Christ. Following his impressive achievements, Michelangelo became one of the most famous and sought-after artists in Europe. Michelangelo’s interest in the after-life influenced the content of his second painting for the Sistine Chapel. The finished mural, “The Last Judgement,” took him seven years to complete. The fresco depicts the Second Coming of Lord Jesus Christ and His judgement of the souls. Pope Paul III was so overwhelmed by the painting that he fell to his knees in awe and begged God for lenience on his own judgement day. Michelangelo passed away on February 18, 1564, at the age of 88, leaving a remarkable legacy of extraordinary creations that continue to inspire generation after generation. He was the first Western artist to have biographies published during his lifetime. Michelangelo once said, “Death and love are the two wings that bear the good man to Heaven.”
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“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” - Dr. Albert Einstein. In respecting the sanctity of all lives, throughout his existence, Dr. Albert Einstein believed in the ideals of vegetarianism. He wrote in a letter to Germany Vegetarian Watch-Tower on December 27, 1930: "…I have long been an adherent to the cause in principle. Besides agreeing with the aims of vegetarianism for aesthetic and moral reasons, it is my view that a vegetarian manner of living by its purely physical effect on the human temperament would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind." Dr. Einstein's respect for life naturally led him to be a humanitarian and advocate for social justice, freedom, and peace. With the onset of the atomic era, Dr. Einstein realized that nuclear weapons were a profound risk to humanity and could bring an end to civilization. During the last decade of his life, he was tireless in his efforts to create effective international cooperation to disarm nuclear weapons and to prevent wars.
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A leading expert in desert control, Dr. Seiei Toyama was respectfully known as “Father of the Desert” in Japan, and also held an honorary citizenship for Inner Mongolia. Dr. Seiei Toyama was born in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan, in 1906. As a student, young Dr. Seiei Toyama expressed interest in desert management. He enrolled in Kyoto University, where he went on to earn his doctorate degree in agronomy in 1962. Dr. Seiei Toyama sought global cooperation in desertification control. He said: “Solving environmental problems requires the world’s all-round coordination; greening China’s desert is also helping ourselves.” The year 1989 was an important turning point for Dr. Toyama’s endeavors in China. He was invited to Inner Mongolia for an inspection, and went to Engebei. It is said that Engebei used to be a natural carpet covered with lush green grass. Unfortunately, human activities such as animal livestock-raising as well as ensuing climate change gradually turned the 200,000 square meters of land into yellow sand and barren earth.
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Dr. Seiei Toyama studied the desert throughout his life and mastered the technology of greening desert. Led by Dr. Toyama, volunteers from Japan, China, and all over the world worked together for more than 10 years. Finally, the 20,000-hectare Engebei area, which was once almost uninhabited, became restored to a vibrant area with 70 percent vegetation coverage. Thus, desertification has been effectively controlled. This led to the development of agriculture in the desert area and has promoted tourism here. It was selected as the National Eco-tourism Demonstration Zone in 2016. Dr. Seiei Toyama passed away on February 27, 2004, at the age of 97. Dr. Toyama often said, “Green represents life; green is the road to peace.” His deep concern and hope for the ecological beautification of nature and a peaceful human society was reflected in his life’s work. Dr. Seiei Toyama resolved to revitalize deserts in China and his native country of Japan, and in so doing, he became a here protecting the planet’s ecology and a well-deserved envoy for human peace. In 2003, he received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Peace and International Understanding.
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Florence Nightingale, affectionately called “The Lady with the Lamp,” was an exceedingly compassionate nurse who reformed healthcare. She founded a hospital and nurse training school and wrote over 200 books and articles on health-related issues. Divinely inspired and strongly motivated, Florence Nightingale would ultimately fulfill her dream to serve humanity in her best possible way. During a conflict in 1854, British troops were faced with a lack of medical supplies, overcrowded facilities, and unsanitary conditions. Tasked by the Minister Sidney Herbert, Florence Nightingale agreed to superintend a government-sponsored team of nurses to remedy the situation. She diligently worked late into the night, carrying a lamp in the evenings as she tended to patient after patient, earning her the nickname “Lady with the Lamp.” And in six months, it was reported that the mortality rate had been decreased from 40% to a modest 2%. It was a monumental achievement. Florence Nightingale became a cultural icon.
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