Source: Copley News Service
On September 21, 2002 Copley News Service reported that "Ravi Shankar, India's most celebrated composer and instrumental performer, Friday became the first musician to receive the U Thant Peace Award. The award, established in 1982 and named after the former secretary-general of the United Nations, has been presented previously to Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu and Pope John Paul II. It is given to individuals who exemplify the spiritual ideals of U Thant and who have implemented those ideals in pursuit of world peace. Shankar added: 'Religion, whether Muslim, Hindu or Christian, is not such an important factor; it is more the spiritual depth of understanding and good will. (With the effects of) great music, it is not a matter of seeing God in front of you, but feeling godliness within you. That is the highest thing I've experienced myself, as a performer and as a listener.'"