On 16 September 1977 the Peace Meditation Group at the United Nations dedicated a small island in the East River, adjacent to U.N. Headquarters, to the memory of the late Secretary-General U Thant.

State authorities gave permission for the Meditation Group to beautify the island and build a monument, with Governor Hugh Carey sending an official letter of soulful dedication to U Thant Island, citing U Thant’s work for world peace.

The dedication ceremony, held on what turned out to be a rainy but calm Friday afternoon, included the burying of a metal box or cornerstone, which contained a gold pen and tie clasp belonging to U Thant, as well as various significant artifacts and documents from the U.N., government officials, the Meditation Group and its leader, Sri Chinmoy, a personal friend of the late Secretary-General. Members of U Thant’s family were present, with his daughter, Mrs. Aye Aye Thant, unveiling the Plaque.

Representing the UN Security and Safety Service was Officer Carlos Stozek, one of the Officers who worked closely with U Thant, who broke ground for the cornerstone. The short programme opened with a silence invocation by Sri Chinmoy, followed by several speakers.

Mr. Robert Muller, UN Deputy Under-Secretary-General for Inter-Agency Affairs, and Sri Chinmoy meditate together on the cornerstone for U Thant Island at the dedication ceremony, on 16 September 1977.

U Thant’s daughter, Aye Aye, and her husband, Dr. Tyn Myint-U and son, Thant, after the unveiling of the plaque at the dedication ceremony for U Thant Island on 16 September 1977.

  • Note on former UNMG Name

* The Meditation Group at the UN (originally know as UNMG)  began when Sri Chinmoy was invited to lead Meditations for the UN Community in 1970, by Secretary-General U Thant.. After the initial years the group was recognized as “Sri Chinmoy: The Peace Meditation at the United Nations“. This association of delegates and staff continues to offer regular meditations and other programmes to the UN Community.

Dr. Uner Kirdar receives from Sri Chinmoy the U Thant Peace Award on behalf of the United Nations Development Programme, in a ceremony on U Thant Island on 19 March 1985. In a subsequent letter to Sri Chinmoy, the head of UNDP, Bradford Morse, wrote: “This award . . . gives us new inspiration, dedication and energy to serve in the best manner millions of human beings in poor countries . . .”

Sri Chinmoy meditates at U Thant Island after presenting the U Thant Peace Award to the United Nations Development Programme in a ceremony held on 19 March 1985.

Russell Barber, NBC producer and host of a television show on world spirituality and religion, receives the U Thant Peace Award from Sri Chinmoy in a ceremony held on U Thant Island on 6 November 1986.

Manhattan map showing location of island:




View of island from Queens, with explanatory park sign