How it all began

One Sky One World turned 10 years old on October 8, 1995!

How it all began

Ten years ago, the American Jane Parker-Ambrose developed the idea of using one day a year to decorate the sky of our Earth with kites everywhere. It should be a conscious sign of understanding that we have only one world in which we live and that this world is our present and future. Since the wind as a life-giver spans the globe and knows no boundaries, the kite should be used as a symbol of the wind. “One Sky – One World – International Kite Fly for Peace” has been taking place for 10 years now.

Ronald Reagan and Michail Gorbatschow

Jane Parker Ambrose already embodies in herself the diversity and unity of this earth. Her ancestors are both European and Native American. In 1984 she took part in a trip to the then Soviet Union and presented the President of the Soviet Women’s Committee for Peace with a token of understanding and friendship. It was an Eddy kite she sewed with the globe and the Halle comet. On the left flew the American flag and on the right flew the Soviet flag. Let’s go back …. In the year of Halle’s Comet, President Gorbachev and President Reagan met in Iceland. These two men had a mission to make peace more secure and end the cold war. The kite of Jane wanted to express this and was also enthusiastically accepted by the Soviet side. It was flown on the roofs of Moscow and photographed.

The photo appeared on the front page of the English-language Soviet propaganda newspaper “Russia Today”. Shortly after this trip Jane developed the idea of a day for the action “International Kite Fly for Peace”. She searched and visited friends and acquaintances from all over the world and asked them for support. Among others she contacted Jilly Pelham from England. It was about the choice of the day. Jilly said that autumn would be good for it, because then the day would not be lost in the normal kite hustle and bustle, because in England, America, Japan, China etc. the kite season is in late spring. Jilly recommended Jane to get in touch with me.

I received a letter from Jane asking me to support the project and I was hooked. What could be more peaceful than flying kites? Fly Kites not Rockets! I set out to support this initiative in Berlin and Germany as well. At the same time Jane founded a so-called “non-profit organization” and promptly I was on the board of a worldwide organization. There was a lot to do – writing articles, developing a logo, organizing and supporting festivals, inspiring friends, etc.

There were many debates about the direction, e.g. whether a “One Sky One World” kite festival should be officially registered, whether it should be a member organization, whether Coca Cola should be the official sponsor. There was also defamatory criticism from parts of the commercial kite scene against Jane according to the motto that this project was only an advertising campaign for her kite company “Sky Scrapers”. But actually these debates and conflicts were not important, because the idea of the campaign had caught fire. One Sky One World kite festivals sprang up all over the world. They didn’t care about the “direction debates” and thus proved that this was a “grassroots” action. But thousands of people have learned about OSOW in the meantime and through their own initiative have developed it into what it is today.

Many have been infected by the idea and also report about it. There have been reports about OSOW even at UNESCO in their official organ, let alone in most newspapers of this world. Even the successor of Axel Springer, Mr. Ernst Kramer, in his address to a delegation of the International Cosmonaut Association, conveyed the thoughts of OSOW from a podium decorated with an OSOW kite. It is also heaven and earth for the astronauts. Jane Parker Ambros and her husband Larry still do many things for OSOW. They go out of their way to publish an annual free newspaper called “Sky Times” and distribute it worldwide. This newspaper is the worldwide link of OSOW news. Here are the pictures and reports from all over the world. Countless imaginative kites have been created. Here are also the statistical results: the number of OSOW actions, how many places, countries and people participated in them. Here Jane and Larry offer the commercial OSOW products such as, T-shirts, sweat-shirts, pins, stickers, stamps, etc., which partly finance the whole action. There are instructions for local OSOW festival organizers with draft press releases and even tips for outfitting your own picnic basket at an OSOW kite festival. In this paper are reports of bold and landmark actions by OSOW supporters. Here I learned about what Jane and Larry have been up to on their own.

Jane Parker-Ambrose in Paris on top of the Eifel-Tower

A couple of examples:

We all know about the Tiananmen Square Massacre in Beijing in 1989. Larry and Jane organized an OSOW kite flying day in that very square on a trip to China. This was the first public demonstration in that square since that massacre. 
When the Soviet scientists witnessed the dismantling of the American Pershing missiles in Colorado the two organized an OSOW kite flying day: The American and Soviet scientists then flew OSOW kites together.

She organized poster contests in schools: Children were asked to draw how they pictured a world when all people on Earth, regardless of nationality or skin color, were flying kites at the same time. The winning poster was then the official poster for OSOW.
 In Israel, it made it possible for Palestinians and Israelis to fly OSOW kites together as a sign of your desire for understanding and peace.

It is Jane’s inspiration that led me to fly an Ohashi kite chain over the still existing Berlin Wall on March 18, 1990 to emphasize the thought – “One Sky – One World – One Berlin”. That was when the border guards of the GDR, holding the kite chain in no man’s land at Potsdamer Platz, said “finally we have a reasonable task”.
It would be presumptuous to claim that this and other similar OSOW actions have changed world history. But your success and the enthusiasm behind it show that people’s desire for unity, harmony and understanding is greater than the power of destruction, unrest and prejudice. It is a positive statement in a world where the news is all too full of the negative acts of man. Every OSOW kite flown and every OSOW action contributes to this. For me, it actually goes even further. One Sky One World is just not only every other Sunday in October. This is perhaps the time when we all together openly display these thoughts as a manifestation. For me, however, 10 years of OSOW is even more significant than these Ten Sundays. It has become an attitude and a mood that OSOW is actually always present. My good friend Bernhard Böhnke expresses it clearly. On his dragon cap, a beret, his highest point, there is only one pin the whole year:

One Sky – One World

Text: Michael Steltzer


This text appeared in 1995 as an article in the DCB club magazine ‘Fang den Wind Nummer 35’.

A scan as PDF file in german language you can find here

The article can be found on page 34ff.

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