Peace Bringer Spotlight
Peace Bringer Spotlight Honoree
Global Citizen, Living in the USA
Mattie said we must “share peace” and we must “make peace a reality, by tending to the basic needs of others, and by reaching beyond one’s own family and community to gently touch the lives of other people who have needs — including the need for hope and peace.” This is how Mattie envisioned a person or community which exemplifies what it means to bring peace to others.
Benjamin Quinto has been offering peace to others since the young age of 13. Across the years, he has worked as an entertainer, served as a youth activist, participated in United Nations activities, and collaborated in health endeavors — all with the vision of tending to human needs, serving others, and bringing peace to global citizens. He first learned about Mattie and Mattie’s Foundation in 2008, while working on the launch of the annual Just Peace Summit which trains and mentors international youth in peace endeavors.
Now, as we celebrate individuals and groups who move from “attitude to action” to spread peace in our world, the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation honors Benjamin Quinto as our Peace Bringer Spotlight Honoree for our May-June post.
Below are Ben’s responses
to our interview questions.
Tell us a bit about you as a person.
My name is Benjamin Quinto. I was born in Miami, but raised in Florida, France, Spain and New York City.
I love traveling, languages, and accents, and exploring parts of the planet and different cultures, people, food and other flavors which reflect the awesome diversity of experiences to be had.
I am also into photography and music and can’t get enough of either. I believe the world needs to improve for those coming behind us, and that young people are the key to social change.
Making someone smile or laugh is one of the great privileges of being human; to evoke such innocent trust is a sacred gift. In 2009, I published a Book of Smiles after realizing I had amassed a collection of my photography capturing great smiles, and which seemed infectious. I hoped it might help me achieve what I wanted to as a teenager: spread joy.
I have volunteered my whole life — first at senior homes and then during school and community events, music and theater productions, walkathons and bike-athons and more. Giving back and being of service are also a privilege. I love the quote by David Viscott making the rounds recently: “The purpose of life is to discover your gift; the meaning of life is to give it away.”
The only career I had ever hoped for was that of an entertainer, and I gave up on it at 16. Since then my life has been more about service, in the spirit of trying to see how I could help make a positive difference on the planet.
Disinterested in school, and barely graduating from high school, I had a vision to give young people a voice at the United Nations, the pursuit of which embarked me on a whole experience that would last the next 12 years. My only thought at the time was that maybe in 3 or 4 years it could all be done. The rest of the journey – and what would evolve into my early “career” – was simply a matter of showing up, holding conviction and trusting intuition.
Currently I co-manage a company that my father started in 1998 (shortly after the time that I started my project). He had “cracked the code” on a century old technology, producing the finest colloidal silver that had ever been seen, and perfected an age old remedy used by doctors, healers, and housewives ever since.
It’s interesting to have moved into an industry and experience so far from what I had previously known, but I am reassured with the move when I read the countless testimonials that pour in, thanking us for a product that has oftentimes changed their lives. To be making a difference in any way possible, to me, gives our lives meaning.
What does peace mean to you?
Only Peace matters.
A favorite quote of mine is: “There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.” (by A. J. Musta) Everything is energy and Peace is a vibration. The only way to share it or promote it, is to be it, or actively seek it out.
How did you learn about Mattie and our Foundation?
I learned about Mattie through Nancy Hunt, President of the We Are Family Foundation which created the annual Just Peace Summit for international youth based on Mattie’s final book (Just Peace: A Message of Hope). Subsequently, I met Jeni, Mattie’s mom, while serving as a facilitator during the inaugural Summit in 2008.
Jeni gave me a copy of Mattie’s Just Peace book, which I took with me and read while on a trip to Sri Lanka in 2008. I was deeply moved by the exchanges between Mattie and Former President Jimmy Carter, and several times I had conversations with Mattie in my dreams on that trip!
I lament not having the chance to meet Mattie while he was on the planet, but am grateful to have been a part of the work that he inspired the We Are Family Foundation to do in his honor. Through the Just Peace Summit, and the extraordinary young people who participate, I have been able to know and appreciate Mattie through many reflections of his spirit, and that has filled my heart in immeasurable ways.
Any other thoughts you would like to share?
Thank you, Ben,
for being a Peace Bringer.