The Red Cross of Culture:

The Banner of Peace and the Roerich Peace Pact

IMAGE COURTESY: Nicholas Roerich Museum New York

TODAY is APRIL 15TH, 2017 (NS1.29.10.12 ~KIN 222) and on a day like today in 1935, 82 years in the past, the first initiative to promote a Culture of Peace was born in Washington DC and presented to the world: The Roerich Pact, the first International Peace treaty of its kind, was agreed to by twenty-two nations of the Americas and signed into effect at the White House by all the members of the Pan-American Union, in the presence of US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The document was later signed by other countries also. The year 2017 marks the 82nd anniversary of the signing of this groundbreaking treaty.

IMAGE COURTESY: Nicholas Roerich Museum New York
“The Pact itself declared the necessity for protection of the cultural product and activity of the world—both during war and peace—and prescribed the method by which all sites of cultural value would be declared neutral and protected, just as the Red Cross does with hospitals. Indeed, the Roerich Pact was often called The Red Cross of Culture.


“Just as the Red Cross is embodied in a protective sign and banner, so does the Roerich Pact also designate a symbol—the one seen on this page—to be displayed on a banner, The Banner of Peace. This Banner, flown at all sites of cultural activity and historical value, would declare them neutral, independent of combatant forces.”

Nicholas and Helena Roerich at Brussels. IMAGE COURTESY: Nicholas Roerich Museum New York

It was the visionary artist and mystic Nicholas Roerich along with his wife Helena, who, inspired by the devastating effects of World War I, introduced to the world the Banner of Peace as a universal symbol and emblem to represent the wish of humanity to raise above war.

The Roerich Pact states that the ” scientific, artistic, educational and cultural institutions shall be considered as neutral and as such respected and protected by belligerents… without any discrimination as to the State allegiance of said monuments and institutions… use may be made of a distinctive flag (red circle with a triple red sphere in the circle on a white background)… which credits them to special protection and respect”. This way, any cultural activity site around the world can raise this flag to “declare itself neutral, independent from forces of combat, and protected by an international treaty”.


The Principle of Trinity permeates many spiritual and cultural traditions
“The Banner of Peace symbol has ancient origins. Perhaps its earliest known example appears on Stone Age amulets: three dots, without the enclosing circle. Roerich came across numerous later examples in various parts of the world, and knew that it represented a deep and sophisticated understanding of the triune nature of existence. But for the purposes of the Banner and the Pact, Roerich described the circle as representing the totality of culture, with the three dots being Art, Science, and Religion, three of the most embracing of human cultural activities. He also described the circle as representing the eternity of time, encompassing the past, present, and future. The sacred origins of the symbol, as an illustration of the trinities fundamental to all religions, remain central to the meaning of the Pact and the Banner today.”

Universal Symbol of Peace

“We have raised the banner of peace over the Earth in order that a space of culture excludes the space of war and animosity forever. We call all the peoples and nations to building of new spiritual, scientific and artistic cooperation.” ~ Cosmonaut Paul Vinogradov ~

In 1990, Russian cosmonauts Balandin and A.Ya. Solovyov performed a space flight on orbital station Mir with the banner of peace on board. (The word MIR designates “Peace” and “World” in Russian) This flight was the first time a message of Peace was placed in outer space. The Banner completed 144 orbits around our planet.

Dra Alicia Rodriguez was honored recently in Mexico for her 30th year carrying this Sacred Symbol around the world

“Even though the Banner was created to protect the artistic monuments that are a part of humankind’s heritage, it is today, more than ever, in the middle of the difficult moments we’re going through, when the Banner of Peace incarnates its profound meaning, speaking to the consciousness of people to preserve, not only artistic treasures, but also spiritual values, that will help preserve life on our planet.”
Alicia Rodriguez ~ President of the Banner of Peace International Committee.

Jose Arguelles receives the Roerich Peace Medal from Alicia Rodriguez in january 2010, 1 year before his passing.


The symbol is today part of UNESCO.