The International Day of Peace is observed annually on September 21. Also known as World Peace Day, the day is dedicated to enhancing cohesion and peace among all people across the world. The absence of war and violence is the key objective. The International Day of Peace was celebrated for the first time in 1982. Many countries, political, and military groups observe the day. In 2013, the Secretary-General of the United Nations dedicated the International Day of Peace to peace education. The aim was to minimize war and conflict by instilling the value of peace in students.
How International Day Came Into Existence?
In 1981, a declaration was made by United Nations General Assembly to set a date when peace will be commemorated. The aim was to have an International Day of Peace devoted in strengthening peace among people. The date was initially to coincide with the opening the yearly sittings of the UN General assembly. Nevertheless, in 2001, a new commemoration date was set for September 21 every year. The maiden celebration event was held on September 21, 1982. The main message was “right to peace by all people.”
Other Events That Shaped the Peace Day
In 1983 a culture of peace to bring a strong bond among organizations, projects, and people was initiated. The aim was to increase peace for the generations as announced by the UN Secretary-General to retain the original vision. In 1996 a debate at Seanad Éireann in Ireland proposed for the expansion of the International Day of Peace to include Reconciliation.
In 2001, Secretary-General Kofi Annan wrote a message in honor of the International Peace Day. It was during this occasion that amendments were made, moving the IDP from third Tuesday of September to September 21. The General Assembly declared the Peace Day as a global ceasefire and non-violence.
The Peace Bell
The United Peace Bell was made from coins that were donated by children around the world except Africa. The bell is rung to inaugurate the Peace Day at UN Headquarters in New York City. The sound of the ringing bell acts as a reminder of the high cost of war. The sides of the bell have words advocating peace. The words read “Long live absolute world peace” Kofi Annan rang the bell in 2006 when his term was ending. Ban Ki-moon also rang the bell in 2007 to ask for a 24- hour cessation of conflict.
Activities During The Peace Day
During on the Peace Day, people all over the world engage in activities aimed at promoting peace. Events include inter-religious peace ceremonies, the lighting of candles, choirs presenting peace songs, convoy of cars for peace, planting of trees or art exhibitions to spearhead peace among communities.
The 2017 International Peace Day Celebrations
The theme was “Together for peace: Respect, Safety, and dignity for all.” The organizers sought to promote global peace and coexistence. An organization is known as “The Peace Crane Project” embarked on collecting one thousand cranes from students across the globe. The Cranes were to be displayed worldwide in venues commemorating the peace anniversary.