International Day of Peace

September 19, 2014 Jason Allen
International Day of Peace.

International Day of Peace. Photo by S Loftesness

Wherever you may be this year on September 21, remember that it’s the International Day of Peace; a day to reflect on how much peace and conflict are part of your life. The International Day of Peace, or Peace Day, was established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly to officially recognize that every person has the inherent right to live in peaceful conditions, and in the absolute absence of war and violence.

For over 30 years, Peace Day has seen its awareness increase hugely, and has now become an official date on which to appeal to countries involved in conflict to observe a time of ceasefire. To inaugurate the day every year, the United Nations Peace Bell is rung at UN Headquarters in New York. The bell is cast from coins donated by children all over the world, and was a gift from the United Nations Association of Japan, as a reminder of the human cost of war.

united nations peace bell

The United Nations Peace Bell. Photo by United Nations Photo.

That’s how the UN and government bodies observe Peace Day, but peace is really about what’s inside of each of us, too. Peace is not just political, but personal. Around the world, people of all ages will observe the International Day of Peace in a number of ways. Some will gather for public concerts and peace ceremonies. Schoolchildren with come together in assemblies to talk about what peace means to them. And in many places, people will fold pieces of paper into origami peace cranes. (Learn to make your own peace crane here.)

many colours of paper cranes

We find the colours of these paper cranes inspiring. Photo by M Holding.

Our question for you: How will you observe Peace Day this September 21? Will you join millions around the world who will observe a minute of silence at noon in their respective time zones? Will you try to reconcile some conflict you have in your own life? What will you commit to in order to promote peace in your life and in the lives of those you love? Join our conversation using the hashtag #peaceday and let us know.

Wherever you’ll be on September 21, we hope you find peace there.

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