International Day of Peace
The International Day of Peace is a United Nations day of observance which is celebrated every year on September 21st; the purpose of the day is to recognise the efforts of those who have worked to end conflict and promote peace worldwide. The first International Day of Peace took was in 1982, from this point it was held on the third Tuesday of September until 2002 when September 21st became the permanent date. As well as setting a fixed date the United Nations General Assembly declared that the day would be observed as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence. Over the years the day has grown to include millions of people with events organised across the globe to commemorate and celebrate this day.
The peace dove flying with an olive branch in its beak is a common symbol for the day. The white dove in Judaism, Christianity and Islam is generally seen as a sign of peace. The dove is often represented as still in slight to remind people of its role as messenger.
Last year the International Day of Peace saw an estimated 1.5 billion people worldwide exposed to Peace Day messages and 709 million people were aware, and of those aware, it is thought at least 13 million behaved more peacefully on that day. The Peace Day Challenge (established in 2015 to raise the profile of the International Day of Peace) reached 21 million people in 129 countries on social media, inspiring activities in 36 countries and engaging dozens of organisations to become involved with the International Day of Peace.
This year the day’s theme is “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace.” At the summit in New York in September 2015 193 member states of the UN unanimously adopted 17 development Goals. The 2030 agenda calls for countries to aim to achieve these goals over the next 15 years. It’s aims include bringing an end to poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity for all as well as many modern challenges of poverty including diminishing natural resources, social inequality, racism and xenophobia, among others, which pose challenges for peace and create fertile grounds for conflict. Each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is a building block in the global architecture of peace.
To celebrate the International Day of Peace the Peace Museum will be holding peace related activities for visitors. The museum will be open on Wednesday 21st September from 10.00am – 4.00pm. Admission is FREE! The museum is also open every Thursday and Friday from 10:00am – 4:00pm.
Written by Philippa Hadwen. Philippa is a student and has joined The Peace Museum over the summer as a volunteer.