The world will try to give peace a chance on the International Day of Peace this year.
Established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1981, the September 21 holiday asks millions of people around the world to participate in activities, events, concerts and festivals to celebrate the day. A moment of silence will be held at noon in every time zone.
This peace day is an opportunity for individuals, organizations and nations to create acts of peace together on the same day. Given how much unrest and violence is in the world, this day is an attempt to put aside hatred in exchange for peace.
A UN resolution established the International Day of Peace in 1981 to coincide with the opening of the UN General Assembly. The first Peace Day was celebrated in 1982 and was held on the third Tuesday of September each year until 2002, when September 21 became the permanent date for the International Day of Peace. By setting a fixed date for the International Day of Peace, the assembly declared that the day should be observed as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence.
By creating the International Day of Peace, the UN devoted itself to worldwide peace and encouraged people to work in cooperation for this goal. Since its inception, Peace Day has marked personal and planetary progress toward peace. It has grown to include millions of people worldwide and many events are organized each year to commemorate and celebrate this day.
As of last year, around 470 million people in 200 countries were aware of peace day. Around four to eight million people actively behaved more peacefully in their own lives on peace day.
The holiday has been a driving force for peace efforts with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon making last years peace day dedicated towards efforts to refocus minds and financing on the preeminence of peace education as the means to bring about culture of peace.
Peace day has also resulted in the immunization against polio of 4.5 million children in areas hitherto unreachable or hard to reach in the 2007 Afghanistan conflict. This polio drive has been a joint effort by the Afghan health authorities, World Health Organization, the United Nations Children’s Fund and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Anyone can celebrate the day. It can be as easy as lighting a candle at noon, sitting in silence or doing a good deed. You can try to organize your co-workers or local communities to become more involved with the day. This year’s theme is “Rights of Peoples to Peace.”
The International Day of Peace is a growing holiday with more and more supporters backing it every year. With any luck, this holiday will lead to full-fledged world peace even if it’s just for a day.