September 21st is the International Day of Peace. Observed each year, it is a global call for ceasefire and non-violence.The day provides an opportunity for individuals, organizations and nations to create practical acts of peace on a shared date. It was established by the UN General Assembly in 1981 for “commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace within and among all nations and people.” The first Peace Day was celebrated in September 1982. In 2002 the General Assembly officially declared September 21 as the permanent date for the International Day of Peace.
To begin the day, the “Peace Bell” is rung at UN Headquarters. The bell is cast from coins donated by children from all continents. It was given as a gift by the Diet (legislature) of Japan, and is referred to as “a reminder of the human cost of war.” The inscription on its side reads: “Long live absolute world peace.”
This year the Secretary-General is calling on governments and citizens to focus on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Everyone can take action by signing a Declaration to support the Secretary-General’s drive to rid the world of nuclear weapons, and by submitting their own reasons why We Must Disarm.
Symbols and representations of war and peace have been created throughout history in every genre of art. Before the 17th century, war was typically depicted in art as an admirable achievement – leaders on their horses celebrated their victories as heroes fighting off evil enemies. It was not until the mid 17th century that artists began displaying war in a more self-conscious way that was observant of its horrors and sympathetic to its civilian victims.
Well known images of peace include the dove and olive branch, the peace sign ☮ made popular in the 1960’s, the v-sign hand gesture, the rainbow peace flag, the Japanese peace crane, and many others.
Thousands of cities take part in The International Day of Peace. Events vary from private gatherings to public activities involving large groups. From parades, festivals, concerts, candle lighting, tree planting, art exhibitions, peace walks, to small gatherings in private homes, peace-oriented groups and individuals are thinking globally and acting locally to spread awareness about the need for peace.
For more information and to find International Day of Peace events happening in your city, visit the official website.
(Note: at the time of this posting, this website was experiencing difficulties most likely due to heavy traffic. If you have trouble connecting, please try again later).
“World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just the absence of violence. Peace is the manifestation of human compassion.”
The Dalai Lama