The International Day of Peace has been occurring every year in September since 1981 and celebrates the building of a peaceful and sustainable world. Countries across the globe gather within communities to both reflect on past achievements and come up with what further progress they can accomplish. Here are five important facts about this International Day.
5 Facts About The International Day of Peace
- A Celebration of Peace. According to The UN General Assembly, International Peace Day is “a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24-hours of non-violence and cease-fire.” Established in 1981, The International Day of Peace celebrated its 29th anniversary on September 21, 2020. Peace-related issues were on the agenda to discuss and practice throughout the day, with education and public-awareness being top priorities. The United Nations designates International Days to educate, mobilize and celebrate humanity’s achievements throughout the years. Chosen by the General Assembly, International Days are to align with the main goals of the United Nations that focus on peace, sustainability and humanitarianism.
- The Effects of COVID-19. Alpena Peace Coalitions 30 Days of Peace, also known as International Peace Day, usually occurs in September and October of each year but did not happen in 2020 due to health and safety concerns regarding COVID-19. These implications make it just as, if not much more, important to strive towards and celebrate peace during challenging times. Global communities observe this day differently. Whether it is organizing peace workshops, engaging in food festivities, putting up ‘peace poles’ or engaging in peace activities, the overall goal is to bring people together despite the differences they may have.
- The Symbolism of the Dove. The First International Peace Conference occurred in Paris in 1949, and it used Pablo Picasso’s ‘Dove of Peace’ as its emblem. Since then, people have known the dove as the most recognizable symbol of peace. Greek mythology and Biblical renderings also use the symbol of the dove, usually with an olive branch, to signify renewal and tranquility.
- New Communities’ Interaction this Year. Save the Children Philippines joined 2020’s International Day of Peace with the goal to end discrimination against children. Armed conflicts, natural disasters and the continued COVID-19 pandemic have placed children in vulnerable conditions that people often overlook. Save the Children Philippines is launching the Restoring Lives and Learning in Marawi project, which “aims to provide livelihood and emergency employment to displaced families during the Marawi Siege in 2017 and ensure continued learning of their children.” It will also establish new community projects and provide short-term employment for working-age men and women.
- The Significance of 2020’s Theme. The year 2020’s theme of “Shaping Peace Together,” is especially significant in the face of a global pandemic. In a time of division and outbreak, it is so important to come together as a community to advocate for change and peace. The poorest parts of the world have experienced the worst outcomes of this pandemic, increasing violence and forced migration. A statement that the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, released highlighted the progress that the world has made as well as what still requires accomplishing. He also pointed out the need for the world to work together as a “global community” towards fighting extremities that this pandemic continues to cause. Tackling not one, but multiple inequalities that that world faces as a global community requires the help of all citizens.
It is important to keep in mind that the main components that led the world to establish the International Day of Peace are ones to hold on to. Especially during a global pandemic, the power of coming together is so much greater than simply just standing back and waiting for the good to arrive. People have the means to help out the underdogs and this day is a reminder to do just that.
– Natalie Whitmeyer