Did you know that 21 September 2016 is the International Day of Peace? The United Nations has observed this holiday since 1982. I daresay we need it now more than ever. Here’s how people are marking the occasion, and how you can join in.
How the UN Celebrates International Day of Peace
The UN celebrates World Peace Day by ringing the Peace Bell at its New York headquarters. The Peace Bell is a bell made up of melted-down coins that were donated from around the world, from every contintent except Africa. It was given to the United Nations as a gift from Japan in 1954. Japanese characters on its side spell out Long live absolute world peace 世界絶対平和萬歳.
Also, each year’s World Peace Day celebrations have a theme. The activities for the year are centered around the theme. For 2016, the focus is on achieving peace through the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. According to the UN’s Peace Day website:
Sustainability addresses the fundamental needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Modern challenges of poverty, hunger, diminishing natural resources, water scarcity, social inequality, environmental degradation, diseases, corruption, racism and xenophobia, among others, pose challenges for peace and create fertile grounds for conflict. Sustainable development contributes decisively to dissipation and elimination of these causes of conflict and provides the foundation for a lasting peace. Peace, meanwhile, reinforces the conditions for sustainable development and liberates the resources needed for societies to develop and prosper.
Meanwhile, according to UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon:
“The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are our shared vision of humanity and a social contract between the world’s leaders and the people. They are a to-do list for people and planet, and a blueprint for success.”