“It is not enough to teach children how to read, write and count. Education has to cultivate mutual respect for others and the world in which we live, and help people forge more just, inclusive and peaceful societies.” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The International Day of Peace offers an opportunity for the world to pause, reflect and consider how best to break the vicious cycle of violence that conflict creates. People are called upon – whether governments, parties to conflicts, religious institutions, community leaders, the media, academics, or civil society groups – to play their part. One way to observe the day is to hold or participate in a 24-hour spiritual vigil, “to encourage worldwide observations for peace and nonviolence in every house of worship and place of spiritual practice, by all religious and spiritually based groups and individuals, and by all men, women and children who seek peace in the world.”
Peace Day should be devoted to “commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples…This day will serve as a reminder to all peoples that the UN, with all its limitations, is a living instrument in the service of peace and should serve all of us here within the organization as a constantly pealing bell reminding us that our permanent commitment, above all interests or differences of any kind, is to peace.”
Anyone anywhere can celebrate Peace Day. It can be as simple as lighting a candle at noon, sitting in silent meditation or doing a good deed for someone you do not know. Or it can involve getting your co-workers, organization, community or government engaged in a large event. The impact of millions of people in all parts of the world, coming together for one day of peace is immense, and does make a difference.