International Day of Peace is on September 21. The 2017 theme is Together for Peace, Safety, Respect & Dignity For All. For information about 2017 events, check here and the UN Peace Day Facebook page. For more information check the Facebook page for Peace One Day as well as their websites and the other links below.
On September 7, 2001, the United Nations unanimously adopted a fixed date, September 21, for International Day of Peace (originally sponsored by the United Kingdom and Costa Rica for the third Tuesday of the month of September.) The U.N. also defined International Day of Peace as a day of ceasefire and non-violence. These proposals were introduced by U.N. members from Costa Rica and the United Kingdom after two years of international lobbying by Jeremy Gilley, the founder of Peace One Day, and his team.
Four days later, on September 11 International Day of Peace for 2001, Kofi Annan, the then Secretary-General of the U.N., was scheduled to make the announcement at a press conference at the Peace Bell outside U.N. headquarters. The Peace Bell has been rung every International Day of Peace since 1982. The bell was cast from coins and medals donated by the representatives of U.N. member States and children from over 60 different nations. It was given as a gift by the United Nations Association of Japan in June 1954, and is referred to as “a reminder of the human cost of war.”
The inscription on its side reads: “Long live absolute world peace.”
As the gathering waited for the Secretary-General to arrive, the nearby World Trade Towers were attacked. The bell was not rung that day and the press conference and the announcement of an annual day of international ceasefire did not happen, but International Day of Peace and the mission for Gilley’s Peace One Day has continued, growing year by year.
What can one day of peace do? A ceasefire allows organizations to move supplies and to give vaccines to people in conflict areas. 1.6 million children in Afghanistan were vaccinated against polio after the Taliban and the government agreed to a ceasefire on September 21, 2007.
International Day of Peace encompasses everything from laying down arms to reducing violence in homes, communities and schools. In 1994, Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali said at the 40th anniversary of the Peace Bell , “Peace is precious. It is not enough to yearn for peace. Peace requires work — long, hard, difficult work.”
The goal of Peace One Day now is to make 3 billion people aware of the International Day of Peace by 2016.
book by Margi Preus, ills. by Hideko Takahashi The Peace Bell