by Paul Arnote (parnote)
Take a look around at the world we live in today. Anyone who has read recent news headlines, or who has watched the evening news, will be acutely aware of the tumultuous times that we live in. There hardly seems to be a corner of the world that hasn't been shaken by the strife and turmoil that shatters the peace of our modern world.
At a time when we seemingly need it more than ever, on September 21, the world will celebrate International Peace Day. At Noon in every time zone, a moment of silence will be observed, creating a "wave" of awareness for peace across the globe.
Started in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly, "Peace Day" was formed to give individuals, organizations and nations a way to create practical acts of peace on a shared day. Pathways To Peace, working with the UN, held the first International Peace Day in 1984, in San Francisco. It included a "Minute of Silence Moment of Peace, "where cash registers stopped, the televisions went silent, and the global "Peace Wave," which drove home the movement's message of peace to a global audience.
More than a global peace, International Peace Day also focuses on personal peace. It encourages individuals to find peace within themselves, and in their relationships with others.
Pathways To Peace focuses a lot of attention on education. Specifically, they focus on "peace education, which they define as education that specifically promotes respect, empathy, mutual understanding, and conflict management skills. They promote peace education at every grade level, with the hope of raising an entire generation committed to a culture of peace.
"Let us pledge to teach our children the value of tolerance and mutual respect. Let us invest in the schools and teachers that will build a fair and inclusive world that embraces diversity. Let us fight for peace and defend it with all our might," says UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Created by Pathways To Peace just last year (2013), the Peace Education Resource Center was developed in close cooperation with the IDP-NGO Committee at the United Nations, the National Peace Academy USA and Circle of Peace/CCS Montreal. The goal of PERC is to work with partners and NGOs around the world to gather peace education materials and make them available to teachers at every grade level through a single website.
The 7.2 billion residents of this planet must find a way to overcome and resolve their hostilities and differences with one another. We all have nowhere else to go, so we all must learn to share the one home we have. The International Peace Day is a great way to foster peace, not only on a global scale between all nations and all people, but also on an individual level. Working together, and embracing tolerance and understanding, we can find peace in our own lives and relationships. From there, we can only hope that it will spread like a wildfire, until the entire world embraces peace.
We need it now, perhaps more than ever.