2017 International Peace Day– Today marks the 35th celebration of the International Day of Peace. It was first celebrated in 1982.
Also known as the World Peace Day, it is an annual holiday observed every 21 September. It is dedicated to world peace.
The occasion comes in handy at a time when every part of the world seems to be going up in flames and churning out millions of refugees.
In 2013 the celebration was dedicated by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to peace education. Ban Ki Moon saw it as an important way to reduce war sustainably.
The 2017 International Peace Day has the theme: Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All. The theme was influenced by the TOGETHER initiative.
TOGETHER is a United Nation’s initiative that promotes respect safety and dignity for refugees and migrants. It was launched during the United Nations Summit for Refugees and Migrants on 19 September 2016, with the aim of countering xenophobia and discrimination.
The TOGETHER campaign is a partnership between UN member states, private sectors, civil societies and individuals who are committed to improving refugee conditions and mediating in migration crisis.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in his video message urged all to be more accommodating of one another regardless of religion, ethnicity, race or whatever divisions it may seem to be.
“In times of insecurity, communities that look different become convenient scapegoats.”
“We must resist cynical efforts to divide communities and portray neighbors as ‘the other’”.
“Discrimination diminishes us all. It prevents people – and societies – from achieving their full potential.”
“Together, let us stand up against bigotry and for human rights. Together, let us build bridges. Together, let us transform fear into hope.”
The TOGETHER initiative is observed by many nations, political groups, military groups, and people.
For this year’s peace anniversary, UN hopes to mobilize people all over the world to show support for refugees and migrants. Also the Peace Crane Project announced the goal of collecting 1,000 cranes from students around the world to display in various venues to celebrate.
Since the celebration was significantly assigned to a date that falls within the UN General Assembly, the first step of the aim of unifying all peoples is guaranteed. However what will make the most impact is if these nations, organizations and individuals will help to bring the gospel of peace to life.
According to the United Nations,
“The Day will highlight solidarity with refugees and migrants and showcase the shared benefits of migration to economies and nations, while also acknowledging legitimate concerns of host communities. Ultimately, it will be about bringing people together and reminding them of their common humanity.”