The International Day of Peace
is on September 21st of each year and calls for a full day of peace and ceasefire throughout the world.
In this event, the "Peace Bell" is rung at UN Headquarters. The bell is cast from coins donated by children on all continents, and considered a symbol of global solidarity. It was given as a gift by Japan, and is referred to as "a reminder of the human cost of war." The inscription on its side reads: "Long live absolute world peace."
Observance of the annual International Day of Peace is widespread across the globe. Celebrations now take place in every country. View 2008 Events below.
The United Nations General Assembly
declared, in a resolution sponsored by Costa Rica
, the third Tuesday of September (the opening day of regular sessions of the General Assembly) as the International Day of Peace devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace.
A new resolution was passed by the General Assembly, sponsored by the United Kingdom
(giving credit to Peace One Day
) and Costa Rica
(the sponsors of the original day) to give the Day of Peace a fixed date and declare it as a global ceasefire day.
In 2005, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan
called for the worldwide observance of a 24-hour cease-fire
and day of nonviolence
to mark the Day.
In 2006, then Secretary-General Kofi Annan rang the Peace Bell for the last time during his term in office. That year the UN asserted the "many ways it works for peace and to encourage individuals, groups and communities around the world to contemplate and communicate thoughts and activities on how to achieve peace.
The United Kingdom held the primary public and official observation of the United Nations International Day of Peace and Non-Violence in Rochdale, Greater Manchester."
In 2007, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
rang the Peace Bell at United Nations Headquarters
in New York calling for a 24-hour cessation of hostilities on 21 September, and for a minute of silence to be observed around the world.
There are thousands of Global Peace Day events each year. Events include Peace Day Comedy in 55 Comedy Clubs, Music concerts, Prayer Vigils, Jane Goodall's Giant Peace Dove flying in over 60 cities, school activities, UN CyberSchoolBus lessons, Pinwheels for Peace and in some cases the military putting down their weapons for the day! Search "Peace Day" for more information. Peace Day events are encouraged by the United Nations' Peace Outreach Program and are held on Peace Day September 21st (and also on the days leading up to Peace Day such as Sept 19th and Sept. 20th this year).
Note for the UK: There are hundreds of Peace Day Events in 2008 including the one listed below. For instance, Annie Lennox, Bryan Adams, John Legend are performing in Royal Albert Hall. Peace Day Comedy is in over 20 Comedy Clubs. Search "Peace Day" for more information.
2008 is also the 50th anniversary of the Peace Sign.
In 2008, The UK's third and only official and public observation of the United Nations International Day of Peace and Non-Violence will be held in Rochdale, UK. There will be an annual Peace Parade followed by several events including, a Truce International & FC UNity Football Tournament, a Peace Poem Competition, a Bake A Cake for Peace Competition and Conflict Resolution Workshops led by Foundation for Peace - the organisation founded by Colin Parry OBE (father of Tim parry who was killed in the Warrington IRA explosion in 1993). A Peace Tree will be planted and a Peace Flag raised over the Town Hall. The day's actvities have cross-party support and involve a partnership of Truce International, FC Unity and Foundation for Peace led by Peace Parade UK with the support of Rochdale cultural services organisation Link4Life, and Rochdale & District Citizens Advice Bureau.
Recently an Early Day Motion was put forward in the House of Commons recognising the efforts of Peace Parade UK and called on the British Government to formally adopt September 21st as the U.N. International Day of Peace and Non-Violence.
A diplomatic stir occurred in 2004 when Lions Club International
sponsored a contest to select a set of posters to be used for commemorative stamps issued by the United Nations. A poster by 13 year-old Taiwanese junior high school student Yang Chih-yuan
was announced as one of the winners. However, it was later announced Yang's poster would not be used. Taiwan media reports, Taiwan Lions Club and the government of Taiwan claimed the decision not to use the poster resulted from pressure from China
. The government of Taiwan
later issued a stamp containing the image. Critics claimed that the rejection of the student's painting on purely political grounds did not reflect the ideals of the International Day of Peace, while the UN issued a statement that "due to an internal misunderstanding and miscommunication, Mr. Yang's proof got publicized in error as one of the six stamps intended to be issued."