UN Day of Peace 2012 Observed in 33 Nations
Written by UPF International
Friday, September 21, 2012
Inspired by the theme "Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future" for the 2012 observances of the UN International Day of Peace, UPF chapters in 33 nations organized programs ranging from academic forums to interreligious ceremonies to poetry contests. They engaged youth in promoting a culture of peace through service, sports, music, dance, crafts, and public information campaigns. For details about events in each nation, click here.
UPF chapters helped organize conferences in the houses of parliament of Norway, Peru, Scotland, and Sri Lanka (where the Youth Parliament devoted two days to issues of sustainable peace). Additional government venues for programs included city halls in Brazil and Ecuador. At the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Ambassadors for Peace distributed literature about the fundamental role of families in peacebuilding.
Some of the most passionate speakers came from conflict zones. H.E. Roman Kirn, Ambassador of Slovenia to the United States, recalled the genocide in the former Yugoslavia. He appealed to not only the audience in Washington DC but also the entire global community to "protect the people and save peace." At the program in Madrid, Professor Emilio Asti from the University of Milan in Italy called the Mediterranean zone with its remarkable migratory and cultural flows a "compendium of the great questions facing the world." He envisions a free circulation of people and ideas between the northern and southern shores enabling people of different religions and backgrounds to live in peace and prosperity centered on shared spiritual values.
One year ago on the International Day of Peace, a national Interreligious Peace Council was formed in Thailand. The council has been addressing issues of terrorism by Muslim separatists in the southern region of this predominately Buddhist nation. The vision is taking root elsewhere. For example, in Australia, this year's International Day of Peace observance focused on prospects for forming an interreligious peace council in this increasingly diverse nation.
Academic discussions took place at universities in Australia, the Dominican Republic, and Georgia. Additional forums were held in the Czech Republic, Latvia, Moldova, the United States, and Zambia. Hon. Jaroslav Doubrava, a member of the Czech Senate, emphasized the value of human life. “War is always a bad solution,” he said, lamenting that much more money is invested in destruction rather than on improving living conditions.
Speakers on the International Day of Peace also emphasized peace within. "We need to know what it is to feel inner peace," said Mrs. Rute Cardoso, a therapist in Sao Paulo, Brazil. "Inner peace is our inner light and our best company, the most important knowledge that we can acquire."
Recognizing that religious people and their insights can make an important contribution to peace, UPF organizers included interreligious prayers, ceremonies, and forums at events in Brazil, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, and Nigeria. As is traditional for the International Day of Peace, many programs encouraged a moment of silent reflection. Attention was drawn to noted people who had dedicated their lives to peace, such as UPF Founder Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, who had passed away on September 3.
To inspire young people with a vision of a world of peace and harmony, there were also classroom lessons, service projects, sports competitions, and cultural programs.
This year's focus on a sustainable future led to tree planting at a national park in Cambodia and Nepal as well as environmental clean-ups in Japan and Nepal. A Cambodian student, Kim Ratank, said, “Even though our contribution is small, it will be an encouragement for villagers.”
For organizers in Nepal, Russia, and Ukraine, the Day of Peace became an occasion to distribute food and gifts to the less fortunate. In Spain, the annual "Helping Your Neighbor" awards were presented to two community activists whose lives are devoted to service.
A culture of peace was promoted in a variety of other ways. For example, Football for Peace competitions brought together diverse groups of young people in Moscow and New Delhi. Students in Nepal competed in a speech contest on "Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future." The program in Tokyo featured stories by participants in an international service project in Nepal. One reported a memorable comment by an Afghan youth he had met there: “Peacebuilding begins when one can open his/her heart to digest others’ minds and embrace them.”
Music and dance helped create a harmonious atmosphere in places as diverse as Germany, the Dominican Republic, and the United States. Educational programs took place in schools in Estonia, Moldova, Ukraine, and many cities in Russia. Cards, doves, and messages of peace were distributed to the public in Israel and Russia. “We met people of different nationalities, faiths, and ages," reported Ksenya Kolpakova about UPF-Siberia's Give a Smile to the World Project. "Their smiles warmed our hearts."
The winners of an international poetry contest on the theme of "Words of Meeting and Universal Consciousness" were announced in Buenos Aires. In her prize-winning poem entitled "It is time now..." visionary Argentinian author Irma Droz invites people to "reach out to our friend to look each other in the eyes and offer our arms outstretched. It is time to lift our faces and see that dawn has finally arrived!"
If you find this page helpful and informative please consider making donation. Your donation will help Universal Peace Federation (UPF) provide new and improved reports, analysis and publications to you and everyone around the world.
UPF is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization and all donations are tax deductible in the United States. Receipts are automatically provided for donations of or above $250.00.
Donate to the Universal Peace Federation: Your donation to support the general programs of UPF.
Donate to the Religious Youth Service (RYS): Your donation will be used for service projects around the world.
Donate to UPF's Africa Projects: Your donation will be used for projects in Africa.
Larnaca, Cyprus—Syrian leaders, scholars and journalists attended a UPF conference on “Syria: Opening Lines of Communication and Soft Power Approaches to Peace.”
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina—Consensus and cooperation in the Balkan region were the focus of a conference held on December 15, 2016.
Washington, D.C., United States—More than 200 leaders from 54 nations attended an International Leadership Conference (ILC) which featured the launch of a parliamen- tarians’ peacebuilding association known as the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP).