Day of Peace Observed with Educational Programs in Georgia

Tbilisi, Georgia - UPF-Georgia and its partners took part in the celebration of the International Day of Peace with educational programs and tree planting at two schools, a training program in principles of peace, and publicizing the the International Day of Peace by distributing cards to the public. Since the main theme of the event this year was "Education for Peace," in the framework of the planned activities, it was decided to carry out educational peacemaking activities with adolescents. Since any war in the family, school, country, or the world begins in the minds of people, to prevent conflicts and wars requires developing and implementing values-driven educational programs based on the principles of tolerance and a culture of peace.

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Activities at School #136

On September 19, the 9th and 10th-grade students of secondary school #136 attended lessons on kindness and peace. They listened to the song "Let there always be sunshine," wished each other goodness and harmony, and discussed the official name of the Day of Peace (The Day of Global Ceasefire and Non-violence). The participants listened to the message of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Being informed about the history of the peace symbols, the participants started creating their own message to the peoples of the planet: “For future generations to live in peace and harmony, we need to try our best and restore peace between the nations... We know that the UN is trying to solve the problem of wars and conflicts, and we are happy to invest in the UN projects and activities against wars and violence... All the families that lost their beloved in wars need our help. Together, we will build a peaceful world..."

Then the participants proceeded to discuss ways the people can live in peace and harmony with others, following the ideals of a culture of peace. The students came to understand that peace is a prerequisite for a happy life on our planet, that they are all citizens of Georgia, and that the future of their Motherland depends on them. At the end of the lesson, each received an assignment card related to the Day of Peace and instructions to write words of love and good wishes on the card for their family and friends.

On September 20, the first-graders of school №136 also participated in planting trees. Peace education is vital for developing global civic responsibility and establishing a peaceful society. It should cultivate respect for others and the world in which we live. By planting trees, children and their parents contributed to a culture of peace and showed that they care for their school, their street, city, and the whole planet.

To begin, participants commemorated the victims of conflicts by observing a Minute of Silence, and then they listened to the message of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and talked about the role of trees in nature in the human life. It has traditionally been considered that one has fulfilled his or her life purpose on the Earth when he or she has built a house, planted a tree, and raised a son. Most of the participants participated in planting trees for the first time and they joyfully carried out their work for the benefit of our planet, of which we are a part. Afterwards, the participants held hands and wished the young trees long life, and each of them made a wish.

Teachers said it was the best gift that the first-graders could have received on the Day of Peace. By planting trees, children and parents disseminated seeds of peace and hope. They promised they would always love nature and take care of it.

Activities with Disabled Children

A celebration for disabled children was organized at an educational center on September 20. In an accessible form, clowns explained to the children the meaning of the word “peace” and the meaning of the UN Day of Peace. Together with the teachers, the participants embarked on an imaginary journey to a fantastic peaceful country, where in games, dances, and creative works they learned to live together in love and mutual respect. The children enjoyed Armenian dances performed by the dance ensemble under direction of Vines Kashavanidze. Together with Dalila Goroshidze, Chairperson of the “Future Stars” Foundation, the participants learned a merry song about peace.

The event ended with planting trees in the central city park. The organizers expressed their desire for the children to grow together with the trees and become strong, kind, and beautiful.

Training in Principles of Peacemaking

On September 21, a discussion program on “Principles of peacemaking by based on the example of the lives of great people” was held at the office of the organization “Georgia in Support of Refugees.” The program was attended by Ambassadors for Peace, NGO members, and youth activists. Youth Ambassador for Peace George Tumasyan gave a presentation about the importance of the International Day of Peace and explained the practical value of the UN peacemakers’ mission. He gave examples of the solved conflicts on the Aland Islands (between Finland and Sweden), and in Alsace and Lorraine (between France and Germany). He shared the main principles of peacemakers using the example of such great people and Nobel Peace Prize Laureates as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Eisaku Sato, Mohamed El-Baradei, Kim Dae-jung, Kofi Annan, Mahatma Gandhi, and Mother Teresa. Finally, he cited the verse from the gospel of Matthew in the Bible: ”Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God,” emphasizing that the most important title in this world is that of son and daughter of our Heavenly Parent.

The Chair of UPF-Georgia, Vitaly Maximov, shared about the life of the UPF founder Dr. Sun Myung Moon. People remember Dr. Moon as someone who dedicated his entire life to the cause of world peace and who desired to see all mankind live harmoniously as the one global family. Dr. Moon lived a full, successful life, and people inspired by him are carrying on his work.

Afterwards, everyone attended a lesson about conflict resolution. One of the main lessons learned was awareness that creative thinking is one of the basic skills of a peacemaker: the more options to resolve a conflict one can propose, the less likely violence will erupt.

Public Information Campaign

Convinced about the importance of informing people about the International Day of Peace, after the training sessions and a tea break, the participants of the program went out to promote a public information campaign. They explained to passers-by about the Day of Peace, handing them cards and inviting them to write words of love and good wishes for their relatives and friends on the occasion. These efforts brought a lot of inspiration and joy, both to the organizers and the local population.

See photos of observances in other nations of the International Day of Peace 2013.

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