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UN International Day of Peace Overview of Events

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The United Nations International Day of Peace — marked every year on September 21 — is a global holiday when individuals, communities, nations, and governments highlight efforts to end conflict and promote peace. Established by UN resolution in 1982,  the International Day of Peace has grown to include millions of people around the world who participate in all kinds of events, large and small.

The UPF and its partners engaged in numerous International Day of Peace 2008 programs. Here’s a representative sample from the Americas, with a fuller account on our website,


An olive tree symbolizing peace, victory, strength, and endurance was planted in the “Parque Patricios” district of Buenos Aires. Mrs. Maria Costa Pinto, the UN Information Centre Director for Argentina and Uruguay; Miguel Werner, Secretary General of UPF-Argentina; Mr. Horacio Daboul, the President of the Social and Cultural Arabic League Association participated in the celebration. A parade along Caseros Avenue concluded the day. Organizers included the Trade and Industry Chamber, the Huracan Athletic Club, the San Antonio Sociedad de Fomento, the Corrales Viejos Brotherhood, the Felix Bernasconi Institute, and the Memorial Forum.


Alencar Burti, President of the Federation of the Commercial Associations of Brazil, opened the celebration at the Pateo do Collegio in São Paulo. A Unesco representative read the peace message of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and the Human Rights City Commission Representative, José Gregory, read a message from the State Secretary of Justice and Defense of the Citizenship, Dr. Luiz Antônio Guimarães Marrey. Other speakers included representatives from civil society, businesses, and international associations. José Maria Chapina Alcazar and Silvia Maria Penha de Aquino were awarded the "Mark of Peace" trophy. Representatives various religions participated in a ceremony symbolizing interfaith cooperation for peace.

Dominican Republic

A thousand people filled the auditorium of the National University in the city of Higuey in honor of the International Day of Peace. The celebration had an ecumenical character. The Catholic bishop, Mons. Gregorio Nicanor Peña, spoke about peace as one of the “fruits of the spirit” mentioned in the Bible, and the president of the Association of Christian Churches of the province, Rev. José Benito Capois, offered the invocation. Senator Germán Castro García spoke about the need to uproot hate, resentment, and arrogance from one’s hears and replace them with forgiveness. Mrs. Clara Benedicto, head of international relations at the National University, spoke about the importance of true love and the role of women in building a culture of peace.


The International Day of Peace celebration attracted 1,400 participants, including the Chinese Ambassador to Ecuador, a representative of the Bolivian Ambassador to Ecuador, and the consuls of Bulgaria, Portugal, and Thailand. Catholic, Episcopal, Anglican, and Protestant religious leaders were present, along with political leaders, educators, NGO representatives, and the mass media. In addition, the civil defense and fire departments were mobilized.


Acting President Samuel Hinds unveiled a peace pole in Georgetown at the Non-Aligned Monument in with the words "May Peace Prevail on Earth" in English, Spanish, French, and Dutch. Prayers were offered by representatives of various religions. Also present at the ceremony were the Minister of Culture Youth and Sports, Dr. Frank Anthony; and the Mayor of Georgetown, Hon. Hamilton Green. The Scouts Association helped sponsor a peace march along Main Street on the theme "Work to overcome barriers, build understanding, and promote reconciliation." It ended at the bandstand of the Kingston Seawall, where peace poles from various parts of the country were erected.


The celebration in Tegucigalpa was attended by 210 political leaders, government officials, civic leaders, businessmen, trade union members, and leaders of both Catholic and Evangelical churches. The appeal to peace resonated with the people of Honduras, a small country with harmony among people of different races..


Seventy people attended a lecture on conflict resolution presented by a youth facilitator who works with UNICEF and the Dispute Resolution Foundation. The presenter made a great impression because of his practical experiences living and working in violent inner city communities. Rev. Maxine Martin from Unity offered a song of peace.


The International Day of Peace was celebrated in the former Senate Chamber in the historic Cabildo building in Asunción. Among the 120 people in attendance were officials from the ministries of Education, Culture, and the Environment as well as Ambassadors for Peace, lawyers and educators. The Peace Declaration was read, and a video was shown about the Global Peace Festival in Asunción in July.


Two hundred people from all walks of life came together in Lima to share their hopes and aspirations for peace. The program included music, dance, and a theatrical performance, an interfaith candle lighting ceremony, a minute of silence, and speeches by UPF-Peru president Arq. Luis Huarcaya, and indigenous leader Amautha Willakoq Tahuiro. Distinguished guests included Arq. Jose Rosas, President of the Ethics Committee of the Peruvian Architects Association; former Congressman Lic. Valdez; former Mayor of Jesus Maria, Lic. Paquito Izquierdo; and President of the Intercultural Society, Dra. Izaguirre. The religious community was represented by Evangelical Pastor Luis Acero, Pentecostal Pastor Orestes Sanchez, and Imam Khalil Muhammad.

St. Kitts & Nevis

The “Silver Jubilee Committee” and the Ambassadors for Peace and Empowerment held an all-night peace vigil at Warner Park in Basseterre. The program included the national anthem, a peace dance, reading a peace message, a minute of silent prayer, and release of 500 white balloons. More than 3,000 people came to hear music by bands and well-known singers. The OSIRIS theatrical group performing “Breaking the Chains for Peace.”

St. Lucia

A peace message by St. Lucia National Commission for UNESCO Coordinator, Mrs. Cynthia Joseph, was distributed to 11 primary and 18 secondary schools. It was read at the Friday morning general assembly in each school, followed by classroom discussions.


"Building a Culture of Peace" was the theme of the celebration at the Uruguay National Garden in Montevideo. The 80 participants included Dr. Hugo Pereira Fagúndez, President of Red Cross Uruguay; Col. Mariano Rodrigo, Head of Public Relations for Uruguay Air Force; and Cap. Bartolo Aguilar of the Uruguay Air Force.

United States

Celebrations in various states ranged from holding up signs at street corners in Anchorage, Alaska urging motorists to “honk for peace,” to taking a boat trip in the New York Harbor to pray for peace at landmarks including the Statue of Liberty and the United Nations Headquarters. In Monrovia, a suburb of Los Angeles, young people gathered in a local coffee shop to promote peace in a fun and creative way that engaged the whole community. Children of all ages made hundreds of pinwheels for display in the coffee house and to hand out to people on the sidewalk


More than 20 volunteers gathered for a service project at San Martin Orphanage in Caracas from September 19 to 21. The sports course was repaired, and walls were repaired and painted. The youngest orphans got involved right away; by the next morning, the adolescents joined in. On September 21, one minute of silence was observed, and some of the orphans and volunteers offered reflections about peace and teamwork.

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