International Day of Peace Commemorated in 67 Nations

Overview of activities organized by UPF chapters in 67 nations on the International Day of Peace 2011.


UPF Chapters in 16 African nations conducted Day of Peace programs in 2011, the highest tally to date. Some of the highlights of several days of conferences, service programs, festivals, and seminars—
Cotonou, Benin: A week of conferences and discussions on the theme "Peace and Democracy: Let Your Voice be Heard," culminating in an interfaith choir performance and awards ceremony.
Nangreongo, Burkina Faso: The Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, the Hon Jean Koulidiaty, served as patron for a large tree-planting festival attended by 1500 people.
Yaounde and Buea, Cameroon: Members of Parliament, journalists, students, and representatives of the Baha'i community joined UPF coordinators Mrs. Lau Asong, Rose Chi, and John Tazifor in local celebrations.
Bangui, Bimbo and Gababaja, Central African Republic: A series of peace conferences for youth, university students and NGO leaders and the launch of a fish-farming project, coordinated by Ralph Oppenheimer.
Brazzaville, Congo: Four hundred people attended a program at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; messages were read by UNAIDS representative Mr. Traore and UPF's Zodji Augustin. Meanwhile, a delegation from UPF-Congo visited the UN and UPF headquarters during the opening of the 66th General Assembly.
Accra, Ghana: A two-day peace seminar led by UPF-Ghana's Helen Osei included a visit to bring gifts of food, clothing, and toys to the Hope Children's Orphanage in Gomoa Fetteh in Central Ghana.
Nairobi, Kenya: Mohammed M. Mwinypembe, Secretary General of the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO, was the keynote speaker at a joint celebration of the International Day of Peace and the Muslim holiday Eid ul-Fitr. Dr. Markandey Rai, Chief of Global Parliamentarians, UN Habitat, read the 2011 message by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Harper, Liberia: Gerald B. Coleman, UPF-Liberia and Dean of Engineering & Technology at Tubman University, led a tree-planting ceremony celebrating the nation's return to peace after a decade of conflict. A few days later the country's President, Ellen Sirleaf, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Quatre-Bornes, Mauritius: Children's dances, creole songs and Hindu lamp ceremonies brought a festive spirit to a program in partnership with Brahma Kumaris and the Women's Federation for World Peace.
Kigali, Rwanda: Planting of a "peace pole" and other ceremonies at the New Hope Technical Institute, with prayers for peace led by United Baptist Bishop Faustin Bashaka.
Casamance, Senegal: A commemoration of the Day of Peace included a call for peace on the theme "Let's unite in heart."
Victoria, Seychelles: A program at the National Theater on the theme of community building featured the chair of the national NGO committee, a bishop, and the Seychelles' founding president, Sir James Mancham.
Freetown, Sierra Leone: UPF volunteers conducted a transformational cleanup at the Connaught Teaching Hospital, built in 1912 but facing hard times as it nears its centennial. Christian, Muslim, and other youth were thanked by Hospital Manager Mr. Foday Musa for giving a practical demonstration of interfaith unity in action. The program, which was covered on SLBC-TV, will be extended to other government-owned hospitals in the capital.
Lome and Kara, Togo: Over 500 Ambassadors for Peace attended two conferences on the theme "Leadership and good governance for peace and democracy."


Argentina: 173 poetry submissions were made for the International Day of Peace Poetry contest. The winning poem was "Utopia" by Teresa Gatti from Villa Angela in Argentina.
Barbados: A series of educational and spiritual seminars, tree planting at the A. Da Costa Edwards Primary School, and a discussion on domestic violence at the Ministry of Education.
Brazil: UPF joined the Commercial Association of Sao Paulo and others for the Commemoration of a Peace Monument dedicated to children. The founder of the project, Luigi Brancati who had lived through World War II as a child, wished the monument to be a reminder for us to promote peace.
Colombia: Three programs in Bogota organized by Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders calling for interreligious cooperation in order to solve problems in society, with a joint declaration for Rosh Hashanah 5772.
Dominican Republic: A commemoration of the International Day of Peace on September 21 in Barahona.
Ecuador: A minute of silence was observed at the Hall of the National Union of Journalists followed by a reading of the message of Lucia Satamea-Palacios, director of UN Women in Colombia and Ecuador and greetings from several congressmen and international diplomats.
Guyana: Prime Minister Samuel Hinds spoke on the UN's theme for this year, "Make Your Voice Heard: Peace and Democracy," with interfaith prayers and children's dances.
Honduras: A meeting in Tegucigalpa.
Mexico: Hundreds of schoolchildren and university students joined an exuberant program at the Universidad Panamericana in a program in partnership with the NGO Vivir en Paz.
Nicaragua: A program at the Martin Luther King Evangelical Nicaraguan University with addresses from Dr. Ramiro Cortez, Rector, and former Minister of the Family Lic. Ivania Toruno.
Paraguay: Dr. Felipe Samaniego (Member of the Senate) and Maria Gonzalez Baez (Secretary of Women, Presidency of the Republic); academics, lawyers, and directors of colleges were among the guests at a seminar on the Principles of Democracy for Peace and Good Governance.
Peru: A meeting in the Peruvian Congress organized by Pastor Dr. Orestes Sanchez, UPF Co-chair, was opened by Dr. Daniel Abugattas Majluf, President of the Congress, with other congressmen from all parties attending. Representatives of the major religions offered prayers and lit candles for peace. Mrs. Rebeca Arias, UN Resident Coordinator and the Resident Representative of the UN Development Programme, was a keynotespeaker. University students and high school students were among the guests.
Uruguay: An interreligious peace summit featured Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Buddhist and other faith leaders in a program addressed by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Uruguayan Board for Interreligious Dialogue.
Venezuela: Hundreds of youth and their families from a wide array of partner organizations joined a peace walk in Caracas, and a clean up of the Plaza Fermin Toro.


Interfaith cooperation for peace was a common theme in many International Day of Peace events in Asia as speakers called for a moral and spiritual awakening to accompany the welcome rise of democratic processes throughout the world.

In Nepal, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, and Christian leaders joined in prayers for peace at an event attended by leaders of the country’s diverse political factions. In Indonesia, a conference at a university emphasized the multi-ethnic character of the nation. “Diversity does not always mean disengagement and disharmony, but it induces a more colorful and dynamic picture of reality," one speaker stated; in addition to Muslim speakers, panelists included Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian representatives. Speakers at a Taiwan symposium examined UPF’s proposal for an interreligious council at the United Nations.
On the International Day of Peace in Bangkok, Thailand, the national Interreligious Peace Council was inaugurated, based on the foundation of many months of consultation with religious officials and government ministries. Representatives of several religions poured water into a common bowl, representing their common commitment to promote mutual understanding, respect, and cooperation.
Other activities were designed to promote a culture of peace especially among the youth. Students in New Delhi, India, competed in an inter-collegiate “Play Football Make Peace” tournament and debated the relevance of non-violence as a strategy for promoting lasting peace.  

Cambodian youth listened to a presentation on the principles of conflict resolution and then visited the Tuol Sleng Museum, where they viewed displays and offered prayers for those who lost their lives. Thai youth created video clips on the theme of peace and submitted them to a national contest; prizes were awarded on the National Day of Peace.

UPF-Sri Lanka organized a character education conference at a university.

Traditional music and poetry about peace comforted the hearts of Afghanis young and old as they gathered to express their longing for a lasting peace.
International Day of Peace celebrations offered opportunities to connect with diplomats. The conference at the Syarif Hidayatullah Islamic State University in Jakarta, Indonesia, was attended by representatives of seven embassies. The Ambassador of Afghanistan to Japan described his country's hopes for peace at a seminar in Tokyo.


Since peace education is a key element of UPF’s work in Eurasia, many International Day of Peace programs took place in schools and universities. In Russia, young UPF volunteers taught classes about conflict resolution and peacemaking in schools. Art, music, poetry, and crafts helped bring to life the UN’s message for the International Day of Peace, and innovative activities included students in Sverdlovsk building a “wall of peace” and students in Volgograd creating multimedia presentations in English and French and lining a boulevard with drawings of peace. High school students in Estonia were encouraged to think of themselves as peacemakers, and programs at universities in Moldova encouraged students to volunteer to help make their communities more peaceful and harmonious.
Other Day of Peace activities addressed the legacies of conflict. In Belarus, conference speakers examined the history of destroyed villages, and a ceremony at the Memorial to the Anti-Fascist Coalition in Moscow included speeches and laying wreaths in memory of the honored dead. Activities in Georgia assisted the children of internally displaced families. The Peace Embassy in Latvia hosted an informal gathering of families.
Forums in Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, and Novosibirsk, Russia brought together academics, NGO representatives, and religious leaders to promote cooperation and coordination of efforts of different organizations in creating a culture of peace; in Chelyabinsk, participants addressed strategies for reducing litter and alcohol abuse. Women’s groups in Moscow, Perm, and Yekaterinburg visited orphanages, rehabilitation centers, and programs for immigrant children, bring gifts and activities to uplift their spirits.
The “Run Hour” events raised public awareness of the International Day of Peace as youth and families distributed fliers to people in the parks and boulevards of Moscow, Nizhnevartovsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Rostov on the Don River, Vladivostok, and Yekaterinburg. In addition to spreading the ideals of peace, these activities promote a healthy and moral lifestyle, family values, and cooperation.

Melbourne, Australia: The UPF celebration began with a traditional aboriginal welcome, followed by a discussion of the historical decision of the UN General Assembly to establish the Day of Peace 30 years ago. Marisa Vedar, director of Gawad Kalinga, the Filipino service and community-building organization spoke about the organization's work in Australia and with the international Filipino community.
Majuro, Marshall Islands: A program sponsored with the College of the Marshall Islands and the UPF Peace Embassy on the topic Democracy and Peace. Hon. Eldon Note, an Ambassador for Peace, lawyer, and former mayor of the Bikini atoll, read the UN statement on "Peace and Democracy: Make Your Voice Heard." The keynote speaker was the Hon Kessai Note, former President of the Marshall Islands and member of the UPF presiding council. One interesting note: some students asked why the Marshall Islands, which have not experienced conflict or bloodshed in recent times, even need a peace initiative – a happy challenge for UPF Director Kenichi Ito, who spoke about inner peace and peace in the family as the foundation for all peace.
Auckland, New Zealand: A diverse audience gathered at the Maori Anglican Church to mark this important UN day. Cannon Lloyd Popata opened with prayer, and Paula Jakeman, a Maori church elder, offered welcoming remarks. MC Geoffrey Fyers introduced the event and spoke about the meaning of the day.
Speakers included Member of Parliament Su’a William Sio; Gary Russell, co-president of the UN Association of New Zealand; Ngatamariki Lulia of the Women's Federation; and Rangi Mclean, a Maori leader from South Auckland, who spoke about his initiative to open up his Maori marae (a community meeting place) to the wider community so it can become a place where all people can gather.
Honiara, Solomon Islands: A school assembly for 300 students at the Vura Community High School included an explanation of the International Day of Peace, the message of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, observing One Minute of Silence, a peace quiz and a song. A second event was held at New Hope Academy on September 24 with Alice Hou as MC. Pastor George Tafoa offered the opening prayer, followed by remarks by UPF director Chihiro Midorikawa and interfaith prayers. Candles were lit for One Minute of Silence, after which a song was sung by all. Both events were covered by the Solomon Star newspaper.


United States
UPF Chapters throughout the United States celebrated the Day of Peace with a wide variety of program, many featuring representatives of different faiths speaking of shared values.
Little Rock, Arkansas: Ambassadors for Peace held an interfaith prayer vigil on the steps of the Arkansas State Capitol. Todd Montgomery, who works in the education department of Heifer International, described how the organization has saved hundreds of thousands of people from poverty and hunger through donating animals. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's message was read by UPF State Coordinator Bruce Biggin, and leaders of five faiths offered prayers.
Tampa, Florida: The Tampa chapter of UPF organized a “Family Day of Peace” at the University of South Florida. Sixty people participated, led by seven Ambassadors for Peace, and 13 non-profit organizations displayed information tables. The keynote speaker was Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan, joined by Dustin McGahee, President of Youth for Human Rights, Florida; Michelle Walker, Founder and President of Miracles Outreach (helping at-risk teenagers); Cathy Smith, Hillsborough County Department of Juvenile Justice; and Cynthia Keeton, Hillsborough County Department of Health.
Durham, North Carolina: A charity fundraiser, "Peace Expressed through Music," celebrated the International Day of Peace in a program co-sponsored with Lovin' Life Ministries. It was an evening of music, songs, poems, and inspirational readings. Individuals sang and read peace messages from Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Father Sun Myung Moon, and many other important figures. Proceeds from the evening went to the local Liberia Crisis Center, which offers services to the many Liberian refugees who have made North Carolina their new home.
Richmond, Virginia: The International Day of Peace was celebrated with a "Family Peace Festival." More than 60 sponsors, vendors, and non-profit exhibitors participated, and about 1,200 people visited the event. Prominent among the many organizations present were the Interfaith Council of Greater Richmond, Amnesty International, Commonwealth Catholic Charities, the City of Richmond (several departments), League of Women Voters, Falun Gong, VA Interfaith Center on Public Policy, and the Universal Peace Federation.
Seattle, Washington: An interfaith water of peace ceremony featured Mr. Sluggo Rigor, a Catholic; Mrs. Cindy Etter, a Baha’i; Mr. Rizwan Samad, a Muslim; Mrs. Alicia Haq, a Buddhist; Mrs. Lavanya Reddy, a Hindu; Pastor Richard Rivers, a Christian; and Rev. Larry Krishnek and Mrs. Noriko Fisher, Unificationists. Following this, Mrs. Cindy Etter gave a talk about the history of the Baha’i Faith and their work for interfaith harmony and peace.
Washington DC: Over 80 guests, including four Ambassadors and representatives from 13 embassies, attended the program at The Washington Times building. Among them were nine guests from the Republic of Congo Brazzaville and graduate students from George Washington University in DC. Speakers included Farah Al Atassi, Founder and President of the Arab Information & Resource Center in Georgetown; H.E. Srdjan Darmanovic, Ambassador of Montenegro to the United States; and Amelda Beluli, Program Manager at the National Albanian American Council.

International Day of Peace 2011 from Universal Peace Federation International

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.

Related Articles

For New Year, UPF-Spain Holds Peace Celebration

Madrid, Spain—The interfaith event was dedicated to the current situations in Ukraine and Iran.

Overcoming Tragedies & Trauma to Reduce Gun Violence

United States—A Stopping the Violence webinar, “Overcoming Tragedies & Trauma to Reduce Gun Violence,” featured a mental health counselor.

UPF-Korea Hosts 39th Peace Forum

Seorak, Korea—The 39th Peace Forum discussed the new Cold War and peace in Northeast Asia.