On 21 September 1980 Iraq launched a
full-scale invasion of Iran, which was the beginning of an 8-year-long bloody
war (Iran-Iraq war) between the two countries. This however, is probably not
the main motivation to name September 21st as the International Day for Peace!
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. This was organised
by Peace Parade UK."
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 21 (and
also on the days leading up to Peace Day such as Sept 19th and Sept. 20th this
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
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 activities 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 21 as the U.N.
International Day of Peace and Non-Violence.
As awareness expands ever more rapidly,
worldwide peace-oriented organizations continue to think globally and act locally.
In Honoka'a, a small former sugar cane plantation town on Hawaii's Big Island,
the 3rd Annual Parade & Festival for the United Nations International Day
of Peace takes place September 20 at 12:00 noon HST, featuring eclectic island
entertainers such as hula halau, Taiko and Native American drummers, jazz, JaWaiian
and rock music.
In Colorado, the 3rd Annual Parade &
Festival for the United Nations International Day of Peace also takes place
September 20 at 12:00 noon MST. The plan is to celebrate, have fun and get to
know the community and see what people are doing right there to promote Peace
by helping build a stronger community, a better economy, and a place where we
can all work together for Bigger Change! They will be flying Peace Doves to
celebrate with over 100 other countries and The Jane Goodall Institute's Roots
and Shoots Volunteer Groups!
In 2009, four Rotary World Peace Fellows
created site Million Acts of Peace to challenge one million people from around
the world to commit to doing one act of peace.