INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE
Sustainable development should be a collective responsibility and every citizen of a country should have this at the back of his/ her mind. It is pertinent to note that sustainable development cannot be achievedwhen peace is eluded in any environment, society or country. This is so because ‘’in the presence of war economy development is the last on peoples mind’’ Precious Ajunwa 2011
The United Nation General Assembly, adopted its resolution 36/67 of 30th November 1981, which declared the third Tuesday of September, shall be officially proclaimed and observed as International Day of Peace globally. This statement was made on the opening day of the regular sessions of the General Assembly. Educing its other related resolution , including resolution 55/14 of 3 November 2000, confirming the contribution that the observance and celebration of the day makes strengthening the ideals of peace and alleviating tensions and causes of conflict, considering the unique opportunity it offers for a cessation of violence and conflict throughout the world, and the related importance of achieving the broadest possible awareness and observance of the International Day of Peace among the global community,
In 2001, the General Assembly by unanimous vote adopted resolution 55/282, which established 21 September of every year as International Day of Peace for the celebration and observance of peace. The Assembly declares the day as a global ceasefire and of non-violence, enjoining all member states, organizations of the United Nation system, non-governmental organizations and individuals to commemorate the day in an appropriate manner through education and public awareness.
This year International Day of Peace theme from the United Nation is ‘’Sustainable Development for a Sustainable Future’’. You will quiet agree with me that we cannot get to the sustainable future without sustainable development and when peace is eluded in any society our dream of development will be a dead one.
On the International Day of Peace, people around the world participate in various activities centred on the theme “PEACE” and nations around the world honour a cessation of hostilities during the day.
Any group of people or class can observe this day through various kind of event. Bearing in mind that this day is about creating a culture of peace for future generations, therefore creating an atmosphere or opportunity to start with children and youths is a necessity. Not forgetting what our great leader Mahatma Ghandi quote which states ‘’ if we are to have real peace in the world, we must begin with our children’’ Parents and teachers can get their wards/students/ children think and talk about their own thoughts of peace and conflicts.
You will quiet agree with me that education is a necessary part of the peacebuilding movement and every government should make it a point of duty to introduce peace education into their school curriculum. I am of the opinion that its only by spreading the idea of a culture of peace can we hope to create lasting change in our community, society, states and nation at large.
Permit me to digress a bit, this idea can start as early as preschool and kindergarten level of education, where small children can learn about peace through art projects and role plays. However, older students and adults can learn more through seminars, peace education classes, conflict resolution classes and campus events that is related to education.
An individual can observe International Day of Peace alone at anywhere. Simply by meditating on peace or participating in the minute of silence at noon, automatically makes you part of the Peace Day movement or organizing a Peace Day activity at work/ neighbourhood.
Other numerous activities which an organization, company, school, can organize or get involved are walks for peace, making origami peace doves, planting trees for peace and releasing peace balloons.
Are you aware that Art and culture are vital medium to spread the message of peace? Yes, it is so true. Art and other cultural activities are powerful ways of observing International Day of Peace. This is done when combining the concept of peace with artistic expressions; which provides an opportunity to reach a wider audience. Such activities include but not limited to plays, drawing competitions, art exhibitions and more to commemorate Peace Day in our society.
The importance of media in spreading the message of peace can never be over emphasized. Media is a very powerful tool in peacebuilding work. Involving the media on International Day of Peace, the message of peace automatically spread to millions of people all over the world. Other activities of spreading the message of peace under the media include writing an article for one’s local newspaper about Peace Day or peacebuilding in general. Encouraging the local media to cover stories about Peace Day and to report from different events free of charge should be looked into. Making/posting a peace video on You tube, blogging about Peace Day, creating a short film about peace and doing a Peace Day Special on your radio show/ TV show.
Few activities are as effective in spreading a message of peace as music and live performances of different kinds. Concerts, dance performances, comedy and theatre are some examples of events that inspire people everywhere to work for peace in their lives.
I enjoin every group or organizations and everyone in Nigeria to endeavour to participate in spreading the message of peace and to commemorate the annual event next year. Not forgetting that we cannot achieve a sustainable development if sustainable peace is absent.
There can be no sustainable future without a sustainable peace. Sustainable peace must be built on sustainable development.