Background

At its 36th session, in 1981, the United Nations General Assembly, in conformity with its Charter, decided "to devote a specific time to concentrate the efforts of the United Nations and its Member States, as well as of the whole of mankind, to promoting the ideals of Peace and to giving positive evidence of their commitment to peace in all viable ways.

"The Assembly therefore unanimously declared, in a resolution (UN/A/RES 36/37) adopted on 30 November 1981, that the opening of its regular annual session in September, should be officially dedicated and observed as the International Day of Peace and should be devoted "to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples."

1983 was the genesis of the "WE THE PEOPLES" INITIATIVE. Responding to a request by Robert Muller, then Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, Pathways To Peace (PTP) coordinated the International Peace Day Project, with citizens representing diverse organizations. By 1984, citizens in over 52 countries responded to PTP’s invitation to participate in the Project.

Expansion has continued throughout the world. In 1989, this Project/Initiative was granted Peace Messenger Initiative status by Secretary-General Perez de Cuellar, and officially renamed "WE THE PEOPLES" Initiative. ("We the peoples…" is the opening phrase with which the Charter of the United Nations begins.) The Initiative was formally introduced to all Peace Messenger Organizations and Cities on the International Day of Peace, Tuesday 18 September 1990, at the United Nations headquarters in New York, by the UN Peace Studies Unit.

This UN Peace Messenger Initiative, the "WE THE PEOPLES" INITIATIVE. is designed to provide a context to unite our strengths to build Cultures Of Peace for the children of this and future generations.

What You Can Do

Acting in concert to build Peace, and using co-operative skills, we can make enough of a difference to change the course of history.

Participation is the key that will unlock our worldwide human potential for Peace. Your participation does make a difference. It can begin as a "do-it-yourself" activity among friends at your school or office, or within your community, and then expand further. How can you participate?

  • Expand the understanding and definition of Peace through educational symposia and models.
  • Create events on the International Day of Peace (World Peace Day) which are multi-cultural, inter-generational, inter-faith and which foster community at all levels.
  • Join others annually on the International Day of Peace (World Peace Day). This Day is observed on the third Tuesday of September to coincide with the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, and is the only World Peace Day agreed to by all UN Member States.
  • Take a Minute of Silence at noon on other days of the year to recommit to personal and planetary Peace.
  • Support the UN Anniversary in 2000 through co-operative activities with other organizations and the UN.
  • Sponsor Peace Pole and Peace tree planting ceremonies.
  • Use your money on products and services which support the community and its environment.
  • Involve yourself in community service.
  • Cultivate a spirit of generosity by giving whole-heartedly of your time, expertise, and resources.
  • Gather funds and other resources to help eliminate childhood diseases and to promote prenatal health education.
  • Be a positive force in your country for international law and human rights.
  • Offer your home for international student exchange.
  • Establish a Peace studies curriculum in schools.
  • On World Peace Day, encourage ringing school bells for a Minute of Peace, a special assembly, submitting essays to local publications, student letters to national leaders, etc.
  • Participate in exhibitions and special events that create a vision for a positive future (e.g., art shows, poetry and essay competitions, films, concerts).
  • Facilitate concerted action among non-governmental organizations on complex issues (e.g., shelter for the homeless, water conservation, human rights, etc.).
  • Utilize invocations, such as The Great Invocation or the phrase "May Peace Prevail On Earth," in your Peace practice and your daily minute of silence.
  • Utilize peaceful processes in personal, family, professional and community life.
  • Light a candle at dusk for Peace on the International Day of Peace (World Peace Day).

Principles and Practices

Unity in Diversity – leading to respect for each individual, organization, and project and their synthesis for greater purpose.

Co-operation – based upon compassion, trust, and sharing among diverse organizations, projects, and individuals to benefit the larger community.

These Principles are enacted through such Peace Practices as:

  • Focusing upon strengths and respecting the work of others.
  • Open, direct communications.
  • Accepting responsibility and keeping commitments.
  • Succinct expression, building upon the ideas of others.
  • Listening, leading to dialogue.
  • Celebrating all successes.
  • Opening and closing rituals – e.g. a minute of silence, music, inspirational readings, introductions from the heart, circle of commitment and invocations such as "May Peace Prevail on Earth."

"As everyone knows who takes a moment of silence from time to time, it is what remains that really counts as the moment progresses. And what really counts is life and love and our responsibility to each other. We are connected to all life throughout time and space, shaped by generations past, connected today around the globe, shaping our generations to come. A shared moment of silence to honor this connectedness is a simple and elegant statement of connection to life."

Astronaut Rusty Schweikart wrote these inspiring words to citizens who coordinated the 1984 International Day of Peace in San Francisco. Over 52 countries responded to the invitation to participate in the Project, which continues to expand to people throughout the world.

The Purpose

  • To unite the strength of individuals, organizations, and projects into a cohesive movement to make Peace a greater reality for future generations.
  • To contribute ideas to the United Nations about its evolving role in the 21st Century as an instrument for building and maintaining Peace. These ideas will be summarized periodically in formal reports to the UN.
  • To establish the International Day of Peace (World Peace Day) as a global day of access and Peace leadership for children and youth.
  • To expand participation in the annual International Day of Peace (World Peace Day), to celebrate humanity’s progress toward Peace along its many paths, and create 24 hours of Peace worldwide.
  • To increase the collective will among children, women, and men to live harmoniously with one another and the Earth.
  • To develop inter-generational decision-making and to expand the participation of young people in United Nations Conferences and Seminars.

The Vision

A Peace Messenger Initiative
Dedicated To The United Nations

"Acting in concert, we DO make a difference in the quality of our lives, our institutions, our environment and our planetary future. Through co-operation, we manifest the essential Spirit that unites us amid our diverse ways."

Excerpt of Letter from United Nations,
Executive Office of the Secretary-General:

The Peace Messenger Initiative is dedicated to the vision of the United Nations in the 21st century – its role in engendering Peace through Cooperation; and the United Nations at 50 and beyond – its relevance in the post-cold war era. In your commitment to fostering peace, I hope you will continue to aim to motivate members of your community and beyond to work together with the United Nations in making peace a practical reality in the 21st century and into the new millennium.

Let me urge you to join with others worldwide for a renewal of that commitment at the personal, group, community, national and international levels in celebration of our progress along the many paths to peace. I wish you and your colleagues every success in your most worthy undertaking.

Gillian Martin Sorensen
Under Secretary-General
Special Advisor to the Secretary-General for Public Policy
 

The "We the Peoples" Initiative is a co-operative movement to unite the strengths of existing organizations and projects toward making Peace a practical reality in the 21st century. The Initiative has served as a vehicle for bringing forward the previously unseen and unheard voices working towards Peace.

This diligent work strengthens the United Nations as an instrument for building and maintaining global Peace. Through a variety of activities and practices, people with diverse interests are taking responsibility for co-building Peace in practical ways. The dedication of those concerned groups and individuals illuminates the vitality behind the Initiative and provides the momentum required to establish Peace for our future generations.

International Day Of Peace

21 September, Annually

UN Peace Messenger

Peace Begins With Ourselves, Living In Harmony With One Another And With The Earth.

What :    The International Day of Peace (IDP) provides an opportunity for individuals, organizations and nations to create practical acts of Peace on a shared date. Use the Internation al Day of Peace annually to highlight the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World, 2001 to 2010.

Established by a United Nations resolution in 1981 , the International Day of Peace was first celebrated September 1982 .

When:    Annually, 21 September — The International Day of Peace

Where: Wherever you are.

Who:   You and all who care about building Cultures of Peace for the children of this and future generations.

Why:    To mark our individual and collective progress toward building Cultures of Peace, and serve as a reminder of our permanent commitment to Peace, above all interests and differences of any kind.

Individuals and Nations, acting in concert, DO make a difference in the quality of our lives, our institutions, our environment and our planetary future. Through co-operation, we manifest the essential Spirit that unites us amid our diverse ways.

How:   Through various paths to personal and planetary Peace:

©   Join people throughout the world in one minute of silence (or more!) this Day, and at NOON every day, in our common commitment to Peace.

©   Ring a bell, light a candle for Peace.

©   Plan a local event. Use schools, places of worship, libraries, parks, or municipal buildings to host events. Use the day to build partnerships within your community. Involve children.

©   Incorporate prayer and meditation into your plans. Join with others to create a global International Day of Peace Vigil www.idpvigil.com/

©   Use universal invocations/prayers such as May Peace Prevail on Earth www.worldpeace.org/ and the Great Invocation www.worldgoodwill.org/

©   Learn universal mudras for Peace www.divinityproject.org/ .

©   Promote the Day as one dedicated to nonviolence and global ceasefire www.peaceoneday.org/ .

©   Plant a Peace Pole or have a World Peace Flag Ceremony. www.worldpeace.org/

©   Participate in a PeaceBuilding project that is inter-generational, intercultural www.WeWantPeaceOnEarth.com

©   Join alliances of youth organizations uniting for a culture of peace www.takingitglobal.org/joingyan.

©   Promote media attention for the Day. UN General Assembly Resolution A/55/282 www.un.org/events/peaceday http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/55/a55r/282.pdf .

©   Engage in UN Days & Years meditation www.UNmeditation.org/

©   Ask your government officials to proclaim each 21 September as International Day of Peace Holiday.

©   Be kind, forgiving and compassionate in all relationships, with all circles of life < www.forgiven e ssworks.o r g >, www.beliefnet.com/

©   Join the Peace Team with a daily practice www.newhorizons.org/future/king2.htm

©   Honor “Hear the Children Day of Peace” during September-Culture of Peace Month

©   Become involved in the UN International Decade for a Culture of Peace www.cpnn-new-england.org .

©   11 th National IDP Observance with school programme by UNA’s Education Committee, Principal, Teachers and Pupils United Nations Association Sri Lanka www.wfuna.org/site/countries/srilanka.htm

©   Use and adapt World Peace Plan 2010 www.robertmuller.org . www.earthpax.net

©   Peace Day Celebrations in Belgium , including Symposium on Health Sustainability and Spiritual World Citizenship by Association of World Citizens, Netherlands ; www.worldcitizens.org/

©   International Advertising Festival of Rio de Janeiro, is promoting "Grande Prêmio da Paz" in all media www.conscius.com.br/ .

©   Presentation to the Collective Vision and Spiritual Activism Conference www.visionarylead.org/ .

©   Noon meditation; works with teachers and school children on peace through planetary citizenship and sustainable development. International Children’s Peace Council, Italy www.solidea.org/ospiti/icpc_index_e.htm

©   IDP 24-hour peace vigil, A Course In Miracles Int’l www.acimi.com/international_day_of_peace.htm

©   Initiating video conversations on Peace through ethical and spiritual values edmee

©   16 th annual IDP noon ceremony of silence and joyful sound, Peal for Peace, Inuvik www.inuvik.net/polar

©   Olof Palme Peace Foundation volunteer services at hospital, HIV/AIDS awareness campaign, donation of necessities to orphanage in Accra , Ghana and youth sporting activities during Culture of Peace Week www.wethepeoples.org

©   Launch Peace Encouragement Program, a People’s Plea for Peace; PeaceWishPostCard; school Peace Song contest; candlelight vigil and public talk, Kathmandu . Friends Service Council Nepal .

©   Programs for children in Uzbekistan through Center of Young Activists “Youth Intellectuals”

©   Meditation focus on IDP with Peacebuilders and Peacemakers worldwide using prayers and Great Invocation, Rainbow Bridge Centre, South Africa .

©   Minute of silence and bell ringing, with messages of world’s children, involving media, educational systems and inter-generational Peacebuilding practices. Service to the aged, refugees and environmental protection, Message of Peace Foundation, Ghana .

©   Listen to special tape and broadcast for IDP. New Dimensions Broadcasting. www.newdimensions.org

©   Educating youth turn away from unpeaceful activities and more towards the promotion of the culture of peace. Peace march of 3000 youths around the city of Yaounde organized by the Foundation for Peace and Solidarity , Cameroon .

©   Special event at University for Peace, Costa Rica; Chancellor Robert Muller’s proposal that on Peace Day, people send contributions to their preferred UN world Programme/Agency; www.upeace.org/

©   Promoting peace through meditation, invoking love into USA national heart center. Los Angeles Heart Meditation www.getty.edu.museum

©   Inauguration of Children’s Peace Movement International; Interdenominational Prayer Congress for World Peace. Church Service; Peace Rally with Delivery of Children’s Letter to the President demanding peace-based government. WHEDA Nigeria .

©   IDP 24-Hour Peace Meditation Vigil, The Sundial House Group, England www.creativemeditation.org

©   Peace Education for Sustainable Development Programme for Kashmir Valley . Valley Commonwealth Public School .

©   Peace Rally, Seniors for Peace, Redwood Retirement Community, www.filmarts.org

©   Prayers for Peace, Tribal Elders of Tiburon Community Congregational Church.

©   World Peace Prayer Ceremony, Byakko Shinko Kai, Japan www.byakko.or.jp/en , World Peace Prayer Society, www.worldpeace.org , www.wppsallanton.btinternet.co.uk

©   Peace through poor people’s development programmes, Rural Development & Youth Training Institute, Kota district, India .

©   Peace Circle in Quezon City , Phillipinnes, The Peacemakers’ Circle, URI. mailto:toots_bocc@hotmail.com

©   Banner of Peace and Peace Plaque ceremony, Triangle Centre; 24-hour Global Meditation and Prayer Vigil, New Zealand www.intuition-in-service.org

©   Children’s Peace Messages, International Art Display by Youth, Peace Day Proclamations, Interfaith Rose Sharing and Peace Doves, CA State Capitol, International World Peace Rose Gardens www.WorldPeaceRoseGardens.org

©   Work a Day for Peace, 21/22 September. Kit available, Nonviolent Peaceforce , Sri Lanka mailto:dayforpeace@nonviolentpeaceforce.org

©   Prayer for Peace – “Path of Peace”, The Academy for Future Science, www.keysofenoch.org

©   IDP Message from K. Ozawa, UNICEF Mongolia

©   “Peace Bell ” at noon and silent Circle for Peace, UN Geneva

©   Gathering and ceremonies at Wanganui peace sculpture, Operation Peace Through Unity, New Zealand

©   Moment of silence at noon , followed by gong, eucharistic celebration and prayers for Peace, Toronto

©   IDP Proclamations by counties, states and countries

©   International Week of Peace activities, including Peace Africa Youth Centres and schools around South Africa, National Conference on Globalised Racism and the Search for Peace and Justice, and launch of Peace park and Life Centre in Kwazulu Natal. Umtapo , South Africa . www.umtapo.co.zu

©   Students engaged with media stations, Mayor’s office through Students Against Violence Everywhere (S.A.V.E.), Flint Southwestern Academy High School . mailto:91sharon@comcast.net

©   Procession at Lusaka with 400 children from Fountain of Hope Orphanage; treeplanting ceremony, (40 trees donated by Zambian Forestry Dept.) covered by all media. www.times.co.zm ,

©   Assembly at the Udhailiyah School, Saudi Arabia, with peace songs and peace balloon launching, bell ringing and moment of silence.

©   Special IDP newsletter featuring prominent Peacebuilders distributed to 8,000 people by The Lifebridge Foundation www.lifebridge.org

©   Share the Spirit of Peace International Youth Summit at UN and World Peace Prayer Sanctuary, NY, inaugurated by Vermont Peace Institute, Inc. www.sharethespiritofpeace.org

©   E-mail message promoting IDP by Institure for Multi-Track Diplomacy www.imtd.org

©   Peace Pledge signed by 4 th – 8 th grade students of St. Mary’s School, Yap , Micronesia

©   Special article about the U.N and IDP, “A Living Instrument of Peace,” by The Peace Company www.thepeacecompany.com

©   “Talisman of Peace”, a tool for conflict resolution mediators, offered in San Francisco by the Artship Foundation

©   “Peace On The Hill” Celebration and Children’s Letter-Writing Campaign for a Day of Peace for the City of Minneapolis, by The Peace Project Group, 1 st Unitarian Society, www.unitarian.org/fus

©   Peace Painting, Poetry for Peace, Dhamma Bicycle Race, Peace Studies, and Peace Pole Ceremony. with student monks, students and teachers of 16 primary and secondary schools. Dhamma Park Foundation, Thailand

©   Cultural performances of dance, music and theatre; noon minute of silence and Call to Peace; Peacebuilding activities in Chicago Public Schools during Peace Days (7-21 Sept). The Peace School www.peaceschool.org

©   Trainers attended Peace Events in townships of Cape Town . Quaker Peace Centre, South Africa www.quaker.org/capetown/

©   Special Calendar for September 2003, listing IDP Lepoco Peace Center , Bethlehem , PA www.lepoco.org

©   “Youth Unite for Peace” gathering with inter-religious prayers, candle lighting for peace, cultural performances by school children, speeches, and poems. Apeadu Peace Center www.childrenoftheearth.org/acpc.htm

©   “Peace is a Verb” National radio broadcast for Peace Week, Sept 15 th to 21 st (program # 2992), New Dimensions Broadcasting Network, www.newdimensions.org

©   Global Weblink Connection for the World Peace Festival in Amenia , NY and IDP Celebration, Central Park , NY . www.worldpujs.org

©   Service for Peace as part of “World Peace through Interreligious Actions and Dialogue,” and other ODP observances. Religious Youth Service, Rivers State , Nigeria

©   Noon Peace Vigil, Ideal Spring International Foundation

©   The Arizona Portal of the Earthdance Festival was scheduled this year to coincide with the International Day of Peace. Desert Trance Family www.desertrance.com

©   One World Live Peace Concert, The Power of Peace, broadcast worldwide. www.worldpeace.org

©   Or… Whatever inspires you as a PeaceBuilder!

©   (Please add your organisation’s activity and website to this list at www.pathwaystopeace.org.)

 

“A Silence That Is Heard Around The World”

— San Francisco Examiner, Sept. 19, 1984

Background of the annual International Day of Peace (21 September)

The International Day of Peace, established by a United Nations resolution in 1981 to coincide with the opening of the General Assembly, was first celebrated on the third Tuesday of September, 1982. Beginning 2002, the UN General Assembly set 21 September as the now permanent date for the International Day of Peace.

In establishing the International Day of Peace, the United Nations General Assembly decided that it would be appropriate "to devote a specific time to concentrate the efforts of the United Nations and its Member States, as well as of the whole of mankind, to promoting the ideals of peace and to giving positive evidence of their commitment to peace in all viable ways… (The International Day of Peace) should be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples."

The Assembly’s resolution declared that the International Day of Peace "will serve as a reminder to all peoples that our Organization, with all its limitations, is a living instrument in the service of peace and should serve all of us here within the Organization as a constantly pealing bell reminding us that our permanent commitment, above all interests or differences of any kind, is to peace. May this Peace Day indeed be a day of peace."

(Quotes excerpted from the United Nations General Assembly Resolution UN/A/RES/36/67.)

(Quote from the UN resolution UN/A/RES/55/282 which amends the date of the International Day of Peace to 21 September):

“The Assembly, reaffirming the contribution that the observance and celebration of the International Day of Peace make in strengthening the ideals of peace and alleviating tensions and causes of conflict, (decided that) beginning with the fifty-seventh session, the Day should be observed on 21 September each year, with this date to be brought to the attention of all people for the celebration and observance of peace.”

Quotes in support of PTP’s work with the WPI


“…In your commitment to fostering peace, I hope you will continue to aim to motivate members of your community and beyond to work together with the United Nations in making Peace a practical reality in the 21st century and into the new millennium… I wish you and your colleagues every success in your most worthy undertaking.”

—Gillian M. Sorensen, Under-Secretary-General, United Nations (1994)

 

“…We enjoyed the Annual Report greatly. Congratulations on excellent communication and inspiration. As a fellow Peace Messenger Initiative we deeply appreciate your initiatives in “building conflict-resolving community.”

 
—Stella Cornelius, The Conflict Resolution Network, Australia

 

“…Thank you for your regular correspondence we have received your latest letter…describing about the different ongoing programmes in connection with the “WE THE PEOPLES” INITIATIVE as sanctioned by the UN and forwarded in action by the initiative of Pathways To Peace towards having meaningful outcomes. As you know, we are also representing this movement to maintain peace and harmony all over the globe. We have introduced the programmes on this field to enhancing peacemaking initiative on global prospective…We are going to introduce different selected examples of Peace-Building in our area and the programmes include awareness raising and community development, peace education, workshop and ‘Hear the Children’ event…”

—Surya Bahadur Thapa, President, Friends Service Council, Nepal

 

“…We trust our meditations and contemplations are linked up together and that holds true in an arena of like-minded souls dedicated to a cause that transcends beyond basic human expectations. It’s most joyful to feel your presence even in a vacuum the essence of which is the direct showering of divine blessings to make whole our intended purpose…”

—Osoronko Nana-Yabani, Exec. President, of Palme Peace Foundation, Ghana

 

“…I had a wonderful time with the rural poor children, during the International Day of Peace. I really choose the farthest area where I can celebrate it with the young people in a remote area. It was in a school and I talked with their teachers and helped me organize the One Minute Prayer. They did really cooperated on the one-minute silence, after I explained to them patiently and slowly about the activity, and what the rest of the young people are doing on that day. It was a very fulfilling experience and a great hope.”

—Mario Fungo, Santa Magdalena Center for Peace & Environment, Philippines

 

“…Thank you for the encouraging letter and the copies of the Peace Wheel. We would be proud to be a participating organization in the “WE THE PEOPLES” INITIATIVE and look forward to further cooperation with you….”

—Deena Soliar, Director, Umtapo Center, South Africa