NGO International Day of Peace Committee

The meeting began at 12 noon with introductions from the participants.

Avon Mattison gave a brief history of the International Day of Peace and the informal NGO IDP committee that had met in the past.  In November of 1981, the General Assembly passed resolution 36/67 for an International Day of Peace.  The IDP was observed for the first time in 1982.  In 1989 a booklet was published about the International Day of Peace, with input from NGOs, by the Peace Studies Unit of the UN Department of Political and Security Council Affairs.  In 1990, an informal NGO International Day of Peace committee began to meet.

The meeting then moved on to discuss the UN International Day of Peace Steering Group, to meet for the first time on 11 March 2003.  This Steering Group will be chaired by the Department of Political Affairs and the Department of Public Information and will be made up of representatives of most UN agencies and departments.  There will be one seat on this Steering Group for NGOs.  Avon Mattison, of Pathways to Peace, has been asked to take this seat on behalf of the NGO community for this first meeting.  The decision for her to take this seat during the first meeting was made in consultation with both the Department of Political Affairs and the Department of Public Information, and honors the work that Ms. Mattison has done each year for the International Day
of Peace (particularly the submission of a report to the Secretary-General’s office each year about civil society activity on the International Day of Peace).

The meeting moved on to discuss current initiatives for this year’s International Day of Peace (IDP) 21 September 2003.

A stamp had been issued for the Culture of Peace (with initial reference during the planning stages to the IDP) around 1999 or 2000 by the UN (for $0.32).  This was initiated by the UN CyberSchoolBus and based upon a poster contest by youth and children.

It was recommended that the Universal Postal Union (as the oldest international organization) be approached, particularly with regards to having all governments issue an IDP stamp for the "Silver" 25th Anniversary of the IDP (2007).

For this year, 2003, it was probably too late for the UN to issue an IDP stamp (as per recent conversations with the Department of Public Information).

A World Peace Festival at the World Peace Sanctuary, with attendance of about 10,000 people, will happen this 21 September 2003.  Details will be available at worldpeace.org.  This is located about 75 miles north of New York City.

The Central Park International Day of Peace Vigil will begin with a World Peace Flag Ceremony parade going from the UN, across 46th street, up 5th Avenue, and into Central Park at 72nd Street.  The flag of each nation will be carried by staff members in the UN Secretariat and/or
delegates from the Missions.

A youth program will occur at UN HQ, as done in past years, with the Department of Public Information.

The Secretary-General will ring the Peace Bell, as has been the tradition every year on the IDP since 1982.

Again for 2003, a continuous International Day of Peace Vigil will take place in the Meditation Room at UN Headquarters, building upon the success of the 2002 IDP Vigil.  The 2002 IDP Vigil in the Meditation Room at UN HQ was attended by the Secretary-General and his wife, and at
least two Under-Secretary-Generals.  The Meditation Room was open continuously throughout the entire IDP, with at least one person in the Meditation Room during each moment of the continuous vigil.  More information is available at idpvigil.com, where an archived list of other 2002 IDP Vigils throughout the world can be found.

The Peace One Day film project began in 1999.  In 2002, 244 million people in 98 countries were aware of IDP.  The hope for 2003 is to reach 1 billion people.  The POD film will serve as an educational resource, with a test in 100 schools in the UK.  The POD film is still looking for
photos/images of the IDP.  The POD website peaceoneday.org will be re-launched for 2003 on this coming 21 March.

During this year’s Annual DPI-NGO Conference 8-9-10 September 2003, there should be a program to highlight the IDP.  Postcards and IDP fact sheets need to be distributed in the conference packets and available to all NGOs through DPI.

Regarding placing IDP in calendars around the world, POD has a comprehensive database and has already initiated contact with most calendar producers about including the IDP.

Producers of large festivals and concerts have been inspired by the Youth for Peace program to include and highlight the IDP in their concerts, festivals, and events targeting a youth audience.  This is an attempt to channel the energy of youth toward positive, construction action for peace.  One such network of youth events, called EARTHDANCE, takes place in 161 countries and has already moved its date to the IDP weekend for this year, 2003.

For long-term planning, we could also focus on the IDP 25th anniversary for 2007.

The IDP stands on its own.  We must publicize it to peace groups, Model UN high school programs, University level peace studies programs (380 programs in 42 countries).  The "Peaceful Tomorrows" group (families of 9-11 victims) should also be informed about the IDP.

There should also be a major ceremony at UN HQ on the IDP.  Possibly with doves or balloons flying into the air.

In many parts of the world, the most effective infrastructure to reach the people is through their religious centers and religious leaders. WCRP has members in 150 countries and maintains a network of 15,000 religious leaders.  This network can be informed about the IDP and then
awareness of the IDP can reach far and wide.

12 noon minute of silence can also be highlighted.  This appeals to the secular.

There should be a central website to publicize different IDP activities and events.  It would be most appropriate for this website to be done through DPI, which currently hosts the site:
http://www.un.org/en/events/peaceday/

Indigenous leaders and people should be included in the IDP awareness process.

The IDP is a way for all people to support the UN.  Perhaps all people could be asked to each give $1 for the UN.

WFUNA has a kiosk in the UN for visitors.  Info about the IDP can be made available there.  Perhaps a flyer or a brochure or a postcard.

Global peacemakers can be nominated from each country and they can all come to UN HQ for the IDP.  Perhaps WFUNA can encourage the UNAs around the world to do this.

The UN Secretariat building could be lit-up at night to spell the word PEACE.  This has been done numerous times before, such as with the AIDS ribbon, or with "UN" spelled out on UN day 24 October.

The BBC will be on-board for IDP 2004.

Mr. Muller will play the harmonica on the IDP: Beethoven’s "Ode to Joy."

In the 1980s, NBC in San Francisco did a full minute on the IDP. Perhaps media can be encouraged to have a full 24 hours of images/audio only of peace.

Marilyn King, an Olympian athlete, has garnered the support and collaboration of other Olympian athletes ready to support the IDP in a concentrated and focused manner.  She submitted an idea for an IDP website and a very detailed mind-map outlining a cohesive IDP approach. As this plan has just arrived earlier this morning, it will be made available shortly to the rest of this committee.

It was noted that most of the meeting attendees are on numerous NGO committees, caucuses, and networks.  As such, we could take this IDP info back to these networks of NGOs and garner further collaborative support from the NGO community.  We began articulating which NGO
committees we were on, but time ran short.  Perhaps we could list the NGO committees that we are on and make that information available by the next meeting.

The meeting concluded with consensus about formalizing the NGO International Day of Peace Committee, meeting monthly, and co-operating fully with the UN International Day of Peace Steering Group.

Meeting notes respectfully submitted by Nickolai Parker..