International Day of Peace 2013: Call to Action

Delegate from Canada, Rohini Bhalla, on the Day of Peace and creating a movement for peace. Follow Rohini (@rohini_bhalla) and One World Dialogue (@OneWorldD) on Twitter.

September 21 marks the International Day of Peace (a.k.a “Peace Day”).  Peace Day allows for collective individuals, organizations and nations to create practical acts of peace together.  The purpose of Peace Day is to develop a specific day and collaborative focus on worldwide peace and encourage all of humanity to work in cooperation for this goal.

The first Peace Day was celebrated in September 1982 on the opening day of the General Assembly and in 2002 September 21 was officially declared as the permanent annual day for Peace Day.

The United Nations General Assembly, in 1981, by unanimous vote, adopted Resolution 36/67, which established the International Day of Peace (IDP) “…to devote a specific time to concentrate the efforts of the United Nations and its Member States, as well as the whole of mankind, to promoting the ideals of peace and to giving positive evidence of their commitment to peace in all viable ways.”

Albert Einstein said: “Peace cannot be kept by force, it can only be achieved through understanding.” For me, this is a powerful statement and one, which I am sure many youth around the world can connect with. 

Many things become clear through the diverse range of issues being raised by One Young World in advance of the Summit in Johannesburg, and the range of other international debates on development. Most notably, it is evident that we currently live in a time of global uncertainty and chaos, constant change, ever-increasing speed and vast complexity.  Our world is becoming more knowledge intensive, fast-paced, interconnected and multi-cultural. 

Not only is it a challenge to keep pace with these changing environments, but also the idea that we are responsible for the world’s most imperative social issues is daunting, to say the least.  Should this uncertainty and these challenges take over the possibilities for change, advancement and the power of youth coming together?

I started a non-profit organization, One World Dialogue (OWD), in 2010 with the goal of bringing peace to the center of conversation, as the driving force for change.  OWD aims to build a culture of peace through the promotion of dialogue and integrative thinking. Many organizations are engaged now, doing great work in the effort of raising awareness of Peace Day and getting people to be more peaceful. 

OWD’s Peace Project is embarking on a journey to explore and unleash the possibilities of peace as the mechanism to building strong, vibrant and integrated communities.  OWD aims to do this by empowering people with the outlets to have a voice, take action and learn.OWD will create and provide the tools for people, organizations and communities to build a culture of peace. 

OWD and I truly believe that dialogue and thought-leadership are central to social problem solving.  Using the model of integrative thinking, OWD provides the platform through which idea generation, thinking and action can coalesce to build a culture of peace.  By promoting open and honest dialogue we can engage people in a way that will allow us to examine traditional issues through an alternate perspective and ultimately create sustainable and scalable solutions.

Inspired by the action and dedication of everyone associated with One Young World, I urge you to take action on September 21 for Peace Day and create change.   On September 21, 2013 One World Dialogue is launching a social media campaign called One Million Acts of Peace.  We want you to think and act on peace.  Share your ideas of peace, what you have done to create it (big or small) and inspire others to do the same.  Who said one person cannot create change?  Each person counts! One person, one act, times many acts, can create big change! 

The purpose behind the Million Acts of Peace campaign is to use technology as a driving force to connect anyone in the world, share your ideas, actions and motivate others to do the same.  It takes you and your action to make this work and get this campaign moving forward. 

On September 21, think of your act of peace, it can be as simple as a small act of kindness to help someone out, a work of art to express an idea of peace, or as large as working on major efforts through groups/organizations in your community or country.  All acts count and this will start the movement.  It will demonstrate that acts are occurring everyday and it takes the motivation of everyone to create peace, not just nation states.

Fellow delegates, Ambassadors, Counsellors, leaders, friends and family from anywhere, OWD and I encourage you to take part and demonstrate how one simple act that starts with you, one person, can create BIG change!

Go to our website, join us on Twitter or Facebook on September 21 and beyond, to kick-start this movement and demonstrate how youth and anyone, anywhere, can join together in building a more peaceful world.