International Day of Peace
In 1981, the United Nations designated September 21st as the International Day of Peace. On this day, the UN "invites all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities... and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace." This year's theme was "The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace," and millions of people gathered at over 1,300 events around the world to celebrate together. These events include conferences, workshops, marches, concerts, meditations, interfaith gatherings, art exhibits, environmental projects, etc. One minute of silent unity is recognized at 12pm local time, allowing people to pause and reflect on the many progressive efforts that are underway as well as the critical need for peace in many regions of the world.Our Euphrates community joined in the spirit of hope and solidarity by hosting and participating in many local activities.
The Seattle Chapter gathered at Luther's Table in Renton and invited Tarif Bakdash to join them via Skype as a guest speaker. Bakdash is a Syrian doctor who relocated to the U.S. amid the violence in his country and has remained committed to helping Syrian children receive medical attention. He shared his personal story of growing up in Syria as a police state, knowing President Bashar al-Assad and his wife, about political turmoil within the Ba'ath Party, and the killings of family members and friends. Bakdash has since returned to Syria on several medical support missions and worked in refugee camps. His memoir, "Inside Syria--A Physician's Memoir" was available for purchase and it sold out by the end of the night. The event also raised awareness about local aid agencies that are supporting Syrian refugees through funding and clothing donations.
Members of the Redding Chapter set up a booth outside the Shasta County Library for individuals to write down a thought, word, poem, or symbol of peace to display on their peace wall. There was music playing and treats available as they handed out Euphrates brochures and informed passersby about the International Day of Peace.
Similarly, the Principia Chapter erected a prayer wall (inspired by the Western Wall in Jerusalem) for students to write a prayer for peace and leave it in the wall. It was filled with colorful rolls of paper throughout the day!
St. Lawrence College
The St. Lawrence Chapter invited participation with a few interactive art pieces in their student center. There was a place for people to leave their handprints and sign their names, boards where students and faculty could answer the question "What is Peace?", as well as a black and white photo campaign! The chapel bells on campus rung at noon signaling a minute of silent observation. They also handed out white bows for students to wear in support of world peace.
The College Station Chapter celebrated over a social lunch with several Christian and Muslim students from Texas A&M!
The Euphrates team was traveling in Israel/Palestine on Peace Day! Our group spent the day with an organization called EcoPeace or Friends of the Earth, Middle East. EcoPeace is working across transnational boundaries to introduce more sustainable practices in the region. They focus on projects along the Jordan River, which is the main source of water for Israelis, Palestinians, and Jordanians. EcoPeace understands that only by working together will they be able to reach equitable and environmentally responsible solutions. We visited the Dead Sea and the Jordan River as we learned about challenges to the supply of freshwater as well as reasons for hope.We, at Euphrates, loved commemorating the International Day of Peace as part of a larger global community, but we recognize that peace should not be limited to one day a year. We hope you'll join us in our efforts to make every day a day of peace!