Shout for Peace! Celebrating the International Day of Peace
"Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war."
Martin Luther King Jr.
The International Day of Peace, aka “Peace Day,” is just a few weeks away, so it’s time to begin planning how you will celebrate! This day is observed each year on September 21st. Established in 1981 by a unanimous United Nations resolution, Peace Day provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to peace above differences and to contribute to building a culture of peace. This year’s theme is The Right to Peace - The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70.In a world where division and conflict sometimes seem to have the louder voice, drawing attention in the news and media, Peace Day is a chance to create a new narrative. It is a way for people around the world to give their voice to peace. So let’s change the story - let’s shout for peace! This shout will be heard oceans over, felt around the world, and no longer will conflict have the louder voice! Peace is powerful!The UN has created a campaign leading up to Peace Day, entitled: Stand up for Human Rights - Add Your Voice! This is a wonderful joint campaign to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to contribute to the global voice for peace. To participate in this campaign, click here.
So how are you celebrating Peace Day?
Goal 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals is to build partnerships to achieve the goals. Peace is one of the goals we all share, and September 21st is the perfect time for you to come together with friends, family, coworkers to celebrate and be partners in peace! Here are a few ideas for how to do this:
Minute of Silence
Sometimes giving your voice to peace can also mean being quiet. Observe a moment of silence at noon to reflect on the millions of people worldwide that are fighting for human rights. Spend this minute also reflecting on those whose rights have been denied them and to pray for their peace, safety and prosperity.
This activity invites people to inquire about peace for themselves and for their communities. An activity for IDP might be to host conversations for people to speak and listen to one another to discover how they put peace into action and the peace they desire for their communities. Learn more here.
Create a “prayer wall,” or a board where people can stop by, write down, and post a prayer or blessing for peace in our world that can be publicly displayed. Consider setting up your prayer wall outside your local library, the student center on your university campus, or another high traffic area in your community. Set up a table to hand our treats and Euphrates brochures!
Invite new and old friends to gather for a potluck where each person brings a favorite dish from their culture. Listen to their their stories. Learn from their experiences. And enjoy each other’s company!
Host a Peace Day concert to fundraise for a Euphrates Visionary. Invite friends and musicians to come together to learn about the work of our visionary and encourage them to donate.
In Tibet, there is a tradition of hanging “prayer flags” which are hung throughout the Himalayas and the wind carries out their blessings to the world. You will need a long string, safety pins, permanent markers and squares of red, yellow, blue, green,and white paper or cloth for this activity. Allow each participant to take a few minutes to reflect on a prayer they have for humanity, write it on a colored piece of paper, then hang it on the string with safety pins. Display the flags in your meeting space so that you can reflect on this activity throughout the year.
Hand out clothes pins (“hug pins”) for people to put on their shirts. Each person with a hug pin must hug someone, give the person their pin, and instruct them to do the same.
Write a love letter to a friend, a foe, a family member, a politician you support, a politician you disagree with, a stranger, a mother, a father, a child. Send words of peace and compassion to someone who you do not typically acknowledge--even a simple message has the potential to positively impact their life. No matter who it is, everyone deserves love. Postcards can be premade or blank on the front for people to draw their own design.
Social Media Campaign
Make an interactive art display or social media campaign. Ask people: What does peace mean to you? What does peace look like? What does peace feel like? Take a photo with each person holding up their answer on a whiteboard or chalkboard and create a collage to share on Facebook or Instagram. Use the hashtag #EuphratesPeaceDay.
Connect with a Euphrates Chapter across the world
Set up a Skype or video conference with a Chapter that you would like to get to know better. Learn about each other’s interests and peacebuilding practices, discover what you have in common, and celebrate what makes each group unique! Keep in mind the difference in time zone and ask Moriah (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like help arranging a meeting. Click on the link to open the map below to see where our Chapters are located.
You can also look at what other people and organizations around the world are involved in:
Check out what UNIFY is up to for Peace Day and join their #WagePeace campaign. They have activities planned for Peace Day Weekend, including dance parties and global synchronized meditation.
Find your local URI Cooperation Circle and team up with them to celebrate Peace Day together. Here are some great action ideas for IDP that URI has put together. You can also check out their IDP Program Bank for more ideas!
Join the 11 Days of Unity campaign.
Check out this map to find out what IDP events are near you. You can also add your own event to the map!
And don’t forget...
to post your Peace Day activities on social media and include @euphrates_institute, using the hashtags #EuphratesPeaceDay #PeaceDay #goal17 #standupforhumanrights #ShoutForPeace