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International Day of Peace 2022

On every September 21, the United Nations has a call to action asking all nations to put down their weapons and advocate for unity with one another. The UN created the International Day of Peace in 1981 as a period of nonviolence and a day dedicated to strengthening and reinforcing the principles of peace for all humanity. It is a day to commit to peace above all our differences, and it can be celebrated globally. In a world where daily acts of committing to peace can look like celebrating differences and diversity, and we, as each individual person, can offer something as unique as not only acceptance but celebration. Where there is truly peace, there can be a conflict-free and war-free planet, and the ability to see our differences as something that unites us rather than tears us apart.

Teaching Peace

The first time I heard about the International Day of Peace was in the Republic of Moldova, a small village, around the same size as the state of Maryland. I was a Peace Corps volunteer celebrating my first International Day of Peace, and it allowed volunteers to commemorate the significance of the day with their schools, organizations, and communities. I wanted my students to imagine a world where peace is the priority and what that could look like if we all committed to it.

My partner and I decided that we wanted to make a collaborative space for the students to think critically about what the day meant and actionable ways to commit to peace. After collecting everyone’s answers on what they thought peace meant to them, we sought to answer the following question, which was, how can we create peace within ourselves, each other, and the community? We separated the students into groups with a giant piece of construction paper to write their ideas and present their findings to the class.

“Peace to me means the freedom to think, to play, and to express yourself,” was the answer one of my students shared as I asked the classroom what they thought peace meant. “Peace means harmony with one another,” another chimed in. “I want to create peace within myself by being kinder to myself,” one of my students said, while another answered, “I will volunteer at the library and help my neighbors to build peace.” As they presented genuine answers, I was in awe of how they sought to create change and their desire to make a difference.

That day our whole school wanted to celebrate International Day of Peace by wearing white, a symbol of peace and joined in together during recess to sign posters that were “peace agreements” on how they can be better agents of change in advocating for peace. It was a beautiful moment seeing students, faculty, and community members unanimously sign their commitment to creating a more peac

Young students holding a poster that says The International Day of Peace, standing in front of a chalk board with a brainstorm about what peace means to them.
Alicia's students on the International Day of Peace.

eful space. Committing to peace doesn’t only have to be grandeur actions, but small acts of kindness one can make to themselves, their neighbors, and friends that can lead to living in a more compassionate world.

Although I was aware of the International Day of Peace, I never really got to practice or think about the impact of that day until this experience with my students. Now, that day is an incredible representation of what collective collaboration and action can occur. It is one of my fondest memories in my service and a reminder that if we practice listening to our community with compassion and understanding, we can create a meaningful impact and ensure that we can make every day an International Day of Peace.

If every day were treated as an International Day of Peace, we could foster a world where today and the next generation no longer have to resort to fighting as a means. As Mahatma Gandhi once beautifully said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” That change starts within ourselves, to create a world where we live in harmony with one another.

End Racism. Build Peace

This year’s International Day of Peace theme focuses on “End Racism. Build Peace,” which now more than ever, is crucial as conflicts worldwide and racial discrimination have been exacerbated. Building bridges, having empathy, and fostering a world where everyone is treated equally are steps necessary to create the world we want to live in.


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