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.
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.