International Day of Peace: Four Ways To Celebrate
Do you want world peace?
It seems strange to even ask─the idea of peace is universal, and almost everyone agrees it should be a reality─so why is there still so much chaos, hate, and destruction? Often it feels like we are far away from peace throughout the world.
International Day of Peace on September 21, also known as Peace Day, gives us a small glimpse of how worldwide peace can be achieved. Established in 1981 by the United Nations in a unanimous resolution, Peace Day “provides a globally-shared date for all humanity to commit to peace above all differences and to contribute to building a ‘Culture of Peace.’”
There are many small (and big) ways you can participate. Here are four ways to increase peace:
Learn About a Different Culture or Religion
Religions and cultures can often create barriers between individuals and groups. One way to contribute to peace is to take the time to understand someone’s conflicting point of view. Take this day to immerse yourself in another culture or religion. Learn about a group of people who face disadvantages or prejudices. Or learn about a group of people who have been the discriminators themselves. What was their motivation and what was the outcome? The only real way to bridge barriers is to “love your enemies,” as Jesus says. Practicing empathy is an effective way to accomplish this.
How can you immerse yourself in another culture? In the internet age, it’s easier than ever before. There are hundreds of movies to watch, books to read, podcasts, audiobooks, news articles, and even YouTube videos to benefit from. Or, if you’re feeling up to it, visit a church center or join a discussion group.
Create a Peace Piece
Art can be a valuable way to reach people’s hearts, and it can take on many forms. Even if you’ve never picked up a paintbrush, you can still create something, detailed or simple, that spreads the message of peace. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Make Someone’s Day
Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize-winning anti-apartheid activist said, “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” The concept of “a random act of kindness” may feel like a cliché, but it actually works.
Pay for someone’s coffee or lunch order. Leave a friendly note for someone at work. Compliment someone on their clothes or their new hairstyle. Anything that puts a smile on a person’s face, especially someone you don’t know, can transform their mood and their day. They might even be inspired to do the same for someone else.
Unite in Peace
There are many events for you, your family, and friends to partake in. Click here for some peace day events that may be near you. If you are busy and only have a minute, at 12:00 p.m. on September 21, in every time zone, the NGO Pathways To Peace invites everyone across the globe to participate in one minute of silence.
Also, building a culture of peace is a huge theme in the Peace Starts With Me movement. Forefronted by Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, it is all about creating a peaceful world through first making changes within yourself and your community. Get involved here.
As Pope Francis said, “We must restore hope to young people, help the old, be open to the future, spread love. Be poor among the poor. We need to include the excluded and preach peace.”
The first step to understanding a person is learning how to communicate with them. Learn how to say “peace” in multiple languages here. As Peace Day approaches, get ready to preach some peace!