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International Day of Peace

Not to be confused with World Day of Peace.

International Day of Peace
File:Flag of the United Nations.svg
Flag of the United Nations
Observed by All UN Member States
Type United Nations International Declaration
Celebrations Multiple world wide events
Date 21 September
Next time 21 September 2016 (2016-09-21)
Frequency annual
Related to Peace Movement
File:International Peace Day logo.jpg
International Day of Peace logo

The International Day of Peace, sometimes unofficially known as World Peace Day, is observed annually on 21 September. It is dedicated to world peace, and specifically the absence of war and violence, such as might be occasioned by a temporary ceasefire in a combat zone for humanitarian aid access. Dr. Young Seek Choue, founder of Kyung Hee University and co-founder of International Association of University Presidents (IAUP), proposed a motion to be made for the United Nations to establish a Day and Year of Peace during his keynote speech to the members of the 6th Triennial Conference of IAUP in San Jose, Costa Rica in 1981. The participating presidents of this conference agreed unanimously in hopes of overcoming the global problems and tensions. After numerous time-consuming efforts, the Costa Rican proposal for the establishment of the Day/Year of International Peace came to the floor of the UN General Assembly on November 30, 1981.

Dr. Young Seek Choue, then, presented this resolution to the UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim. At that time, Korea had not yet been a member of the UN, so Costa Rican president, Rodrigo Carazo Odio, willingly took up the resolution on behalf of the IAUP and submitted it to the UN Assembly. With the help of the Costa Rican president and ambassador, the resolution was drafted and introduced as agenda item 133 of the 36th Session of the UN General Assembly a week after the IAUP proposal. The proposal for the Day and Year of Peace had the UN document number A/36/L.29/Rev.1. The draft resolution was adopted by the General Assembly unanimously. In 1982, wars broke out in the Middle East and South Atlantic Regions. Because of these wars, the ECOSOC was asked to report to the 37th Assembly on its decision on the designation of the International Year of Peace. Despite the situation, the resolution was finally passed on May 4, 1982 with an unanimous endorsement by the 54 Executive Members.

Most member-states of the UN held many activities to commemorate this holiday. Some even reduced their military expenses in order to promote peace. There were campaigns in Mexico to demonstrate the people’s pledge for peace. Dr. Young Seek Choue was invited to deliver a speech at the ceremonies located at the UN headquarters in New York. There were a mass of events during this period in order to celebrate the International Year/Day of Peace. Soon after the establishment of the UN International Year of Peace, Dr. Young Seek Choue launched a letter campaign and sent letters of appeal to governments, major international organizations, world renowned social, religious and cultural institutes, and the member-universities of the IAUP in order to urge them to participate in the peace activities for the UN International Day of Peace.

After successfully developing the Rural Enlightenment Movement in the early 1950s together with the faculties and students of Kyung Hee University, Dr. Young Seek Choue continued to initiate and carry out the following the Goodwill Cooperation Service (GCS) Movement,: the Better Living Movement, Rural Service Activities, Free Medical Service Activities, the World Peace Movement, and the Movement for Reconstructing Human Society. By doing so, he expanded and strengthened the function of the university to include social service activities as well as academic research.

Furthermore, to bring about academic development through friendly ties and mutual cooperation among universities and to promote world peace and human welfare through higher education, he proposed and co-founded the IAUP. Its inauguration conference was held in Oxford University, United Kingdom, in June 1965.

At the 4th Triennial Conference of the IAUP held in Boston, U.S.A. in 1975, Dr. Young Seek Choue proposed "the Boston Declaration" to promote the Global Common Society Movement in full and worldwide scale. The ultimate goal of this Global Common Society Movement was to overcome the adverse effects of contemporary materialistic civilization such as disrespect for human dignity alienation of human beings; and to improve modern human society into a better and more desirable one by harmonizing the spiritual culture and the materialistic civilization. Now Dr. Chungwon Choue has served as president of GCS International (UN ECOSOC / DPI special consultative NGO) and president of World Taekwondo Federation (WTF). Dr. Chungwon Choue is an international well-known peacebuilder and peacemaker, who is fostering peace, racial harmony, and reconciliation through Taekwondo and sports.

During the 1980s, when the superpowers were competing in a massive arms race by producing innumerable weapons of mass destruction, Dr. Young Seek Choue proposed the establishment of the International Day and Year of Peace at the 6th Triennial Conference of the IAUP held in San Jose, Costa Rica in 1981. He contributed greatly to promoting world peace by playing a pivotal role in encouraging the UN to adopt his proposal and promulgate the UN International Day (the third Tuesday of every September) and Year (1986) of Peace.

Dr. Young Seek Choue received over 100 honors and awards from many countries and world organizations like the UN, wrote over 50 books including Democratic Freedom, The Creation of a Civilized World, Reconstruction of the Human Society, and Oughtopia, and presented and delivered over 120 papers and keynote speeches at national and international conferences. He has received 34 Honorary Doctorates from many world-renowned universities since the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws from Miami University, U.S.A. in 1959. Action for Peace through Prayer and Aid (APPA, UN ECOSOC special consultative NGO) was established by Rev. Sang Jin Choi in 1996 in the Washington metropolitan area. Rev. Choi's inspiration to found this establishment came from Dr. Young Seek Choue.

The day was first celebrated at the Graduate Institute of Peace Studies (GIP), Kyung Hee University in September 21, 1982, and is kept by many nations, political groups, military groups, and peoples. Since Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General, has fostered a global initiative that aligns institutions of higher education through the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), Dr. Inwon Choue, Kyung Hee University president, also has developed various activities and research in a shared culture of intellectual social responsibility.

In 2013, for the first time, the Day was dedicated by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to peace education, the key preventive means to reduce war sustainably.[1]

To inaugurate the day, the United Nations Peace Bell is rung at UN Headquarters (in New York City). The bell is cast from coins donated by children from all continents except Africa, and was a gift from the United Nations Association of Japan, as "a reminder of the human cost of war"; the inscription on its side reads, "Long live absolute world peace".[2]


1981 – UN General Assembly Resolution passed

The United Nations General Assembly declared, in a resolution sponsored by the United Kingdom and Costa Rica,[3] the International Day of Peace, to be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace.[4] The date initially chosen was the regular opening day of the annual sessions of the General Assembly, the third Tuesday of September. (This was changed in 2001 to the current annual celebration on 21 September each year — see 2001 below.)

1982 – First observance

Tuesday 21 September 1982 was the first occurrence of the International Day of Peace. The theme of the first International Day of Peace was the Right to peace of people.

1983 – Culture of Peace initiative

In the spirit of the original vision that brought forth the Charter of the United Nations, the UN Secretary General announces a Culture of Peace in the 21st century initiative to unite the strengths of organizations, projects and peoples in order to make Peace a practical reality for the children of this and future generations.[5]

1996 – Seanad Éireann debate

A proposal for expanding the International Day of Peace to include Reconciliation, in which a massive number of emblems (White Doves) would be distributed after a formal presentation at the United Nations, was put forward by Vincent Coyle, of Derry, Northern Ireland, and was debated at Seanad Éireann. It was accepted that it would be impractical for one member state to ask for a particular slot at a general UN ceremony.[6] However, events have been held at the United Nations in New York, with the support of Kofi Annan, in April.

2001 – Date set at 21 September

In 2001 the opening day of the General Assembly was scheduled for 11 September, and Secretary General Kofi Annan drafted a message recognising the observance of International Peace Day on 21 September.[7] That year the day was changed from the third Tuesday to specifically the twenty-first day of September, to take effect in 2002. A new resolution was passed by the General Assembly,[3] sponsored by the United Kingdom (giving credit to Peace One Day) and Costa Rica (the original sponsors of the day), to give the International Day of Peace a fixed calendar date, 21 September, and declare it also as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence.[8]

2004 – Taiwanese commemorative stamp controversy

A diplomatic stir occurred when Lions Clubs International sponsored a competition for six posters to be used for International Day of Peace commemorative stamps issued by the UN Postal Administration. A poster by 15-year-old Taiwanese school student Yang Chih-Yuan was announced as one of the winners, but the announcement was withdrawn. Taiwan media reports, Taiwan Lions Club and the government of Taiwan claimed the decision not to use the poster resulted from pressure from China;[9] the rejection of the student's painting on political grounds did not reflect the ideals of the International Day of Peace.[10] The UN issued a statement that, although in the short list of eight designs, "due to an internal misunderstanding and miscommunication, Mr. Yang's proof got publicized in error as one of the six stamps intended to be issued."[9] The government of Taiwan (Republic of China) later issued a stamp containing the image.[11]

2005 – UN Secretary General calls for 22 hour ceasefire

In 2005, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan called for the worldwide observance of a 22-hour cease-fire and day of nonviolence to mark the Day.[12]

2006 – Peace Parade, UK

In 2006, then Secretary-General Kofi Annan rang the Peace Bell for the last time during his Term in office. That year the UN asserted the "many ways it works for peace and to encourage individuals, Groups and communities around the world to contemplate and communicate thoughts and activities on how to achieve peace." The United Kingdom held the primary public and official observation of the United Nations International Day of Peace and Non-Violence in Rochdale, Greater Manchester. This was organized by Peace Parade UK.[13][14]

2007 – UN Secretary General calls for worldwide moment of silence

In 2007, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon rang the Peace Bell at United Nations Headquarters in New York calling for a 24-hour cessation of hostilities on 21 September, and for a minute of silence to be observed around the world.[15]

2009 – International Year of Reconciliation announced

In 2009 - International Year of Reconciliation - the day was marked by a massive number of white doves being distributed after a formal presentation at the United Nations, bearing in mind the Charter of the United Nations, including the purposes and principles contained therein, and in particular those of saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war, bringing about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace, and practising tolerance and living together in peace with one another as good neighbours, thus developing friendly relations among nations and promoting international cooperation to resolve international economic, social, cultural and humanitarian issues. Vincent Coyle of Derry, Northern Ireland gave his full support.[16]

2011 – Peace and Democracy: Make Your Voice Heard

In 2011 the UN Peace Day's theme was "Peace and Democracy: Make Your Voice Heard". Many organizations held Peace Day events worldwide in 2011. There were school activities, music concerts, global comedy clubs (, peace doves, prayer vigils, peace conferences, and UN activities. Organizations like Peace One Day, Wiser and Culture of PeaceTemplate:Disambiguation needed have been active participants in Peace Day activities for years.

2012 – Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future

The United Nations set the theme for this year's observance as Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future, commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples.[17]

Global Truce Day 2012

In 2011, Peace One Day announced at their O2 Arena concert, a new international campaign called Global Truce 2012, a grassroots initiative and international coalition with non-governmental organisations and Students' unions in every continent, which increased participation and action on Peace Day 2012, the day of Global Truce. Particular focus in this campaign included a cessation of hostilities on the day and a reduction of domestic violence and bullying in society. The Peace One Day Celebration concert on Peace Day in 2012 was held at Wembley Arena to celebrate Global Truce 2012.[18] The Global Truce campaign will continue and be named with each year it leads up to, involving more partners and coalitions for mass participation and life-saving practical action on Peace Day.

2013 – Focus on Peace education

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has dedicated the World Peace Day 2013 to Peace education in an effort to refocus minds and financing on the preeminence of peace education as the means to bring about a culture of peace.[19] Animator and children's book author, Sue DiCicco announced in May 2013[20] a global campaign to increase awareness of Peace Day and promote peace education within schools and community groups through the Peace Crane Project.[21] Gorey Community School in Co. Wexford, Ireland, has been chosen to be School of Peace for 2013.

Global Truce 2013

Peace One Day launched a new theme for Global Truce 2013: Who Will You Make Peace With?

Peace Day Comedy 2013

To bring awareness to Peace Day, thinkPEACE promoted a Peace Day Comedy program, "Stand-Up For International Peace," held in over 50 global comedy clubs in 2013.[22]

2014 – Right to Peace

The theme of the 2014 International Day of Peace is the Right of Peoples to Peace, reaffirming the United Nations commitment to the UN Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace,[23] which recognizes that the promotion of peace is vital for the full enjoyment of all human rights.[24]

To bring awareness to Peace Day 2014, the thinkPEACE Network will promote a Peace Day Comedy program, "Stand-Up For International Peace," to be held in over 50 global comedy clubs.[25] The Waves Of Kindness Global Initiative celebrates the United Nations International Day Of Peace though global meditation events.[26]

Director of UNESCO to Vietnam, Katherine Müller, said in Global Education Magazine: "I personally identify with UNESCO’s values in the sense that I truly believe Education, Culture, Social and Natural Sciences, and Communication and Information are some of the most powerful drivers for sustainable development and peace, as a sustainable future cannot exist without sustainable peace. Raising awareness, capacity building, promoting understanding and respect for diversity, and fostering opportunities for interaction to find ways to ensure a culture of peace are all actions that will motivate people to become interested in setting peace as a priority for sustainable development.[27]"

See also


  1. ^ "International Day of Peace Event Information". Secretary-General of the United Nations. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "Secretary-General's Message on the International Day of Peace 21 September 2002". Retrieved 2008-01-06. 
  3. ^ a b United Nations General Assembly Session 55 Resolution 282. International Day of Peace A/RES/55/282 7 September 2001. Retrieved 2008-08-23.
  4. ^ United Nations General Assembly Session 36 Resolution 67. International Year of Peace and International Day of Peace A/RES/36/67 page 1. 30 November 1981. Retrieved 2008-08-23.
  5. ^ "About the Culture of Peace Initiative". CPI. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  6. ^ Seanad Éireann — Volume 148 26 July 1996
  8. ^ United Nations General Assembly Session 55 Verbotim Report 111. A/55/PV.111 page 2. Sir Jeremy Greenstock United Kingdom 7 September 2001. Retrieved 2008-08-23.
  9. ^ a b Taipei Times Row erupts over local boy's stamp design
  10. ^ Taipei Times Chunghwa Post announces intent to use student art
  11. ^ Office of the President, Republic of China News Release: President Chen Receives the Painter of International Day of Peace Stamp Yang Chih-yuan
  12. ^ "International Day of Peace 2005". Retrieved 2008-01-06. 
  13. ^ "Peace Parade UK". Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  14. ^ "International Day of Peace 2006". Retrieved 2008-01-06. 
  15. ^ "International Day of Peace 2007". Retrieved 2008-01-06. 
  16. ^ SER Foundation -
  17. ^ "International Day of Peace 2012". Universal Peace Federation. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  18. ^ "Sir Elton John to play for peace day". Retrieved 22 July 2012. 
  19. ^ Peace Day 2013 Countdown
  20. ^ Armed with the Arts Announcement
  21. ^ Peace Crane Project
  22. ^ "International Peace Day". ThinkPEACE. 
  23. ^ "Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace". Approved by General Assembly resolution 39/11 of 12 November 1984. Office of the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR). 12 November 1984. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  24. ^ "International Day of Peace 2014". United Nations. 2014. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  25. ^ "International Day of Peace events". thinkPEACE Network. Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  26. ^ "A unique and wonderful phenomena is gaining momentum worldwide". Waves of Kindness. Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  27. ^ Interview with Dr. Katherine Müller-Marin, Representative of UNESCO to VietNam in Global Education Magazine

External links