Posted September 13, 2022
Every year, on September 21st, the International Day of Peace is observed by the United Nations and other international entities. Initially established in 1981, the International Day of Peace (also known as “World Peace Day”) was rooted in the dedication to world peace and the absence of war or violence and the transnational promotion of equality and acceptance. The UN General Assembly’s Resolutions also devoted the day to strengthening ideals of peace through a 24-hour international ceasefire. The themes behind the International Day of Peace change annually, with 2021’s being “Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world”. The COVID-19 Pandemic was a critical time for all countries, significantly effecting our ways of life and health. The 2021 theme signified a new era of healing after the pandemic, especially to those who are still encountering hardships after-the-act (of the international shut-down).
The 2022 theme for the International Day of Peace is “End racism, Build peace”, spreading light on the large toll race-based discrimination has had on members of minority communities. Following the theme of equity and healing, this year’s theme touches on the advancement of the disadvantaged, especially within institutions and social structures that impede on their development.
With our current social climate, it’s important that we celebrate moments of peace and equality for all. If we can connect The International Day of Peace is home to many celebrations and traditions. In 2021, there were 628 celebrations from 79 countries! Here are some resources you can use to promote the fostering of peace inside of the classroom:
- Peace Crane Project (Peace Crane Project) – The Peace Crane Project is composed of thousands of students across the globe hoping to spread their own personal message of peace to one another. Students will create origami cranes, doves, or hearts with their own exchange partner. Exchange Partners could be from a different city, state, or country!
- Peace Pole in School/Community Garden (Peace Pole Makers – Peace Pole Makers Global) – The Peace Pole Project was initiated in Japan by Masahisa Goi, who was trying to spread awareness of the destruction caused by World War II and the atomic bombs detonated in major Japanese cities. His message, “May Peace Prevail on Earth”, is inscribed on Peace Poles across Japan as well as all over the world. With more than 200.000 in a multitude of countries worldwide, Peace Poles are some of the most recognized international peace symbols of our time.
- Peace Breathing (Peace Breathing for CPS draft 2013) – Practicing breathing techniques with students not only allows them to develop new ways of relaxing, it also builds self-awareness and skills of decompression. These breathing exercises are easy to practice anywhere, and could be a simple activity to start or end the day.
- The Peace Wave – The Peace Wave was first observed in 1982 and has continued as a tradition to observe the International Day of Peace. At noon, a minute of silence is issued, where students could be posed with questions on what peace means to them, their happiest moment, etc.
Below are some resources to help you and your students learn more about the International Day of Peace as well as other prompts on how to fight racial injustice.
- International Day of Peace (International Day of Peace | United Nations) – This is the original webpage detailing 2022’s International Day of Peace. Teachers can explore the website to understand more about the International Day of Peace and the previous themes throughout the years.
- Fighting Racism (Fight racism | United Nations) – This United Nations resource sheds light on the background of racism and its international impact on the human race. There is information on the groups vulnerable to racism as well as different ways to advocate against racism.
- Educators Fighting Against Racism (Teach | United Nations) – Use this site to find different educational tips for teachers to educate their students on racism and its effects. It includes brief summaries on the importance of cultural identity as well as ways to reinforce conversations about vulnerable groups.
Blog image citation: “- The Secretary-General — Message on the International Day of Peace 21 September 2016.” United Nations Mission in South Sudan. United Nations, September 21, 2016. https://unmiss.unmissions.org/secretary-general-message-international-day-peace-21-september-2016.