The International Day of Peace

What is the International Day of Peace?

The International Day of Peace is observed each year on the opening day of the regular session of the United Nations General Assembly. This year the General Assembly will commence on Tuesday, 14 September.

Peace is a common desire for peoples throughout the world. The establishment of the United Nations in 1945, at the end of the most devastating war in human history, was an embodiment of this universal desire. Keeping peace and developing friendly relations among nations are among the main objectives of the United Nations.

To commemorate and strengthen the ideals of peace both within and among all nations of the world, the United Nations General Assembly in 1981 proclaimed the opening day of its regular session as the International Day of Peace. In its resolution, the General Assembly invited all Member States, organs and organizations of the UN system, non-governmental organizations, peoples and individuals to observe the Day in an appropriate manner.

Although peace is commemorated by various organizations and groups on other dates, the International Day of Peace is the only official commemoration declared by the United Nations.

How is the Day observed at the United Nations?

At United Nations Headquarters, the Day is marked each year with a special ceremony near the Peace Bell. The Bell, cast from coins donated by people from some 60 countries, is a gift to the United Nations by the United Nations Association of Japan. The Peace Bell is located in the West Court Garden on the front lawn of the UN Secretariat building.

Each year, usually at IO :00 a.m. local time (I 4: 00 GMT), the United Nations Secretary-General delivers a special message before ringing the bell and calls upon people throughout the world to reflect for a moment on the universal goal of peace.

Following the moment of silence, the President of the Security Council makes a statement on behalf of the members of the Council. Later in the day, the regular session of the General Assembly begins its work.

During the opening ceremony, at 3:00 p.m. local time (19:00 GMT), the President of the Assembly invites the delegates to stand for a minute of silence in observance of the Day.

How is the Day observed outside the UN?

The most common way of commemorating the Day is observing a moment of silence. In many countries, local civic groups and schools hold special events and ceremonies to mark the Day. The true meaning of the Day lies in the participation of people around the world, gathering together to think about the meaning of peace and their commitment to its realization.

What can you do?

At 12 noon, the principal, a teacher or a student announces to everyone in the school: "We will now take a Minute of Silence to join with the United Nations in support of the International Day of Peace. Please visualize a world of peace and justice enjoyed by all who share our beautiful planet.

What else can you do?

Organize a Peace Walk.
Raise the UN flag and flags of the countries of the world.
Sing a peace song.
Have a group meeting.
Visit a hospital or nursing home.
Volunteer at a recycling center.
Plant a tree.
Make a new friend.

Join the United Nations in celebrating the International Day of Peace, 14 September 1999 Young people in countries all over the world are invited to take a Minute of Silence on Tuesday, 14 September, 1999, at 12 noon in their time zone to celebrate the International Day of Peace and support the United Nations in its mission of world peace.

How did you celebrate the International Day of Peace? Design a Peace Flag ...

Did your school celebrate the International Day of Peace on 14 September 1999? If yes, we would like to know how. Send a short report - not exceeding 50 words - to the United Nations by 24 October (UN Day). Best reports and the list of participating schools will be posted on the UN website. Include the name and address of your school and have your report approved by a teacher/supervisor.

Mail your reports to: Public Inquiries, GA-57, United Nations, New York, 100 1 7; fax: 212-963-6555; or e-mail them.