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International Day of Peace, 21 September 2012
Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future

The Peace Bell

About the Peace Bell

Japanese Peace Bell The Japanese Peace Bell, located in the area north of the Secretariat Building at United Nations Headquarters. Credit: UN Photo

The Peace Bell was donated by the United Nations Association of Japan in June, 1954.

Mr. Chiyoji Nagakawa, the former counsellor of the United Nations Association of Japan and observer during the 6th session of the General Assembly in Paris in 1951, proposed to build a Peace Bell as a symbol of hope for peace. The bell was cast from coins and medals donated by the representatives of Member States, the Pope, and people, including children from over 60 different nations who seconded his idea. The bell tower was modeled after the Hanamido (a small temple decorated with flowers) that symbolises the place where Buddha was born.

It has become tradition to ring the bell twice a year: on the first day of spring, at the Vernal Equinox, and on 21 September to celebrate the International Day for Peace. On the International Day for Peace, the United Nations Secretary-General rings the bell to pray for World Peace, in the presence of Representatives of Permanent Missions and officials of the UN Secretariat.

In 1994, a special ceremony was held to mark the fortieth anniversary of the Japanese Peace Bell. On that occasion, Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali said: "Whenever it has sounded, this Japanese Peace Bell has sent a clear message. The message is addressed to all humanity. Peace is precious. It is not enough to yearn for peace. Peace requires work -- long, hard, difficult work."

Ringing the Peace Bell

On the International Day of Peace

In his report on the International Year of Peace (1987), the Secretary-General explained that the International Day of Peace was to be marked at United Nations Headquarters with a ceremony at the Peace Bell in which the Secretary-General would deliver a message, followed by a statement from the President of the Security Council.

The President of the General Assembly is also often involved in the ceremony. The commemoration includes other events, taking place around the Peace Bell and around the world, and involve students, musicians, NGOs representaives, etc.

Japanese Peace Bell being movedOn 28 May 2009, construction workers relocated the Japanese Peace Bell and its canopy from its location near the Secretariat building to the Rose Garden of the United Nations grounds in preparation of the implementation of the Capital Master Plan (CMP). Credit: UN Photo/Mark Garten

On Other Occasions

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