The Peace Bell
About the Peace Bell
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.
On Other Occasions
- The Peace Bell is also rung on special occasions such as to mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident on 26 April 2011.
- The General Assembly also invited the Secretary-General to ring the Peace Bell to launch the International Year of Rapprochement of Cultures in 2010.
- On the first day of spring 2004, the Global Teaching and Learning Project of the Department of Public Information implemented the "Peace Bell initiative", which involved hundreds of schools all over Europe.