Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.
The Day’s theme for 2017 is “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.”
The theme honours the spirit of TOGETHER, a global initiative that promotes respect, safety and dignity for everyone forced to flee their homes in search of a better life. TOGETHER unites the organizations of the United Nations System, the 193 Member States of the United Nations, the private sector, civil society, academic institutions and individual citizens in a global partnership in support of diversity, non-discrimination and acceptance of refugees and migrants. It was initiated during the United Nations Summit for Refugees and Migrants on 19 September 2016.
“In times of insecurity, communities that look different become convenient scapegoats,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. “We must resist cynical efforts to divide communities and portray neighbours as ‘the other’. Discrimination diminishes us all. It prevents people — and societies — from achieving their full potential.” He added, “Together, let us stand up against bigotry and for human rights. Together, let us build bridges. Together, let us transform fear into hope.”
This year, the International Day of Peace will focus on engaging and mobilizing people throughout the world to show support for refugees and migrants. Its messages will be shared with communities hosting refugees and migrants as well as people concerned that refugees and migrants may bring physical and economic insecurity to their lives.
The Day will highlight solidarity with refugees and migrants and showcase the shared benefits of migration to economies and nations, while also acknowledging legitimate concerns of host communities. Ultimately, it will be about bringing people together and reminding them of their common humanity.
Young people will have a vital role to play. For example, they can volunteer to welcome and help refugees and migrants in their communities. They can also extend the hand of friendship to young refugees and migrants who they might meet in their classrooms and neighbourhoods.
On 15 September 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., the Secretary-General will celebrate the Day in the Peace Garden at United Nations Headquarters by ringing the Peace Bell and observing a minute of silence. United Nations Messengers of Peace will participate in the ceremony. The United Nations Education Outreach Section will hold a global student videoconference on the same day, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., also at United Nations Headquarters.
Yusra Mardini, A Young Refugee, Finds Safety in Her New Home
The United Nations Department of Public Information has launched a new animated video on the dramatic story of Yusra Mardini, a young refugee from conflict-torn Syria who achieved her dream to compete in the 2016 Olympics. Yusra was appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), on 27 April 2017. The video was produced by the Education Outreach Section in support of the Together Initiative to mark World Refugee Day on 20 June and highlight the advent of the International Day of Peace on 21 September.
Yusra Mardini competed in the Rio Summer Olympic Games in 2016 as a member
of the Refugee Olympic Team. She is now a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador. Photo: UNHCR