Education Vital for Fostering Global Citizenship, Building Peaceful Societies, Secretary-General Says in Peace Day Message

Note No. 6396
17 September 2013

Education Vital for Fostering Global Citizenship, Building Peaceful Societies, Secretary-General Says in Peace Day Message

17 September 2013
Press Release
Note No. 6396
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Note to Correspondents

Education Vital for Fostering Global Citizenship, Building Peaceful Societies,

Secretary-General Says in Peace Day Message


The International Day of Peace will be marked around the world on Saturday, 21 September.  The Secretary-General has called on people around the world “to observe a minute of silence at noon, local time, to honour those killed in conflict and the survivors who live with daily trauma and pain”.

The theme of this year’s commemoration, “Education for Peace”, focuses on the importance of education for achieving a Culture of Peace.  Last September, the Secretary-General launched the Global Education First Initiative, one of the key priorities of which is to foster global citizenship.  Education provides a profound understanding that we are tied together as citizens of the global community, and that our challenges are interconnected.

The United Nations works on several fronts to build peace through education.  There has been strong political leadership within the international community to ensure education is a key priority on the global agenda.  On the ground, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), among others, work tirelessly in conflict and post-conflict environments building schools, developing curricula, training teachers and providing school lunches.

In his message for the Day, the Secretary-General said:  “On this International Day of Peace, let us pledge to teach our children the value of tolerance and mutual respect.  Let us invest in schools and teachers that will build a fair and inclusive world that embraces diversity.  Let us fight for peace and defend it with all our might.”

At United Nations Headquarters, activities for the International Day will take place on Wednesday, 18 September, beginning at 9:00 a.m. with the traditional Peace Bell ceremony in the Rose Garden of the Secretariat Building.  Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the President of the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly will ring the Japanese Peace Bell in the company of United Nations Messenger of Peace Jane Goodall and United Nations “Girl Up” Champion Monique Coleman, as well as the diplomatic community, and students holding flags of the United Nations and all 193  Member States.

The ceremony will be followed by the annual student observance:  some 500 high school and university students from the United States and Canada, including refugees from around the world, as well as the celebrity advocates, will exchange views on the theme “Education for Peace” via video conference with young parliamentarians at the United Nations Assistance Mission in Haiti.

Also participating in the programme are the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, and the Youth Representative on the Global Education First Initiative’s Steering Committee, Chernor Bah.  The High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Under-Secretary-General Angela Kane, will introduce “Learning Peace”, a video produced by the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific, which presents the work done by the Centre with the Government of Nepal to develop a peace education curriculum and material.  Finally, Nicholas K. Alipui, Director of UNICEF Programmes, will present the UNICEF Peacebuilding, Education and Advocacy Programme, the goal of which is to strengthen resilience, social cohesion and human security in conflict-affected areas, including countries at risk of — or experiencing and recovering from — conflict.

The Peace Bell ceremony will be available on United Nations Webcast archives following the ceremony, while the student observance will be broadcast live via United nations Webcast at:  http://UN

Additional information, including the full text of the message of the Secretary-General, is available on the International Day of Peace website in all six United Nations languages at:

You can also contact Nathalie Leroy at e-mail:; or Catherine White, Education Outreach Section, Department of Public Information, at e-mail:, for further information.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.