International Day of Peace 2023: Date, history, significance, celebration of World Peace Day
International Day of Peace 2023: Here's all you need to know about the date, history, significance, celebration of World Peace Day or International Day of Peace
The International Day of Peace or World Peace Day by the United Nations to promote peace while ceasing violence and conflicts worldwide where each year, the United Nations selects a theme for this day that focuses on specific aspects of peace-building and conflict resolution. The International Day of Peace is often associated with a dove and the olive branch symbols where the dove represents peace and freedom, while the olive branch has been a traditional symbol of peace dating back to ancient times.
The International Day of Peace is observed globally on September 21.
The United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 36/67 on September 30, 1981, that called for a global ceasefire and the cessation of all hostilities on that day and thereby declared the third Tuesday of September each year as the International Day of Peace. The first International Day of Peace was celebrated on September 21, 1982 and marked a significant step towards promoting peace and raising awareness about the importance of peacekeeping efforts around the world but it was later in 2001 that the official date was declared as September 21.
Until then, it was observed on the inaugural session of the annual General Assembly, the third Tuesday of September.
The International Day of Peace aims to remind of the UN's commitment to peace and conflict resolution and encourages individuals, communities and nations to work towards a more peaceful and just world. It continues to be an important day for promoting dialogue, understanding and cooperation among people and nations as the United Nations believes that true peace encompasses not just the absence of violence but the “building of societies where all members feel that they can flourish.”
It also seeks to build a world where everyone is treated equally regardless of their race and the day provides a “globally shared date for all humanity to commit to peace above all differences and to contribute to building a culture of peace.”
In 1986, the United Nations Peace Bell was inaugurated at the UN Headquarters in New York City and ever since then, a special ceremony is held every year on the International Day of Peace where the Peace Bell is rung to signal the call for global peace. The bell was cast from coins and medals donated by the representatives of the 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. The Peace bell is rung twice a year: on the first day of spring, at the Vernal Equinox and on September 21 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. Across the world, the International Day of Peace is observed with various events and activities ranging from peace marches and educational programs to art exhibitions and intercultural dialogues that provide an opportunity for people of all backgrounds to come together and promote peace and non-violence.