International Day of Peace 2020: Significance and theme of the UN designated holiday
International Day of Peace or World Peace Day is annually observed on September 21. This official United Nations-sanctioned holiday is celebrated in dedication to world peace, and especially the absence of outright war and violence. This year, more so than any other time in recent history, has shown us that discord among humans as a race can lead to disastrous consequences. This day is celebrated to highlight the fact that we are not each other’s enemies and that in order to successfully get through these troubling times, we need to be able to rely on one another.
In 1981, the United Nations General Assembly established International Day of Peace and almost two decades later they declared this as a day devoted to “strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire.” This ideal is honoured and upheld by many nations, political and military groups, and individuals. The over lining motive for the celebration of this day is to reduce war sustainably. For the inauguration of the day, the United Nations Peace Bell is rung at the UN Headquarters in New York City.
Each year, World Peace Day is celebrated with a theme that is relevant to the ongoing global events. This year’s theme is focusing on the act of ‘Shaping Peace Together’. It focuses on primarily combating the virus that has plagued the world for the majority of this year. “This year, it has been clearer than ever that we are not each other’s enemies. Rather, our common enemy is a tireless virus that threatens our health, security and very way of life.”
The Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres urged all warring parties to lay down their arms and focus on the ongoing pandemic that has brought the entire world to its knees. As the United Nations is also celebrating their 75th anniversary, they have extended the conversation on collectively building the peaceful and prosperous future that we all want.
The UN urges us to “Celebrate the day by spreading compassion, kindness and hope in the face of the pandemic. Stand together with the UN against attempts to use the virus to promote discrimination or hatred.”