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Observing the International Day of Peace, 9/21/2004

In his latest communication to the URI community, Executive Director Charles Gibbs highlights three of the dozens (hundreds?) of URI-related observations and celebrations of the International Day of Peace coming on September 21. He additionally gives several excellent examples of ways that organizations and communities can participate.

By Rev. Canon Charles Gibbs

Dear Friends,

Greetings of love and peace.

I’m delighted, once again, to urge your observance of the United Nations’ International Day of Peace on September 21st – an inspiring opportunity for collective global action within the URI community, and in solidarity with the UN and our sisters and brothers in other peace seeking organizations around the world.

The International Day of Peace was established by the UN in 1981. Originally tied to the annual opening of the General Assembly, in 2001 its date was fixed annually on September 21.

Certainly, there has never been a greater need for people and organizations all over the world to come together for peace.

Here are three examples of how members of the URI community around the world are planning to observe the International Day of Peace:

  • In Columbo, Sri Lanka, the Shanti Sena CC is in the midst of a 60-day campaign working in villages across the country to support the fragile peace accord that promises an enduring end to Sri Lanka’s longstanding civil war through a variety of service projects and meditation/prayer for peace. This campaign will culminate with a national rally for peace on September 21. The rally is expected to draw 200,000 people from 15,000 villages to the capital, with simultaneous gatherings as well in several villages in different parts of the country.
  • In Manila, Philippines, the Peacebuilders CC is collaborating with other groups to sponsor a large peace rally as that country seeks to build an enduring peace.
  • In Santiago, Chile, the Foro Espiritual de Santiago por la Paz CC will hold a festival celebrating interfaith work for peace and praying for the success of work for peace in other parts of the world, including Sri Lanka.

If you have plans for September 21st, please let us know. If you don’t it’s not too late to create a meaningful observance. Here are a few suggestions of how you might participate:

  • Have a Moment of Silence for peace at 12 noon, in solidarity with the ringing of the Peace Bell at the UN, and do a simple, practical act of peace to benefit your local community.
  • Encourage local religious communities and schools to observe this Moment of Silence.
  • Hold an International Day of Peace Vigil - a full day of spiritual observance for peace. See www.idpvigil.com.
  • Plant a Peace Pole - plant a new one or re-dedicate an existing one.
  • Collaborate with UN offices and missions in your area in commemorating the Day. See www.un.org/events/peaceday.
  • Encourage your city, state, or national government to issue a proclamation declaring September 21st as a day of peace, nonviolence, and cease-fire. See www.internationaldayofpeace.org for ideas.
  • Ask your local media to publicize the International Day of Peace.

Again, on behalf of URI’s global community, I urge you to make plans to join in this global observance of peace. The world needs our best. We thank you, in advance, for your efforts and invite you to share your plans with the URI community.

Charles Gibbs

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