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United Nations Peace Bell Ceremony starts International Day of Peace

Each year, the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on September 21 and begins with a Peace Bell Ceremony where they ring the Japanese Peace Bell – an official gift of the Japanese people to the United Nations in 1954 - and observe a moment of silence.The gesture has left a lasting impression because at the time the Association of Japan presented the gift, they had not yet been officially admitted into the U.N.


The International Day of Peace was officially established in 1981 by the U.N. General Assembly and in 2001, was unanimously voted to designate the day as a period of non-violence and ceasefire, according to the U.N.

 

Sarah Horn, from the Office of Global Learning, and exchange student Peter Mate from FDU’s Vancouver Campus attended the Peace Bell Ceremony, which was held this year on Friday, September 16. "Peace is the prerequisite of international development. Therefore, it is essential that we achieve worldwide peace in the 21st century so that the world may focus on other equally pressing issues, such as sustainable housing and education". Mate said. 

 

Each year, many celebrities and important world figures attend the Peace Bell Ceremony.  This year, U.N. Messengers of Peace, Leonardo DiCaprio (who promoted his new film, “Live by Night”), Michael Douglas, and Jane Goodall attended the event.  Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public information Cristina Gallach were also in attendance. Before ringing the bell, Secretary-General Ban said, “You know best of all that peace is not an accident.  Peace is not a gift.  Peace is something we must all work for – every day – in every country.” Peter Thomson, President of the 71st Session of the General Assembly, spoke at the ceremony of the humble origins of the UN and how far the world has come since then. “Standing here in this hallowed space, we are reminded of the origins of the UN – an institution born from the ashes of World War II, as a beacon of hope to bring lasting peace of a traumatized world,” Thomson said. He spoke of the necessary steadfastness in working towards peace in order to achieve a better future for humanity as a whole.

 

The 2016 theme is “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace.”  In 2015, the 193 Member States of the United Nations unanimously adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals.   The hope is that by 2030, countries will have made progress in achieving the goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all, according to the U.N.

 

The U.N. feels that “The Sustainable Development Goals” are so integral to achieving peace because it is essentially a “social contract between the world’s leaders and the people.”

The goals are expected to be successful because they address present needs without sabotaging the needs of future generations.  “The Sustainable Development Goals” are multi-generationally inclusive and adapt as the times change. “The U.N. invites all nations and people to honor a cessation of hostilities during the Day, and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace,” the website reports.



 

 

Date:
Monday, September 19, 2016
 
Author:
Melanie Perez