It all started in 1981 when the United Nations established the International Day of Peace to ‘strengthen the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples’.
Then in 2001 a remarkable man had a remarkable idea to lobby for a fixed annual Day of Peace. That man was Jeremy Gilley, a peace activist, who, driven by personal determination and commitment, successfully persuaded all 191 member states to permanently fix the date of the International Day of Peace to 21st September.
The UN resolution 55/282 in 2001 reaffirmed the International Day of Peace to be held on 21st September each year and stated this Day should be brought to the attention of ‘all people for celebration and observance of peace’.
Since then and on this day, all peoples across the world unite to commemorate the International Day of Peace through civic events, education, public awareness campaigns and private reflection and every year to inaugurate the date, the Peace Bell is rung at UN Headquarters.
Inspired by the message of the International Day of Peace and coupled with our desire to contribute to a sustainable peace and promote non-violence in our communities, Springboard started a local campaign in 2007 to encourage all to mark the Day and rededicate our ongoing commitment to a peaceful society.
After experiencing over 30 years of armed conflict, we know that a ceasefire can make an enormous difference. It is one day to feel safe, one day that is almost normal, one day of hope, one day for dialogue, one day for aid……………..one day that might lead to two days. We also know that coming together with one voice to celebrate peace and promote non-violence where we live, work, learn and play can be a powerful unifying message in building a culture of peace in our society.
The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by a United Nations resolution. In establishing the Day, the United Nations General Assembly decided that it would be appropriate ‘…to devote a specific time to concentrate the efforts of the United Nations and its member states, as well as the whole of mankind, to promoting the ideals of peace and to giving positive evidence of their commitment to peace in all viable ways…(the International Day of Peace)..should be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples’.
The Assembly’s resolution declared that the International Day of Peace ‘will serve as a reminder to all peoples that our Organisation, with all its limitations, is a living instrument in the service of peace and should serve all of us here within the Organisation as a constantly pealing bell, reminding us that our permanent commitment, above all interests or differences of any kind, is to peace. May this Peace day indeed be a day of peace.’
On 7 September 2001, UN General Assembly Resolution 55/282 permanently fixed the date of the International Day of Peace to 21st September.
‘The Assembly, reaffirming the contribution that the observance and celebration of the International Day of Peace makes in strengthening the ideals of peace and alleviating tensions and causes of conflict, (decided that) beginning with the fifty-seventh session, the Day should be observed on 21 September each year, with this date to be brought to the attention of all people for the celebration and observance of peace.’
The new Resolution added the call for the International Day of Peace to be a Global Ceasefire:
The Resolution : ‘Declares that the International Day of Peace shall henceforth be observed as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence, an invitation to all Nations and People to honour a cessation of Hostilities for the Duration of the Day….
Invites all member states, organisations of the United Nations system, and non-governmental organisations and individuals to commemorate, in an appropriate manner, the International Day of Peace, including through education and public awareness, and to cooperate with the United Nations in the establishment of the global ceasefire.’