International Day of Peace at the United Nations-September 19, 2008

The World Peace Prayer Society was again proud to partner with the UN Department of Public Information, Pathways To Peace and the United Religions Initiative to organize the student observance of the International Day of Peace at the United Nations in our twelfth year of collaboration.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

Because September 21st fell on a Sunday this year, the UN observance was held on Friday, September 19th. The beautiful autumn day began with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon ringing the Peace Bell in the UN Garden, surrounded by celebrity Messengers of Peace Michael Douglas, Jane Goodall, Midori Goto, and Elie Wiesel. Children raised the flags of all 192 UN Member States in a glorious display of the color and diversity of the nations of the world.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

They all proceeded to Conference Room 4, where 800 students and chaperones had seen an on-screen display of winners of the Peace Pals Art Exhibition. The students were treated to a performance of authentic didgeridoo music from Australia, before hearing greetings by the Secretary-General, the President of the UN General Assembly, the president of the International Association of University Presidents, and the Messengers of Peace.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

In addition to these exciting presenters in the room, there were also live satellite broadcasts from UN Peacekeeping sites in Afghanistan, Liberia and Sierra Leone. An uplifting rap song by Tynan Whalan of the Railroad Street Youth Project in Massachusetts was warmly received, and four impressive student projects were presented by young representatives of Roots and Shoots, World Vision, Amnesty International, and the Big Book: Pages for Peace Foundation. The youth moderator was former gang member Rudy Balles, who now works with Peace Jam, an organization dedicated to educating young leaders through the work of the Nobel Peace Laureates.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

Everyone enjoyed the grand finale, an inspiring World Peace Flag Ceremony. Students carried the flags of the Member States, while those still seated read along with the country list. In between regions, everyone chanted, “May Peace Prevail on Earth,” which was also displayed on the giant screens with regional maps. Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, wife of the Secretary-General, graciously came forward to wave the flag of the United Nations for the joyful finish. This colorful ceremony provided a perfect close to the event, honoring the spirit of the United Nations by sending a heartfelt message of peace around the world.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

The Department of Public Information has already invited the World Peace Prayer Society to partner in organizing next year’s International Day of Peace student observance, along with our work to promote the day worldwide. We are currently compiling a report for the United Nations from countless places across the globe where the International Day of Peace was marked with the prayer, “May Peace Prevail on Earth!”

Comments are closed.