Peace Bell

The International Day of Peace has been observed since 1983.

The Japanese Peace Bell was presented to the United Nations in June 1954 by the United Nations Association of Japan. It was cast from coins collected by people from 60 different countries including children, and housed in a typically Japanese structure, resembling a Shinto shrine, made of cypress wood.

It has become a tradition to ring the bell twice a year: on the first day of Spring, at the Vernal Equinox, and on 21 September to coincide with the opening of the General Assembly. In 2002, the General Assembly set 21 September as the permanent date for the International Day of Peace.

Over the years, it has grown to include hundreds of thousands of people, showing their commitment to peace in diverse and creative ways. Peace Day events are organized by individuals and organizations all over the world. Peace Day celebrations also include annual observations at the UN headquarters, as well as many UN operations and offices around the world.

Peacebuilding 101

Peacebuilding is different from “peacemaking” and “peacekeeping” in that it focuses on creating a long-term culture of peace, rather than solving existing conflicts or preventing old ones from re-occurring. Peacebuilding activities aim at building understanding and tolerance between individuals, communities and societies and establishing new structures of cooperation. Peacebuilding activities range in scale from personal acts of kindness toward others to global inter-governmental programs.

Peacebuilding is the construction of new environments and new cultures which transform deficient structures and capabilities which unite the strengths of emerging innovations in all pathways of our local-global planetary life. Peacebuilding creates and maintains beneficial conditions for sustainable (life-enhancing) social, economic, political and spiritual development of all peoples. Learn more here.

The UN’s website dedicated to this special day has many ideas to plan and celebrate your own Peace Day event:

  • Art & Culture
  • Media
  • Music & Performance
  • Petitions/Government
  • Education
  • Spiritual
  • Sports/Health
  • Other/Mixed
  • Kids

Dag Hammarskjöld the 2nd Secretary-Generalhas said:Unless there is spiritual renaissance, the world will know no peace.” The United Nations has a long history and base in spirituality. A wonderful blog post by Diane Williams details some of this foundation, together with some eye-opening information and links to other spiritual NGOs.

And you can read the message of the Secretary-General in 2007 in the post I published on this blog.

Peace includes many things such has having the basic necessities of life, being secure in home and finance, having a healthy environment, welfare of family, an inner practice of loving kindness, and elevating others to have the same.

At this critical time in world history please dedicate time, as well as mind and heart power to the ideal and function of peace.

An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind. — Mahatma Gandhi

International Day of Peace Sept 21, 2008