Press Release Note No. 6276
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York
More Than 500 Students to Mark International Day of Peace at United Nations
Headquarters on Theme ‘Youth, Peace and Development’
Piano Damaged at Hiroshima and Japanese Youth Choir to Be Featured at Event
On Friday, 17 September, the United Nations Department of Public Information will organize the thirteenth student observance of the International Day of Peace under the theme “Youth, Peace and Development”, which combines the issues of peace, the Millennium Development Goals and the General Assembly’s proclamation of the International Year of Youth.
Hundreds of students from New York, Massachusetts, Philadelphia, Mexico and Canada and youth from more than 20 non-governmental organizations will gather at United Nations Headquarters for the event. They will be addressed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, Kiyo Akasaka. Madam Ban Soon-taek will preside over the closing ceremony.
In his message for the International Day of Peace Secretary-General Ban Ki–Moon said, “This year, Peace Day is dedicated to young people… Young people today are at home with global diversity; comfortable in an interconnected world. Yet they are also vulnerable to the forces of extremism. So I say to all Governments and our partners: let us do more for young people. Let us give them a world of peace and tolerance,” he said.
During the student observance, the conference participants will hear a video message from United Nations Messenger of Peace, environmentalist Jane Goodall, and engage in a question-and-answer session with Messengers of Peace, Nobel Laureate Professor Elie Wiesel and renowned violinist Midori, as well as with Goodwill Ambassadors, Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na (UNICEF), Belgian television host Goedele Liekens (UNFPA), Portuguese actress Catarina Furtado (UNFPA) and singer/songwriter Auggun (FAO). The Goodwill Ambassadors have also been appointed MDG Champions to advocate for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Two students, Ajarat Bada and Catherine Peter, from the initiative “One Young World” will moderate the event.
A special feature of the event will be a Japanese Youth Choir from Ritsumeikan Uji High School, Osaka, Japan. The choir will be accompanied by two pianists who will play a Hibaku piano which was damaged during the bombing of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945, and has since been restored for use in special concerts and events that promote peace.
Young people gathered at the United Nations peacekeeping missions in Liberia (UNMIL) and Sudan (UNMIS) will also join the observance via videoconference. Liberian students will address the African Union’s Initiative “2010 Year of Peace and Security in Africa”. A group from Bristol in the United Kingdom will discuss a youth project in Afghanistan. Students at United Nations Headquarters will present an initiative “Voices for Faith in Conflict”. Schools in Illinois will follow the webcast live and interact with students at the conference via e-mail.
The theme of the event, “Youth, Peace and Development”, acknowledges that peace enables development, which is critical to providing opportunities to the youth, particularly in countries emerging from conflict. Healthy and educated young people are crucial to sustainable development and peace and are integral and mutually reinforcing elements of the Millennium Development Goals. Such positive developments are being highlighted in the International Year of Youth, which was launched at the United Nations on 12 August as a period in which to harness the energy, imagination and initiative of the world’s youth in overcoming the challenges facing humankind, and seeks to promote the ideals of peace, respect for human rights, freedoms and solidarity, as well as to encourage young people to dedicate themselves to fostering progress of the Millennium Development Goals.
Students and teachers away from United Nations Headquarters are encouraged to follow the event live via webcast at http://cyberschoolbus.un.org/ and send in comments and questions for the presenters, or watch the event as an archived webcast.
The event is organized in collaboration with a group of non-governmental organizations, including Pathways to Peace, United Religions Initiative and World Peace Prayer Society. Student videoconferences are organized at United Nations Headquarters by the Education Outreach Cluster of the Department of Public Information to reach out to students around the world and to facilitate an exchange of views on United Nations priority issues. The student activities are an integral part of the Department of Public Information’s educational outreach activities.
For additional information, please contact Yvonne Acosta, Chief, Education Outreach Cluster, Department of Public Information, at e-mail: [email protected]; or Bill Yotive, Manager, Global Teaching and Learning Project, at e-mail: [email protected].