The United Nations (UN) observed the International Day of Peace (IDP) on Friday, Sept 19th with the theme, “The Right of Peoples to Peace.” URI works with the UN Department of Public Information Outreach Division, the World Peace Prayer Society, the Jane Goodall Institute and Pathways To Peace to help organize the student participation and the program for the International Day of Peace Student Observance at UN Headquarters.
Five hundred youth came to the United Nations from various states and countries to be a part of the morning programs. URI Cooperation Circles who attended this event include: Women Transcending Boundaries, Interfaith Works, University of Rochester Chapel, Protecting the Sacred, and URI UN. Rebecca Tobias, URI NA Trustee and URI UN Representative, attended the event and helped connect the International Day of Peace to the People’s Climate March, UN Summit on Climate Change and the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples.
Participants carried the UN Flag and the 193 flags of the Member States to the Peace Bell Ceremony from the Student Observance. This year, Chief Arvol Looking Horse, one of URI’s delegates to the World Summit on Indigenous Issues, carried the UN Flag at the Peace Bell Ceremony. Along with his wife, Paula Horne, he met Dr. Jane Goodall at the Peace Bell Ceremony.
Both UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the 69th President of the General Assembly Sam Kahamba Kutesa rang the Peace Bell and addressed the gathering. Special guests also included UN Messengers of Peace Dr. Jane Goodall, Yo Yo Ma and Midori Goto, along with Monique Coleman, Ambassador for ‘Girls UP’ campaign of UN Women. The event was also attended by UN dignitaries and staff. The webcast can be found here.
Student Observance 2014
Maher Nasser, who, along with the DPI’s Outreach Division Team, organizes this annual Student Observance for the International Day of Peace, introduced the UN Secretary-General. He was followed by presentations from Messengers of Peace Dr. Jane Goodall, Yo-Yo Ma and Midori Goto. Yo-Yo Ma and Midori Goto also gave moving performances during this program. Monique Coleman, for the UN Women program, Girls UP, also offered an inspiring presentation.
The webcast for the program can be found here.
Messengers of Peace Jane Goodall, Yo-Yo Ma and Midori Goto, as well as ”Girls UP”’s Monique Coleman, joined student moderator Julie Paquette from Canada.
Webcast into the conference from the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Bukavu, Goma and Kinshasa, at the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) joined the Student Observance. Students from each of the Peacekeeping Mission locations were able to share and ask questions of the panel. They were also part of the Minute of Silence and the student presentations.
Minute of Silence at 12noon
At 12noon, Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, wife of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, rang the peace bell made from recycled weapons. She joined the IDP NGO Committee at the UN Co-Chairs Deborah Moldow and myself for the World Peace Prayer Ceremony, along with Michael Johnson of Pathways To Peace and Shawn Sweeney. The Jane Goodall Institute introduced the International Day of Peace Minute of Silence. The Minute of Silence ended by sending our messages of peace to all the countries of the world. In unison, everyone in the room called out the name of the country on the flag they were holding to send them this special message of peace. Together we all said: “May Peace Prevail on Earth!”
International Day of Peace 2014 Student Presentations
Twelve students were chosen to present their peace projects at the UN Student Observance of the International Day of Peace to highlight some of the many ways to build a culture of peace.
1. Charlotte Juergens, from Abolition 2000 and Yale University, shared the urgent need for this generation to work for nuclear abolition.
2. Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, Earth Guardians, came from Colorado to share his passion for the environment and the People’s Climate March that will be happening on Sept 21 in NYC.
3. Yasmeen Adams from Curtis High School in NYC shared her experiences that led to the development of her program, Angry for Peace, designed to end bullying in school.
4. Anthony Vargas shared how Roots and Shoots helped him address bullying and how his program for peer to peer mentoring is now in the process of being adopted by the NY City and State legislatures.
5. Cimone Jordan and Ranya Shannon came with Interfaith Works CC from Syracuse, NY to share their work with Seeds of Peace.
6. Yashasvi Raj traveled from Lexington, MA to share Lighting a Path to Peace, a project to provide and teach the technology for solar power pads to provide light for students to study.
7. Ezra Baccar and Stephanie Salazar came from the University of Rochester to share The Compassion Games and how their school is observing the International Day of Peace.
8.Neil Parikh talked about the Vegan Festival he is helping to organize at the International Mahavira Jain Mission in NJ this November to share how what you eat can help build inner peace and peace with the animal kingdom.
9. Riad Hamade from the University of Pennsylvania shared the Fellowship for Building Intracultural Communities, a program developed by Joyce Kim , to foster dialogue about various religions and cultures with students.
10. Elizabeth Bier from NYC and Miriam Zaga from Mexico City work together at Journey for Peace, an organization that builds peace by making, sharing and discussing art from other cultures.
11. Philippe Tousignant came from Canada to share EduConnexion, a student project that measured 53,000 of volunteer hours in 2013 working on global citizenship, human rights and the environment.
12. Martin Olavarricta Maturana came from Mexico to share the work of Fundacion Cultural Baur in creating murals on walls of schools, hospitals and public places to express beauty, hope and positive messages for peace.