On September 21, 2018, I encourage you to join people around the world in celebrating the 37th annual International Day of Peace, informally known as “Peace Day.”
Established by a unanimous United Nations resolution, Peace Day provides a globally shared day for all of humanity to contribute to building a Culture of Peace in our world and recognizing the value of peace.
Anyone anywhere can celebrate Peace Day. Millions of people in dozens of countries do so. It can be as simple as lighting a candle at 12 noon or just sitting in silent meditation. Or it can involve getting your friends, family, organization, community or government engaged in a large event. You could also celebrate the day by learning or practicing NVC!
When I think about Peace Day, I think of the creator of Nonviolent Communication, Dr. Marshall Rosenberg (1934-2015). Marshall dreamed of a world in which people’s needs could be met peacefully, without violence or coercion, and with mutuality and creativity.
And while Nonviolent Communication is often applied in interpersonal and family settings, Marshall worked tirelessly to find ways his work could be used in political and conflicts and in organizations.
Want to learn more about Marshall and his ideas? Read an interview I did with him published in The Sun Magazine titled, “Beyond Good and Evil: Marshall Rosenberg on Creating a Nonviolent World.” In this interview, Marshall speaks about how a peaceful approach is the only sustainable way forward we have as a species.
The impact of millions of people in all parts of the world, coming together for one day of peace, is enormous. Peace Day is also a Day of Ceasefire – abstaining from political and personal violence. Violence and war clearly impact us human beings, leading to loss, death, and suffering. It also greatly impacts other life on the planet, and the environment.
What would peaceful solutions to conflict look like? I think it is key to begin imagining this world. Sometimes I hear people say that peace is not realistic; that there always has been war, and there always will be.
Yet books such as Walter Wink’s The Powers that Be and Rianne Eisler’s, The Chalice and the Blade, (books that Marshall often referenced) suggest otherwise: human beings, for thousands of years in our early history, lived peacefully. And we can again. I believe that peace and peacemaking are a kind of technology. If we can focus our resources sufficiently to send people to the moon, create computers, and develop vaccines, we can also discover how to resolve differences peacefully, including on the international level.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights inspires us to continue working to ensure all people can gain freedom, equality, and dignity. These are some of the key ingredients to creating peace in our world.
Take a moment and Imagine: What would a whole day of peace mean to your family, community, the planet and the world? And what is one thing you can do today—even if it’s making a phone call, meditating, or listening to another person empathically, that will generate greater harmony and peace in the world?