The International Day of Peace began on the 21st of September 1981 and was organised by the United Nations General Assembly. Its purpose is to “provide a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to peace above all differences and contribute to building a culture of peace”.  The International Day of Peace aims for a 24-hour cease-fire between all warring parties, encouraging cooperation across borders and compassion during a global pandemic. 

What does peace mean?

Peace means freedom from disturbance, a time of tranquillity when you’re not disturbed by anyone or anything. Peace involves understanding each other and working together to find solutions to problems. 

Any other approach to dealing with difficult issues causes pain and suffering, so International Day of Peace functions to facilitate the conditions where peaceful solutions can come about.  On global and individual scales, peace requires respect and compassion.

The COVID-19 Impact on peace

In 2021, as we heal from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are inspired to think creatively and collectively about how to help everyone recover better, how to build resilience, and how to transform our world into one that is more equal, more just, equitable, inclusive, sustainable, and healthier.

The pandemic is known for affecting the underprivileged and marginalised groups the hardest. By April 2021, over 687 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered globally, but over 100 countries have not received a single dose. People caught in conflict are especially vulnerable in terms of lack of access to healthcare.

COVID-19 Discrimination and Stigma

The pandemic has been accompanied by a surge in stigma, discrimination, and hatred, which only cost more lives than saving them.  The virus attacks all without caring about where we are from or our beliefs. Confronting this common enemy of humankind, we must be reminded that we are not each other’s enemy. To recover from the devastation of the pandemic, we must make peace with one another.

2021 Theme

The 2021 theme for the International Day of Peace is “Recovering better for a sustainable and an equitable world”. We invite you to join the efforts of the United Nations family as we focus on recovering better for a more equitable and peaceful world. Celebrate peace by standing up against acts of hate online and offline and by spreading compassion, kindness, and hope in the face of the pandemic and as we recover.

“It isn’t enough to talk about peace.
One must believe in it.
And it isn’t enough to believe in it.
One must work at it.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

Author: Eleanor Samsodien
Co-Chair: The Samsodien Foundation NPC


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