For 35 years, the International Day of Peace on September 21 has served as a rallying point for governments, organizations and ordinary people working to help end violent conflict around the world.
This year, in spite of the violence and terrorism that dominate our news, it is critical that we remember that the world is also seeing great feats of peace. Colombians have signed a peace accord to end a 52-year-old war, and will vote on ratifying it in just a few weeks. Adjacent to Iraq’s war zones, peacemakers in Tikrit have sustained a peace accord that has let more than 300,000 displaced people return home and restore normal life. Myanmar continues a democratic transition marked by two successful national elections after nearly 50 years of military rule.
And while the last half century has seen a substantial decrease in deaths due to violent conflict, the recent increase in terrorism and a record number of people forced from their homes is a spur to redouble our commitment to building peace. Peace is indeed possible, but it requires constant vigilance and action.
For the second year in a row, the United States Institute of Peace is leading the #PeaceDayChallenge to encourage millions of people around the world to take personal, tangible steps to improve peace in their homes, communities or countries. Today, Peace Day Challenge events are planned in 36 states nationwide and in countries and conflict zones around the world, from Tunisia to Tacoma.
Peace is a process, and it’s important to think of the International Day of Peace as a jumping off point for action. What we do as individuals, as neighbors and as active citizens ultimately can make a difference when we make it sustained and strategic. At a time when we are more globally interconnected than ever, individual and collective actions matter. Peacebuilding is no longer confined to the domain of diplomats, but rests on the actions of all of us. So join us in the #PeaceDayChallenge. Find YOUR idea for action.