UPF Chapters Commemorate the International Day of Peace 2014
Written by UPF International
Sunday, September 21, 2014
UPF chapters in 42 nations organized program commemorating the UN International Day of Peace, Sept. 21, 2014. The theme chosen by the UN for 2014 was “The Right of Peoples to Peace.”
“We must douse the fires of extremism and tackle the root causes of conflict,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message on the occasion, which was read at many UPF events. “Peace is a long road that we must travel together – step by step, beginning today.”
A number of forums drew on the wisdom of people of diverse faiths: in Israel, on genocide prevention; in the USA, on identifying common grounds for people of faith to work together; in Nigeria, on working together to address interreligious strife; and in Norway, on insights into current affairs. Prayers for peace and symbolic expressions of interreligious harmony such as pouring water into a common bowl were part of programs in Benin, Germany, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Lithuania, New Zealand, Switzerland and the USA. People in the Marshall Islands and Solomon Islands gathered to study peace messages and offer prayers for peace.
A forum in the National Congress of Peru offered insights into peace, and programs in France, Italy and San Marino introduced UPF’s regional peace initiatives. Seminars on peace took place in Canada, Central African Republic, Colombia, Estonia, Gabon, Malaysia and the Netherlands. UPF-Argentina’s sixth annual International Poetry Contest for the International Day of Peace drew 343 entries from 25 nations on the theme “Roads and Bridges for Peace.”
The International Day of Peace was also an occasion to reach out to aid the less fortunate, such as orphans in Albania and students and the elderly in Nepal. In Sri Lanka, a house was built for a needy family.
Street fairs, festivals and peace walks brought the message of peace to the general public in Australia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, New Zealand, Nicaragua, and Russia. In Italy and Russia, UPF continued its tradition of annual sports competitions for youth that emphasize building character and new friendships. A bike ride for peace took place in Azerbaijan, and athletes ran from St. Petersburg, Russia through Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to promote dialogue among people of the Baltic nations.
In nations such as Cambodia, Indonesia and Nepal, presentations were given on character development, moral values and strengthening marriage and family.Programs were held at schools in Moldova, Thailand and Trinidad & Tobago.
The UN message for the day called on people around the world to “reflect on peace – and what it means for our human family. Let us hold it in our hearts and minds and tenderly nurture it so it may grow and blossom.”
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