“We are a world in pieces. We need to be a world at peace.”
Today is the International Day of Peace, a day designated by the United Nations General Assembly as a period of non-violence and cease-fire. The theme for 2017 is “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.” The day is focused on the TOGETHER campaign launched by the United Nations in September 2016 to promote respect, safety and dignity for refugees and migrants and to counter the rise in xenophobia and discrimination.
At a time when there are an unprecedented number of people displaced from their homes, with nearly 20 people forcibly displaced every minute as a result of conflict or persecution. This day offers a chance to reflect on what we as individuals can do to work towards peace and to better support those who have been displaced by conflict and violence.
Politics across the globe has become increasingly contentious. Decisions and policies are portrayed as zero-sum games. Civility in tone and discourse has almost entirely disappeared. Respect appears to be at an all time low.
The tone of political discourse today can be counteracted. We need to make the effort to reach out across divides and build connections between different communities. Listening to each other, really hearing each other, and taking the time to consider a different viewpoint and experience is something we can all do.
We need to have respect for each other and recognition of our common ground, regardless of our differences.
No child should grow up fearing for their own future. Today there are 28 million children living in countries at war who are in need of humanitarian assistance. Every child should be able to grow up feeling safe and secure.
We need to work within our own communities to ensure every child is given the chance to thrive and we need to do more internationally to make sure every child, regardless of circumstances, has the same chance.
Dignity for All
Ensuring dignity for all is key to ensuring individual safety and respect. Dignity rests on recognizing the fundamental value of each individual, the contributions they can make, and the understanding that we are all connected in one global community.
This means that conflict and violence in all parts of the globe cannot be ignored simply because it is far away and has no direct impact on our daily lives. If we would not want to see our family, friends and loved ones placed in such circumstances, we cannot condone actions that lead others to be.
We must welcome those in need of help, provide support, comfort, and community and not isolation, anger, and distrust.
Working Towards World Peace
The International Day of Peace, is only one day and one day will not change the world. Instead we need to work towards a continuing change, within ourselves, within our communities, and further afield.
About the Author
Kate Seaman is the Assistant Director to the Bahá’í Chair for World Peace where she supports the research activities of the Chair. Kate is interested in understanding normative changes at the global level and how these changes impact on the creation of peace.