September 21st is the official United Nations International Day of Peace. It is also called, “World Peace Day”. This is the day that all the countries of the world should be celebrating peace, stop all war, and to stop all forms of violence between countries.
The International Day of Peace was first started in 1981. The countries to sponsor this new day was the United Kingdom and Costa Rica. Today 79 countries around the world celebrate this very important international day.
Unfortunately there are too many countries around the world that continue violent action against people. There are many countries fighting in the Middle East. There is still a war in Afghanistan. That war is now 22 years old. Congo has a war that is 18 years old. The war in Mexico for drug crime has been continuing for 17 years. There is still war in Nigeria, Syria, Yemen, and our most recent war of Russia in Ukraine shows us that there are too many wars on our Earth.
War is a terrible thing. Your generation and my generation are very lucky. We have not had war in our lives. It is very surprising because for many countries around the world, especially in the Middle East and in Africa, there are many wars that happen often. Our study of history is often a study of one war after another war after another war, continuing on for hundreds and hundreds of years.
We should perhaps think that because we are so lucky to live in a peaceful country, and to have a peaceful life, we should do something good. We should promote peace. We should talk about peace. We should do everything we can to continue and to protect our peace.
When we think about the International Day of Peace it is easy to think that war is the main problem. But “war” is not the only opposite word for “peace”. We have trouble with violence, and hate, and racism, and lies. All of these things are also the enemies of peace.
We need to promote peace that says “no” to violence.
We need to promote peace that says “no” to bullying.
We need to promote peace that says “no” to hate against other people.
Protecting peace can be done in our own homes, communities, and schools. Protecting our environment is protecting a peaceful world, and a peaceful nature. Protecting our friends from people who make trouble or who bully is also a kind of promotion of peace. Supporting our community police and fire stations and hospitals is also a form of protecting peace.
When you are a student of Otemae you are a student of many subjects. You learn about science and mathematics, social studies and art, P.E. and English, and music. But you are also a student of peace. Intelligence and knowledge makes you a better person. And when you finish your studies one day at Otemae you will have a job and a career. You will probably be a leader in your future work, and you will know what a good thing is, and what a bad thing is. It will be your turn in life to be a promoter and protector of peace.
In the future there will be two very big challenges for you. The first is the terrible situation that the environment is in. Climate Change is a serious problem, and it is a kind of violence against the earth. We need a peaceful solution to this problem. The other problem will be economic imbalance between the very rich and the very poor. The economy can also be used to damage people, so we will also need better and more peaceful economic solutions for the future too.
Today is the International Day of Peace for the world. It is not such a popular holiday, but we need to hope that more people will recognized that World Peace Day should not just be once a year, but it should be something we have every day. Only 79 countries recognize the International Day of Peace, so we need to continue pushing forward until every country in the world celebrates this day too.
Happy World Peace Day, everyone. Let’s appreciate the incredible gift we have today of peace.