Each year the International Day of Peace is celebrated around the world on 21 September. The UN has declared this as a “day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples”.
But does the world get more peaceful with each passing year?
Turn on your TV and the images of refugees flooding across Europe are a warning that the human cost and chaos of war have not ceased – and are closer than we like to think.
For a charity like Peace Direct, it’s a daunting prospect. But we have grounds for hope. Because in almost every conflict there are local organisations and people building peace. They’re the forgotten players in many conflicts, and they receive barely enough funding to cover their costs. But in our experience, they can make a difference at the grassroots, where conflicts so often begin.
Today’s wars are mostly internal, within states, and they reflect local tensions and disputes. Local peacebuilders are the obvious key to unlocking those tensions, with their ability to see conflicts coming and deal with them before they escalate.
That’s why we fund projects that prevent terrorism in Pakistan, or reconcile hostile communities in Sri Lanka, or disarm and resettle guerrilla fighters in Congo. This is all part of a spectrum of peacebuilding activities that can heal ancient hatreds and stop them from recurring.
Peace is much more than just the absence of war, but whatever it means, peace is personal. That’s why for #PeaceDay, we’re asking you to share the meaning of peace in your lives.
Let us know what peace means to you by tagging us on social media and using the #whatpeacemeans hashtag. You can also email us at [email protected].
Share your message, photo or a short video that shows what peace means to you for the chance to have your message shared as part of our #PeaceDay campaign.
Chat to a friend, a colleague or neighbour to find out what peace looks like through their eyes.