Today, as we celebrate International Day of Peace, I hope that we can all take the lessons from local peacebuilders and embody them now, not tomorrow or next week. If we believe in our own power, take the lead in building peace in our communities, and engage other people directly in this, there may well be a time we no longer need to mark one day as International Day of Peace. This is my #messageofhope.
Now in its fourth year, our Tomorrow’s Peacebuilders awards offer global recognition for grassroots peace activists in conflict affected countries all over the world. These are the only global awards for local peacebuilders – inspiring individuals who are building a better tomorrow in the world’s most fragile places.
Every competitor at the 2016 Olympics will have undergone a personal journey to reach Rio. But for some athletes, notably a number of refugee competitors, the path has been truly life changing. And despite leaving everything behind in their country of origin, not living nor having a conducive environment for years, no flag, no national anthem. It is historical, truly an exciting and life changing opportunity for refugees to take part in the Olympics for the first time.
Youth can be, and are, positive role models for society. As much as violence has knocked them down, they’ve stood back up. Today’s youth fight for a better tomorrow because they’re the ones who are forced to live in it. This International Youth Day we celebrate the young people building peace across the world.
Today’s one year commemoration of the outbreak of violence in Burundi reminds us that as the suffering of the Burundian people continues, local organisations on the ground are redoubling their efforts to stop violence, often risking their own safety in the process. We must do everything we can to support them, and begin the journey on a path to peace.
We would like to say a huge thank you to Natalia Whiteside, who organised another A Piece for Peace fundraiser at St Luke’s Prestonville in Brighton last Sunday. Bettering last year’s success, the day raised more than £1,000 over a coffee morning with homemade cakes and an auction of beautiful local artwork.