2012 International Day of Peace
International Day of Peace celebration in Wellington
About the International Day of Peace
Observance of the Day began in 1982, following the 1981 UN General Assembly Resolution (A/RES/36/67) which reaffirmed that "since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defence of peace must be constructed" and declared the third Tuesday of September, the opening day of the regular session of the General Assembly each year, "shall be officially dedicated and observed as the International Day of Peace and shall be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples".
In 2001, a further General Assembly Resolution (A/RES/55/282) proclaimed that from 2002, the Day would in future be observed on 21 September each year; and in addition to the original purpose, declared that henceforth the International Day of Peace would also "be observed as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence, an invitation to all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities for the duration of the Day".
The International Day of Peace is marked each year at the UN Headquarters in New York by a ceremony near the Peace Bell. At 10am (local time, 2pm GMT, 2am on 22 September here), the UN Secretary-General delivers a message for peace, then rings the bell and calls on people throughout the world to reflect for a moment on the universal goal of peace. Following a moment of silence, the President of the Security Council makes a statement on behalf of Council members.
Peace and community groups around the world mark the Day in a number of different ways - more information about the Day, and what is happening around the world, is available on the International Day of Peace site, and the UN International Day of Peace site.
About the International Day of Prayer for Peace
The International Day of Prayer for Peace is also observed on 21 September. It is organised by the World Council of Churches (WCC) as part of their 'Decade to Overcome Violence: Churches Seeking Reconciliation and Peace' initiative. It began in 2004 following a meeting between the WCC General Secretary Rev Dr Samuel Kobia and the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and is "an opportunity for church communities in all places to pray and act together to nurture lasting peace in the hearts of people, their families, communities and societies."