The International Day of Peace

Posted: 22nd September 2016

“The chance to wake up without a fear of violence”

On Wednesday 21st September 2016 St Augustine’s Priory marked the International Day of Peace. Established in 1981 by the United Nations, the International Day of Peace is observed annually on 21st September.  Every year the United Nations calls on warring parties to lay down their arms and observe a 24-hour global ceasefire and to otherwise commemorate the day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.

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The symbolism of a day without fighting is a crucial reminder that conflict can and must come to an end. Mrs Macallister, Senior Form Teacher, led an assembly on Monday 19th September, reminding us of the reasons that we celebrate the International Day of Peace, showing  the girls a map of the ways in which it is observed globally, including through meditation, music and organised marches.  As the girls were being dismissed from assembly Mrs Macallister asked us to think this week about “what the International Day of Peace means to you”.

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On Wednesday 21st September at 12.00 noon St Augustine’s Priory marked the International Day of Peace by observing a minute’s silence.  Aptly named the ‘Peace Wave’ the minute’s silence occurs every year at noon in all time zones across the world, creating a silent ‘wave’ of people remembering the reasons for the day.  Mrs Cotton, Deputy Head Seniors, said “with everything that is going on in the world and the news yesterday that a UN aid convoy was attacked in Syria during a supposed ceasefire, this gesture is very apposite”.

Each year the International Day of Peace has a theme, yesterday’s being ‘The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace’. Previous observances included ‘Education for Peace’, ‘Youth for Peace and Development’ and ‘Human Rights and Peacekeeping’.

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At St Augustine’s Priory the girls used their PSHEE and RE lessons to explore their own ideas of peace. Form III Alpha wrote their own definitions of peace, Form III A used their Bible skills to find quotes about peace, and both classes then wrote their statements about peace on paper doves to create a display.  Classes also held short prayer services in the Prayer Garden to mark the International Day of Peace.

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Mrs Macallister concluded her assembly on Monday by saying that the International Day of Peace is a reminder that ordinary people around the world want to live in peace, that ceasefires can lead to permanent solutions, and that so many of us are fortunate to live in relatively peaceful times.

In their discussion yesterday, Emily Delargy of Upper IV A said “It is important to spread awareness and give people the chance to wake up without a fear of violence”

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