The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by a unanimous United Nations resolution as a day “devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples.” Initially on the third Tuesday in September, in 2001 the General Assembly again voted unanimously to change the date to September 21 and to designate it as a period of non-violence and global ceasefire. Countless events and activities take place each year worldwide, emphasizing the importance of dialogue and understanding in resolving conflicts, including peace marches, discussions, and educational programs.
Each year, the day is centered around a theme that reflects the global situation. This year’s is Actions for Peace: Our Ambition for the #GlobalGoals, a call to action that recognizes individual and collective responsibility to foster peace. As United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has said, “Peace is needed today more than ever. War and conflict are unleashing devastation, poverty, and hunger, and driving tens of millions of people from their homes. Climate chaos is all around. And even peaceful countries are gripped by gaping inequalities and political polarization.” Thus, the pursuit of peace is not merely the absence of war, but also the presence of justice, equality, and cooperation. The International Day of Peace encourages us to envision a world where differences are celebrated, conflicts are resolved through dialogue, and the well-being of all individuals and societies is a shared priority.
Dubuque has chosen its own related theme for this year, Making Peace in Our Polarized Society. A series of events will take place throughout the month, which will include a keynote address by Dr. Peter T. Coleman entitled, "The Way Out: How to Overcome Toxic Polarization," Thursday, 21 September at 7pm in the ACC. All these events invite us to explore constructive conflict resolution and sustainable peace. Also, be sure to check out our book display on the main floor of the library and these ebooks focused on peacemaking.