Each year, the International Day of Peace is observed worldwide on September 21. The UN General Assembly established this observance in 1981 by calling for a cessation of hostilities, and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.
To Global Volunteers, service is an active expression of peace through work projects helping children reach their full potential. During the pandemic, we have remained focused on our commitment to peace through service while our primary mission – recruiting and sending volunteers to partner communities – is suspended throughout our suffering world.
I call on people everywhere to be part of a transformation for peace, by standing up against hatred and discrimination, by caring for the planet, and by showing the global solidarity that is so vital at this time.António Guterres – United Nations Secretary-General
United as one world community – local people, volunteers, partners, donors, staff and supporters – Global Volunteers offers these messages of peace as we anticipate the time we can work hand-in-hand together again.
“If we want to reach real peace in this world, we should start educating children.”Mahatma Gandhi
Global Volunteers is fully committed to helping local parents, teachers and community leaders educate their children; recognizing that in village and community classrooms worldwide are the world’s future leaders. Peace through education is expressed as the heart of The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Education is also the heart of Global Volunteer’s service programs.
“You realize you have something in common with the people you’re working with. Service through Global Volunteers really is waging peace through justice worldwide.”Joan McInnis, 12-time Global Volunteer
In Nepal, every greeting is literally an expression of peace, as the customary Hindu gesture of Namaste translates to:
“I respect the humanity in you.”
Global Volunteers’ consultant and community partner, Buddhi Man Seresta, also an ordained minister, offers this prayer for peace: “Sovereign God, remind me of the example of Abraham and Abimelech, to resolve disagreements in a peaceful, just and fair manner whenever and wherever I encounter conflict.”
(Drawing by Panna Bohora, Papa’s House in Kathmandu, Nepal)
“It is not enough to win a war; it is more important to organize peace.” Δεν αρκεί να κερδίσεις έναν πόλεμο. είναι πιο σημαντικό να οργανώσουμε την ειρήνηAristotle, Greek Philosopher
“Loving your family, nurturing a healthy environment by developing relationship skills, and encouraging simple acts of kindness and caring is what peace is all about! Peace is not something we just wish for. It’s something we make; we do, we give away, it’s what we are. It does not mean being in a place where there is no noise, trouble, conflict, or hard work. It means being in the midst of everything and still being calm at heart!”
– Helen Pothos Epitropaki, Owner/Teacher at PLC Language Center, Heraklion, Crete
Photo: 5th-grader Soula
“Those of us who form FUNDAC consider that this beautiful word peace between human beings is achieved through dialogue and understanding. This leads us to resolve conflicts without violence and to work as a team to improve the quality of life. Peace allows us to have a harmonious coexistence, without fear. It allows us to trust that we are protected in our rights and receiving in an equitable way free access to cover our basic needs such as health, food, water, housing, and education in an appropriate environment.”Yolanda Garcia, President, Fundación de Damas Calderonenses (FUNDAC), Ecuador
“Peace is not something that is only achieved through agreements by governments. Peace and understanding are so often achieved through people from different cultures coming together to work for a common goal. Coming to Ecuador to serve is an extraordinary example of wanting to further intercultural understanding.”Maggie Bjorklund, Volunteer Engagement Manager and Ecuador Country Manager
“Peace is… the ultimate humanitarian value as it is the driving force of progress, prosperity, and culture. Above all, however, it is a way of life, and it starts from the realization that all people can and must resolve their differences with compromise and mutual concessions without resorting to aggression and violence.”Mary Pahiadaki, Director of the Women’s Association of Heraklion and The House of Angels Orphanage
“Once again, we humans have in our hands the possibility of reshaping our reality if we could only exchange our hate for love, our conflicts for peace, our selfishness for solidarity. It is all up to us, either staying home, wearing a mask or working for a vaccine. We are all meant to be the image of a powerful God. Let us honor that fact using the power in each of us for good!! We can do it, we shall overcome soon!!
-Pastor Eduardo Gonzalez, Global Volunteers’ Cuban host partner
left: A Cuban man flashes the peace sign.