It seems unimaginable that today we observe another UN International Day of Peace during the global pandemic. Yet, we know peace has taken on enhanced meaning as we confront the realities of those who have had little peace amidst the destruction of the ongoing health crisis. As the peace flag at the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the People is raised, we’re grateful for volunteers who have joined us in re-connecting with the world in the past three months, and honor their commitment to waging peace through service.
Peace in 2021: Recovering Better for an Equitable and Sustainable World.
On the UN Website announcing this year’s theme of inclusion and sustainability, the Secretary-General reminds us that the pandemic has affected the “underprivileged and marginalized groups” the hardest. Therefore, he says, “in 2021, as we heal from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are inspired to think creatively and collectively about how to help everyone recover better, how to build resilience, and how to transform our world into one that is more equal, more just, equitable, inclusive, sustainable, and healthier.”
Each year, the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September, declared by the UN General Assembly as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace by observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire. Of course, we understand that peace is more than the absence of conflict, and the “ideals of peace” is what animates Global Volunteers’ work around the world; specifically, to close disparities between peoples’ access to life’s basic resources and to enable children to reach their full human potential.
We continue to witness how thin the membrane is between our personal and national interests are from the rest of the world – and how pivotal our acts of compassion are when we reach outside ourselves. In that spirit, we offer you again a glimpse of Global Volunteers in partner communities in the USA and abroad – with wishes that on September 21, 2022, we will celebrate a unity that today seems to slip through our grasp.
Listening, Sharing, Respect: Volunteers offer thoughts of Peace.
In Montana, Poland, West Virginia and Tanzania, volunteers explored the meaning of peace through service in summer, 2021. We offer these observations as a springboard for your own reflection on waging peace during a time of global struggle and uncertainty.
“When you work alongside others, and listen to them, no matter who they are, there is peace.”Nadine Walters, Montana Volunteer, July, 2021.
“Understanding each other’s culture helps wage peace through understanding and respect. I respect the Blackfeet community so much more now that I’ve lived and worked with them.”Samantha Parker, Montana Volunteer, July 2021
“It’s always important that people know their stories are important. It’s a two-way street in life, and we appreciate others’ stories.”Karen Talbert, West Virginia Volunteer, July 2021