Friday, August 22, 2008

The International Day of Peace

The United Nations' International Day of Peace - marked every year on September 21 - is a global holiday when individuals, communities, nations and governments highlight efforts to end conflict and promote peace.

We the World, a non-governmental organization, provides a website with more than 700 associated events celebrating peace efforts during an eleven day period from September 11 to September 21, in support of the United Nations event.

“Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men

that the defences of peace must be constructed.”

The UNESCO Constitution

UNESCO was created in the aftermath of World War II as an integral part of the United Nations peace keeping system. UNESCO's function was the long-term effort to build the defenses of peace in the minds of men through the promotion of education, science and culture. The promotion of peace has always been central to its program.

Promotion of the Culture of Peace is one of UNESCO's special themes, cross cutting all of its sectoral programs. Among its actions are a number of prizes recognizing efforts to promote peace:

This prize, awarded biennially, supports activities designed to increase awareness and mobilize consciences in the cause of peace.
The Prize, established in 1989, is intended to honor living individuals, and active public or private bodies or institutions that have made a significant contribution to promoting, seeking, safeguarding or maintaining peace.
The UNESCO Cities for Peace Prize pays tribute to the initiatives of municipalities which have succeeded in strengthening social cohesion, improving living conditions in disadvantaged neighbourhoods and developing genuine urban harmony.
The International Peace Commission, which grew out ot the Houphouet-Boigny Peace Prize process, held its first meeting in UNESCO Headquarters, hosted by the Secretary General. The International Commission for Peace Research also grew out of the Houphouet-Boigny Peace Prize.

A New UNESCO Publication

The book Water and Peace for the People will be launched on 11 September at 6 p.m. at UNESCO Headquarters.
What if the countries in the Middle East had no choice but to get along in order to share the region’s meagre water resources? This is the starting premise of Jon Martin Trondalen’s book “Water and Peace for the People”, which will be launched on 11 September at UNESCO.

In an international climate of tension, conflicts related to water in the Middle East are more than ever in deadlock. “Water and Peace for the People”, released by UNESCO Publishing, offers a practical guide that suggests concrete ways to resolve these crises.

© Jon Martin Trondalen
Culvert for an irrigation from the
Euphrates River, South of Bagdad

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