Peace Day Philly and U.N. International Day of Peace
By Lisa Parker founder of Peace Day Philly
Peace Day Philly formed in 2011 to encourage local participation in the U.N. International Day of Peace, observed worldwide on September 21. Peace Day Philly’s logo includes the words “Personal - Local - Global” - expressing the essential interconnectivity between different levels of peace.
A primary focus for Peace Day Philly has been on outreach to diverse organizations about the International Day of Peace and engaging in dialogue to support organizations in identifying meaningful ways to participate. Peace Day Philly not only encourages one day programs and activities, but activities such as peace skill training, program series and building ongoing collaborations in an effort to expand the impact of Peace Day and contribute to forwarding a Culture of Peace. As a member of International City of Peace and the CITIES Peace Team of the International Day of Peace NGO Committee at the UN, Peace Day Philly is part of an ongoing global exchange of ideas, challenges and best practices related to Peace Day.
Mayor Nutter has supported Peace Day Philly’s work through a quote of support and a video (click here to see the video). In addition, the Pennsylvania State Senate passed a Resolution in 2012 and 2013 in support of broad citizen participation in Peace Day (click here to see the Resolution).
For both 2012 and 2013, there were over 30 peace related events offered by diverse organizations across the city as part of Peace Day Philly. For both years, Peace Day Philly activities spanned an entire week and included: peace education trainings, concerts, community events, panel discussions, art activities and exhibitions, film, meditation, and observing the global minute of silence at noon. Special guest speakers for 2013 included Philadelphia’s Poet Laureate Sonia Sanchez and the U.S. Program Manager for the Institute for Economics and Peace (creator of the Global Peace Index). There also were a number of schools and libraries that engaged in peace activities. Additionally, the Philadelphia Police Department offered 30+ activities each year in neighborhoods across the city, understanding that interacting with residents in non law-enforcement ways is a valuable investment.
Peace Day Philly’s website, www.peacedayphilly.org includes many resources and links related to peace activities that can be used by planners and citizens in cities worldwide.
Peace Day Philly is on Facebook and on Twitter @peacedayphilly.
Lisa Parker, M.S.S., is a Philadelphia native and social worker by training who has worked in various social service, educational, and mental health programs. She also worked with Southeast Asian refugees in a culturally responsive public health program and has experience in the creative arts and non-profit programming. Lisa also serves as Co-Chair of the CITIES Peace Team of the International Day of Peace NGO Committee at the United Nations – a global group of Peace Day organizers. As of March 2014, Lisa became a United Nations NGO Representative for the World Peace Prayer Society.
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This article appears in:
2014 Catalyst, Issue 11: International Cities of Peace - 1000 by 2020