By Rev. Deborah Moldow
At 3:00pm on September 21, 1982, the 37th session of the United Nations General Assembly opened by inviting the 157 Permanent Representatives to stand for a Minute of Silence to observe the first International Day of Peace, which had been established unanimously by a resolution sponsored by Costa Rica the previous November. This resolution was the product of 20 years of effort by a group of people both inside the United Nations and in civil society that included Avon Mattison, founder of Pathways To Peace. Avon observed the Minute of Silence in gratitude for this great step toward world peace. The following year, she invited members of peace organizations around the world to join in the Minute of Silence at noon in every time zone, to co-create a “peace wave” that would circle the globe.
In 2001, actor Jeremy Gilley of Peace One Day inspired the United Kingdom and Costa Rica to co-sponsor a second resolution stabilizing the date of the International Day of Peace on September 21 and making it an annual day of global cease-fire and nonviolence. Since it is no longer on the opening day of the General Assembly, the delegates do not observe the Minute of Silence on the 21st. However, the Secretary-General continues to ring the Peace Bell for silence commemorating Peace Day each year and worldwide celebrations have expanded exponentially. Peace One Day reports that 2 billion people heard about the International Day of Peace in 2016 and estimates that 16 million engaged in activities for peace in honor of the day — ranging from conferences, workshops and service projects to concerts, sports events and Peace Pole dedications. September 21 is truly a peoples’ day for peace.
The spiritual heart of the International Day of Peace remains that Minute of Silence at noon. We will never be able to measure how many people stop for a minute on September 21 to meditate or visualize a world at peace. Yet this is key.
You are reading The Catalyst because you are part of the great transformation in human consciousness that is taking place right now, in our own lifetimes. We are moving from long eras of focus on our own tribe’s concerns to an awakening planetary consciousness in which we see ourselves as part of an interrelated web of life. Although this transformation is affecting everyone, you are part of a community that is aware of this rapid evolution and is leading the way. You are healing your body and your relationships. You are building new ways to educate, to govern, to work and to worship, establishing new patterns that will supersede crumbling systems. You are in the vanguard of humanity’s conscious evolution.
This growing community of consciousness pioneers is challenged to relate to the prevailing culture while we are building the new culture of peace. We are in need of focal points that can strengthen both our shared vision and our sense of community. We understand the power of our unified attention to affect the greater field — hence the rise of global meditation and prayer events. We are less and less drawn to national or religious holidays that enforce our separation rather than our unity, and more inclined to appreciate age-old solstice, equinox and full moon celebrations based on the universal cycles of nature. What is one day that the entire global community can celebrate?
The International Day of Peace belongs to everyone, as it was approved by every country in the United Nations collectively. What’s more, it falls on the auspicious date of September 21, on or close to the autumnal equinox. The International Day of Peace has been embraced by countless individuals and groups around the world. All that is needed is you.
You are invited to observe the International Day of Peace in any of the countless ways that highlight the emerging culture of peace. (Click here to see Dot Maver’s article for suggestions.)
But whatever else you do, please set your phone or clock to noon on September 21 so that you can take part in the worldwide wave of peace with your personal Minute of Silence.
We are aware that the waters are rising and that the human race itself is in grave danger. Only a new level of consciousness can find ways to address such a planet-wide challenge. You are bringing in that new consciousness. We are the peacemakers.
May peace prevail on Earth.
Rev. Deborah Moldow is an ordained interfaith minister committed to assisting in the transformation of human consciousness to a culture of peace. She contributes to this global effort through her ministry, international peace work, interfaith efforts, speaking, writing and singing, all part of the movement of awakening humanity.
She is the Representative to the United Nations of the World Peace Prayer Society, which promotes the universal prayer “May Peace Prevail on Earth,” and has traveled the globe to conduct Peace Pole dedications and World Peace Flag Ceremonies, sending peace to every nation. At the United Nations, she co-chairs the International Day of Peace NGO Committee and facilitates the United Religions Initiative multi-faith cooperation circles.
Deborah is Co-Director with Diane Williams of the Evolutionary Leaders circle, a project of the Source of Synergy Foundation that brings together visionaries committed to the acceleration of the conscious evolution of humanity in these critical times. Deborah also leads monthly Interfaith Sundays at the Chapel at Croton Falls, New York. Her newest project, the Garden of Light, provides an online platform for the emerging global spirituality.
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This article appears in:
2017 Catalyst, Issue 19: The International Day of Peace