The International Day of Peace, observed each year on 21 September, is a global call for ceasefire and non-violence. This year, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on young people around the world to take a stand for peace under the theme ‘Youth for Peace and Development’. It combined two very important events being observed by the United Nations, to which BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha is internationally affiliated.
International Day of Peace: In 1982, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution declaring an International Day of Peace. In 2001, the General Assembly adopted 21 September as the permanent date for this annual event. The Day is envisioned to provide “an opportunity for individuals, organisations and nations to create practical acts of peace on a shared date.”
International Year of Youth: In December 2009, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution year commencing 12 August 2010 as the International Year of Youth. The resolution calls upon governments, civil society, individuals and communities worldwide to support activities at local and international levels to mark the event by encouraging youths to organise activities that promote an increased understanding of the importance and benefits of youth participation in all aspects of society, as well as those that support youth to devote their energy, enthusiasm and creativity to development and the promotion of mutual understanding.
Observance at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London
Observing both of these international events, BAPS youth volunteers planned and delivered a special programme dedicated to peace as part of the evening assembly at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London on Sunday 19 September 2010.
The session opened with a video presentation poignantly asking whether conflict and war could indeed be stopped for just one moment, to which three children responded by melodiously reciting the Vedic Shanti Path – a universal Hindu prayer for peace, harmony and happiness.
The bhajan, ‘Saunu Karo Kalyan,’ eloquently sung by youths, further conveyed a prayer for peace for all civilisations in the world.
Shreeman Patel developed this theme in a short but touching and thought-provoking speech. Shreeman had recently won first prize in the Youth Category at the national Rotary ‘Youth Speaks 2010’ competition.
Spiritual organisations have been encouraged to promote ‘meditation for peace’ as part of the Peace Day events and thus the audience joined together to meditate for a few minutes.
On 29 August 2000, His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj addressed the Millennium World Peace Summit at the United Nations in New York. Brief highlights of his speech – entitled ‘A Call to Dialogue: Our Collective Responsibility’ – were presented to conclude the inspiring programme.
To learn more about the UN’s International Day of Peace and the ‘Youth for Peace and Development’ initiative, please click here.
To learn more about the UN’s International Year of Youth, please click here.
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