16 May- International Day of Living Together in Peace

4 Min ⏰


Following the devastation of the Second World War, the United Nations was established to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war. One of its purposes is to achieve international cooperation in solving global problems, including promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction regarding race, sex, language, or religion.

In 1997, the General Assembly proclaimed – by its resolution 52/15 — the year 2000 as the “International Year for a Culture of Peace.” In 1998, it proclaimed the period 2001-2010 as the “International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for Children of the World.”

In 1999, The General Assembly adopted, by resolution 53/243, the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, which serves as the universal mandate for the international community, particularly the United Nations system, to promote a culture of peace and non-violence that benefits all of humanity, including future generations.

The Declaration came about as a result of the long-held and cherished concept — contained within the Constitution of UNESCO — that “since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.” The Declaration embraces the principle that peace is not merely the absence of conflict but also requires a positive, dynamic participatory process in which dialogue is encouraged, and disputes are resolved in a spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation.

The Declaration also recognizes that to fulfill such an aspiration, there is a need to eliminate all forms of discrimination and intolerance, including those based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinions, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or another status.

United in differences and diversity

Living together in peace is all about accepting differences and having the ability to listen to, recognize, respect, and appreciate others, as well as living in a peaceful and united way.

The UN General Assembly, in its resolution 72/130, declared 16 May the International Day of Living Together in Peace as a means of regularly mobilizing the efforts of the international community to promote peace, tolerance, inclusion, understanding, and solidarity. The Day aims to uphold the desire to live and act together, united in differences and diversity, in order to build a sustainable world of peace, solidarity, and harmony.

The Day invites countries to promote reconciliation further to help to ensure peace and sustainable development, including by working with communities, faith leaders, and other relevant actors through reconciliatory measures and acts of service and by encouraging forgiveness and compassion among individuals.

Some Practical Tips

Following WWII, the UN began doing its part to build a sustainable world of peace instead of division. To do this, the UN has encouraged countries around the world to promote reconciliation and unity. Countries can achieve this goal by working with communities and faith leaders to foster forgiveness and compassion toward one another.

Reconciliation can also be attained when individuals find peace with themselves and with others. Tips for doing this include:

  • Seek to love others instead of trying to control them.
  • Practice tolerance for others by appreciating their diversity and the choices they make.
  • Walk away when you are angry or are trying to win over a conversation.
  • Don’t compare yourself to other people.
  • Accept other people the way they are instead of trying to change them. 

Imagine what a peaceful world we would live in if everyone put all of these tips into practice.

How to Observe Day of Living Together in Peace

Each year UNESCO organizes a variety of events around the world to observe this Day. World leaders also give special messages of hope and peace. To participate:

  • Study some of the most peaceful countries in the world like Iceland, New Zealand, Portugal, Canada, Switzerland, Norway, and Singapore.
  • Commit to making peace with yourself and with others.
  • Learn about famous world peacemakers.
  • Read books that promote world peace, including Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela. 

Key Documents

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