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Calendar Publishers Unite for World Peace, Reaching a Billion People


Calendar Publishers Unite for World Peace, Reaching a Billion People
Melvin Weiner, Director | Pathways to Peace Calendar Program

Kennebunk, ME: This year, for the first time ever, the United Nations International Day of Peace has been printed on hundreds of millions of calendars all over the world. We will reach a billion people. These are the 2009 calendars, which are in stores now. Yet, in 2007, before the International Day of Peace was even listed on any calendars, there were over 3,500 events in every country on the planet involving an estimated 200 million people. This year's observances of the International Day of Peace will be even more widespread and prominent.

The United Nations International Day of Peace is observed worldwide on Sept. 21st. Now in its 27th year, the observance of the International Day of Peace has grown exponentially over the years, and there are thousands of opportunities for people and organizations everywhere to participate in this event.

The International Day of Peace was created by a unanimous resolution of the United Nations in 1981, in which the UN called upon all governments and peoples to observe a day of Peace and to cooperatively give positive evidence of their commitment to Peace. The resolution was amended in 2001 to be on the same date every year and to include a call for 24 hours of ceasefires and non-violence worldwide. The UN asks all agencies within its system to observe the International Day of Peace and conducts programs at all of its facilities worldwide. The UN also works with numerous NGO's (non-government organizations) to promote and observe the International Day of Peace. For example, last year in Afghanistan during a pre-arranged ceasefire on the International Day of Peace, thousands of volunteers from Doctors Without Borders and other NGO's were able to provide polio vaccinations for 1.3 million children. There were ceasefires and similar actions in 14 other nations, as well. Last year the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, along with Messengers of Peace Michael Douglas, Jane Goodall, Elie Weisel, and Princess Haya of Jordan addressed an internationally teleconferenced audience of thousands of children through its Cyberschoolbus program. For 2008, the UN is also encouraging religious leaders worldwide to arrange observances for the International Day of Peace.

NGO's, participating in this observance, range from the Gandhi Peace Tour to the World Council of Churches to Mayors for Peace. One group, the IDP (International Day of Peace) Vigil arranges 'peace vigils' in most countries on the planet; last year several million people attended their vigils; due to increased interest they expect this year's vigils to be more widely attended. The World Peace Prayer Society and the United Religions Initiative have each reached out to religious and spiritual organizations all over the world; through their efforts there will be hundreds of 'cooperation circles' as well as events and observances near many of the 200,000 Peace Poles planted around the world during the past 20 years. There will be activities in churches, temples, mosques, sacred places, public parks and private homes worldwide; many of these will be interfaith. England will be hosting the London Week Of Peace with over a hundred events sponsored by businesses, agencies and even the mayor; one highlight will be a film about Peace Day and a rock concert staged by an organization called Peace One Day. There are numerous events in Sydney Australia, sponsored by the Ministry for Peace, including one at the Parliament. We The World, an organization based in NYC, is promoting the 11 Days of Global Unity from Sept. 11 to Sept. 21st with a schedule of over 700 events worldwide. The Geneva World Peace Festival also occurs during these same 11 days. Earthdance, an organization in California, will have over 300 cultural celebrations in 65 countries; some of these are quite large in scale. The Global Mala Project features observances by thousands of yoga schools and teachers all over the world. There are events ranging from the Global Peace Film Festival in Orlando, FL to Jazz for Peace and Comedy for Peace performances in cities all around the planet. The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, based in the Netherlands, has a network of over a thousand organizations worldwide; their People Building Peace program calls on people worldwide to participate in events on this day. The Culture of Peace Initiative, hosted by Paul Hawkin's WiserEarth website, lists over 500 organizations that conduct events for the International Day of Peace.

Many non-profit and civic-minded organizations use the time around the International Day of Peace to focus on volunteer work and community service. There are groups digging wells in arid regions of Africa, providing micro-loans, livestock and even wireless computers to people and villages in third world countries, as well as offering humanitarian aid throughout the world. Jane Goodall's Roots and Shoots has educational programs in hundreds of schools in more than 20 countries; these activities focus on peacebuilding and conflict resolution. The Center for Cooperative Principles offers an Educational Resource Packet listing ideas and activities for the International Day of Peace, geared toward schools of all levels. The National Peace Academy is reaching out to colleges. Some organizations use the International Day of Peace as an opportunity to showcase their year round agendas. Two such groups, Peace Partnership International and The Peace Alliance, have been lobbying governments worldwide to create Depts. of Peace on a 'cabinet level'; several countries have now done this; these organizations have 'walks for peace' on Peace Day.

There are hundreds of humanitarian, social justice, cultural and environmental groups all over the world involved in this observation. In future years there will be even more activities, as awareness of this event increases and more and more individuals and groups decide to do something to make the world a better place. This could be a local activity such as volunteering at a homeless shelter or for a battered woman's program, or cleaning a public park or a beach, or sponsoring an essay writing contest or an art show. Or perhaps it will be global in nature such as working for, or conducting an educational program or a fundraising effort for, an international organization that promotes worthwhile causes for humanity, such as eradicating poverty, disease and hunger or solving the environmental crisis, or promoting women's, children's or indigenous peoples' rights, or focusing on disarmament, cooperation and peacebuilding.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations has called for a minute of silence for Peace at noon in all time zones. This has been observed consistently since 1981 and is one activity in which anyone can participate. Perhaps knowing that hundreds of millions of others are also doing this will give people a sense of involvement, value and hope. A gathering of family, friends or even co-workers is another easy way to participate.

The Secretary-General just released a video message asking people to participate in a United Nations text messaging campaign which will be launched on Tuesday, 2 September. People all over the world are asked to send a message to tell world leaders how to achieve peace either to the number 69866 (only in the US) or online via www.peaceday2008.org. These messages will be collected and delivered to the world's leaders when they meet for the opening of the UN General Assembly in New York on 23 September. World Peace Emerging's on-line Peace Day Magazine is devoting over 90 pages to 'Peace Day' activities, and will reach millions of people this year. Google is considering including a reference to 'peace' on their home page on Sept. 21st; and a YouTube contest called Rhymes for Reason will be launched. Many major humanitarian and cause related websites, e-newsletters, blogs and social networking groups will also offer information about the International Day of Peace. Hundreds of millions of people will learn about this observance and will be able to find ways to be involved.

Calendar publishers, uniting for world peace, opens the doors even wider for future observances.

Having the International Day of Peace on everyone's calendar, beginning with the 2009 versions, means that future observances will be a much more universal and mainstream activity. It means that businesses, professionals, and media outlets all over the world can join governments, religions, public service organizations, and educational institutions in many ways to participate in the International Day of Peace. From products to services to promotions to events, there will be new opportunities for people, families and groups everywhere to become involved in many different types of programs and observances.

Pathways To Peace helped to initiate the International Day of Peace with the UN 28 years ago. Pathways works with the UN Dept. of Public Information and various UN affiliated NGO's to coordinate, and report on, International Day of Peace activities through its program the Culture of Peace Initiative. Pathways has both Consultative and Peace Messenger status with the UN, and embraces the UN's mission for world peace, including its Millennium Development Goals. With Pathways To Peace and so many other organizations acting as global catalysts for the United Nation's International Day of Peace, and this day on everyone's calendars - and schedules! - we are at the tipping point for an annual worldwide observance of peace. The ongoing impact will be of historical significance. People and organizations will use it as a focal point to call attention to solutions that can affect changes on many levels; and our children will grow up observing 'Peace Day' and incorporating its meaning and potential into their lives.

For more information contact:

Melvin Weiner melvin@pathwaystopeace.org ; Melvin is the person who enlisted calendar publishers all over the world to add this occasion to their calendars. He began this as a spontaneous act of inspiration on Peace Day 2007, during which he enlisted about 20 of the largest calendar publishers in the United States to sign up in one day. He had never heard of Pathways To Peace at the time. But, that's another story... Melvin's cell phone is 207 838-2805 and his land line is 207 985-3816.

Michael Johnson michael@pathwaystopeace.org ; Michael is the Representative to the United Nations for Pathways To Peace; he is involved with many different avenues of peacebuilding. Michael's cell phone is 413 329-7517; his land line is 413 528-7914

Our three web sites are:
www.internationaldayofpeace.org ; www.pathwaystopeace.org ; www.cultureofpeace.org

The UN's two websites for this occasion are:
www.un.org/events/peaceday/2008 and www.peaceday2008.org

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