Press Releases

UNIS/VIC/135
19 September 2005

Children to Mark International Day of Peace at the VIC

In summer time I like winter time,
In study time I like playing time,
In school days I like holidays
But Oh Dear, Peace I like each and every time

(Soumya, 12, India, on the UN Cyberschoolbus)

VIENNA, 19 September (UN Information Service) -- On 21 September, the United Nations will observe the International Day of Peace, which is held annually to commemorate and strengthen the ideals of peace.

In his message to mark the occasion, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan emphasized that the International Day of Peace is a day of global ceasefire: "I call on all countries and all people to stop all hostilities for the entire day. 24 hours is not a long time. But it is time enough for combatants and political leaders to consider the destruction they are visiting on their people, and on their lands. It is long enough to look over the barricades, and through the barbed wire, and to see if there is another path. On this International Day of Peace, let us honour those who have suffered from violence and armed conflict. And let us pledge to do our utmost to carry out the important decisions on peace taken by last week's 2005 World Summit."

On the occasion of the International Day of Peace, the United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna will organize an event on the Memorial Plaza at the Vienna International Centre (VIC), in cooperation with the Austrian Network for Peace and Non-Violence. UNIS Director Nasra Hassan will read out the Secretary-General's message. Three representatives of the Austrian Network for Peace and Non-Violence will give a brief introduction to the challenges to peace in the 21st century; the impact of Austrian Nobel Peace Laureate Bertha von Suttner's philosophy on today's world; and  an overview of the projects of the Network.

As the highlight of the VIC Vienna Peace Day event, 100 children from seven different local and international schools in Vienna will unite to sing peace songs. The schools include: Berufsorientierte Islamische Fachschule für soziale Bildung, Danube International School, Islamisches Realgymnasium Wien, Lauder Chabad School, Vienna International Islamic Schools (Al Azhar), Vienna International School and Zwi Perez Chajes School. At the end of the ceremony, the children will ring the Peace Bell, after which UNIS will invite the children to take a guided tour of the VIC. The event will take place on 21 September, at 13:00 hours.

In Salzburg, Austria, a peace event in the St. Elisabeth Peace Church will be organized by the Austrian Network for Peace and Non-Violence. Based on the theme "May peace be on earth", there will be texts, music, dance and meditation. The proceeds received from donations will be given to a refugee project.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the opening day of its regular session as the International Day of Peace in 1981. Twenty years later, in September 2001, the Assembly decided that, beginning in 2002, the International Day of Peace should be observed on 21 September each year. It declared that the day should henceforth be observed as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence.

For information, contact:

Renate Henke
NGO Liaison UNIS
Tel: +43-1-26060-3324
Email: renate.henke@unvienna.org

The United Nations Cyberschoolbus invites children from all over the world to post their peace messages online.

Visit the Cyberschoolbus at:

http://www.un.org/Pubs/CyberSchoolBus/index.html