Each Saturday evening at the Teen Center, we host special events, such as movie nights, board game tournaments, or Culture Nights hosted by volunteers from different countries. On September 19th, we decided to turn our attention to International Day of Peace, a UN-designated day of peace and ceasefire.
We began the night asking ourselves what other days we celebrate throughout the year (Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Day of the Child, etc.), and why peace should deserve a day and be celebrated as well. After watching a video of Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations explain the significance of International Peace Day and the importance of education in creating a more peaceful world, we divided into small groups to discuss what we knew about war (in Peru and in different parts of the world) and how conflict affects us in our daily lives. A huge range of topics came up, from conflicts surrounding territory disputes to family violence, from gangs and delinquency to machismo and racism.
At the end of the evening, we drew our own hands and wrote down thoughts or actions that we can take to be more peaceful in our daily lives, or bring peace to our communities. Ideas included no bullying, no racism, being more tolerant, and acting with patience.
On the 21st of September, the actual date of International Peace Day, our Program Director Katie read everyone a book about our human rights, and teens created art that showed the rights most important to them, or that spoke to them the most.
Several teens commented after the evening event that they hadn’t thought about these topics in this way, or that they felt like they wanted to learn more about what is going on in different parts of the world. Some others had not thought about some of the human rights that were included in the book we read during the art time. Even though International Peace Day only comes once a year, we dedicate every day to bettering our communities through small actions of peace, and learning about and respecting our neighbors, both locally and all over the world.