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With so many people around the world suffering because of war and violence, working towards peace is as important as ever. The International Day of Peace is on 21 September every year.
The meaning of 'peace'
Peace can mean different things to different people. To many, peace means freedom from violence or war. It means living without fear and anxiety. Peace also means understanding other people and living with them without fights or arguments.
The consequences of war
War destroys homes, families and communities. People affected by war often go through huge emotional stress. They may suffer from anxiety, depression and other effects of trauma for a long time afterwards. Teenagers may also lose their education as schooling is interrupted or stopped.
The International Day of Peace
The International Day of Peace is on 21 September every year and aims to build a more peaceful world for everyone who lives in it. Every year on this day the United Nations asks for all fighting around the world to stop for 24 hours. This is called a ceasefire. There is also a minute of silence at 12 midday to honour victims of war and violence. Each year, there is a different theme for the Day of Peace, for example 'End racism: build peace' or 'Climate action for peace'.
International Day of Peace events
As well as taking part in the one-minute silence, people worldwide can get involved in many different events on 21 September. There are sports activities such as a football match for peace, or people can participate in yoga and meditation. Teenagers might choose to make artwork with a message about peace or explore the topic through film, music or dance projects.
Peace at school
Schools also take part in a wide range of activities related to peace and unity, often focusing on preventing school violence and bullying. Working on peace at school doesn't have to stop after 21 September. Conflict between students can create a stressful learning environment and often take up time that should be for learning and teaching. To help with this problem, some schools are training students to be peacemakers or mediators. Mediators talk to people or groups involved in a conflict to help them find a solution. Training as a mediator is a great way for young people to learn negotiation skills and take responsibility for resolving disagreements themselves.
What we can all do for peace
War and conflict are often out of our control, but everyone can be responsible for their own behaviour. For example, you can try to bring peace to your personal life by saying sorry and making peace with someone you know. Or you can learn and practise the skills to help your schoolmates resolve misunderstandings and arguments. Individual actions add up to great things when they are multiplied by millions of people all over the planet, and we can all contribute to making the world a more peaceful place.
Worksheets and downloads
What can you do in your everyday life to create peace with people around you?