Philadelphia Prepares for International Day of Peace, 9/21/2011

Aggie Ebrahimi Bazaz, for GPA -- “What will you be doing to choose peace and create better communities on Peace Day?” asks Dr. Dan Gottlieb, host of WHYY’s Voices in the Family program.

On Monday September 12, Dr. Gottlieb joined the coterie of distinguished local and international voices to promote a spirit of peace and tolerance in preparation for United Nations’ International Day of Peace – September 21, 2011.

For the first time in Peace Day’s 30 year history, people and organizations across Philadelphia will be participating in this global day of ceasefire, non-violence, and community-building through a variety of events and activities that explore and encourage the various meanings of peace.

A detailed roster of Peace Day events can be found here on the Peace Day – Philly 2011 webpage. “Peace Talks” during the day will include South African musician and Philadelphia resident Sharon Katz and nuclear non-proliferation/arms expert Bill Hartung. Other programs include a videoconference discussion on multiculturalism between university students in Philadelphia, Norway, and Egypt, and an evening program of intercultural music led by Udi Bar-David, a Philadelphia Orchestra cellist.

Public activities offered by participating organizations and groups will include morning meditations, an anti-violence youth forum, a prayer gathering/walk in support of ending the illegal sale of guns and a Peace sing-a-long. Area schools will participate in creative activities, discussions and “One Day One Goal” soccer games.

The Peace Day – Philly 2011 initiative is being sponsored by the United Nations Association of Greater Philadelphia (UNA-GP), a Global Philadelphia member. In addition, several programs throughout the day are sponsored by the following Global Philadelphia members: Project for Nuclear Awareness, The African Studies Center at The University of Pennsylvania, and Drexel University.

Notably committed to a peaceful Philadelphia is its Mayor Michael Nutter. “William Penn imagined Philadelphia as a community where all people can live together in peace,” said the Mayor. “As we look forward to the United Nations International Day of Peace, we must focus on creating a unified community where people feel safe. Peace Day is an opportunity to participate in events across the city that promote peace and non-violence.”

Not only has Mayor Nutter offered to use the reach of his public persona to tweet about Peace Day before and on September 21st, the Mayor also took time to record this public service announcement calling for Philadelphia residents to actively participate in the day:

This summer, the Mayor also unveiled his iPledge campaign, a media campaign aimed at reducing the incidence of violence in the City. According to the iPledge website, “The iPledge campaign encourages Philadelphians to make personal or community pledges that will have a positive impact on the city and will encourage societal ownership of problems or concerns.”

The Mayor’s initiative draws attention to the fundamental tenet of Peace Day, which according to Peace Day – Philly 2011’s Coordinator Lisa Parker, comes down to this basic question: “What can I do to create peace in my life and connect in a spirit of unity to the wider world?”

According to Ms. Parker, Peace Day’s value goes far beyond events, activities, talks, forums and one day of activity – Peace Day is an opportunity for each person to reflect upon the idea of peace - personally, locally and globally - and what actions in our daily lives will help to further peace in all of these spheres.

Global Philadelphia Association is proud to support our member organizations as they actively join with the global community in promoting peaceful, respectful and compassionate living.