By Jacob Trump
The yearly International Day of Peace on Sept. 21 was instituted by the United Nations to strengthen the ideals of peace in the world.
For William Peace University, not only does the day coordinate with the institute’s name; it also brings important messages and purposes for the WPU community. The celebration on campus will include visual and performance art showcases, open mic events, a live podcast panel with guest speakers, and a global dinner.
Organizers hope that the events and activities will help faculty and students get more involved and knowledgeable about the different avenues of peacebuilding and spreading peace throughout the world.
“The International Day of Peace is a time to join with the global community as we focus on how to work together to create a more just and peaceful world,” says Dr. Heidi Gailor, who has led the committee organizing the event. “I look forward to seeing how our students engage with this year’s theme, actions for peace, whether through artwork that will be presented during our campus celebration or through participating in service with local nonprofits.”
This year’s theme of “Actions for Peace” is tied to the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which include issues of such as hunger and climate change that can lead to conflict.
The WPU events will start out with a gathering on the Main Lawn of the university at 3:20, and the majority of that time will be spent as an open mic event to help set off the day.
Once that is finished, the event will move to Kenan Hall at 4 p.m., where a live podcast will be hosted by University Chaplain Dr. Harold Briscoe and invited guest panelists who have worked in areas and careers of peacebuilding. The panelists are worship leader, writer, and justice activist Angie Hong; development professional and peace activist Mustafa Rezaie; and cultural heritage and museum professional Alex Rose.
“The conversation we are going to have with these folks whose work is actively living the mission of working for peacebuilding,” says Dr. Eliza Laskowski, associate professor of English and a member of the planning committee, “seeing what their experiences are but also the ways they can inspire to help let everyone make little changes to work on peacebuilding.”
Organizers are currently accepting submissions of student art, which may be oral, photography, painting, or other formats, as long as it conveys peacebuilding for the showcase event. Submit your art through this Google Form by Sept. 15.
Finally, the day will end with a global dinner, featuring international courses from around the world.
Organizers of this year’s Day of Peace are looking forward to seeing their students, staff and faculty celebrate the day.
“The happy coincidence is that William Peace University can celebrate the Day of Peace and it is not just a good thing for any university to do, but is an especially meaningful thing for our university,” said Laskowski. “My hope is that it becomes one of those important traditions in the life of the university just like showcase, red rose ball, traditions dinner.”
From September 15-25, the UN is inviting citizens to upload pictures of the actions they take to create a more sustainable and peaceful future using the activator tool https://unitetoact.org.