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Sarah Brady | September 12, 2017

Peace comes from being able to contribute the best that we have, and all that we are,
toward creating a world that supports everyone. But it is also securing the space for
others to contribute the best that they have and all that they are.
—Hafsat Abiola, Nigerian human rights activist

This year’s U.N. International Day of Peace is Thursday, September 21, 2017, and the theme is “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.” Established in 1981, Peace Day asks participants to commit to building peace in all nations and peoples (read the full text here).

Education is a critical tool to build peace. It helps to break down economic, social and political barriers and allows people to resolve conflict creatively and nonviolently. As the Dalai Lama said, “Peace does not mean an absence of conflicts; differences will always be there. Peace means solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways.”

Consider integrating Peace Day into your classroom or curriculum in the following ways:

  • Participate in the global minute of silence at noon (all time zones)
  • Host a Global Feast for Peace, asking people to bring a dish and share a meal with a new friend (more information here)
  • Ask students what peace means to them, then have students research how different cultures celebrate and encourage peace
  • Play Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest, an engaging gaming experience that invites players to cooperate by completing compassion missions (more information here)
  • Ask students to complete one kind act a day and write about it in their kindness journal
  • Fold cranes, write messages of peace on them and trade them as part of the Peace Crane Project (more information here)
  • Sign up for free peace education resources and lesson plans from Peace One Day (more information here)
  • Invite a veteran, refugee or speaker into your classroom to give a talk on peace and human rights
  • Participate in the 11 Days of Global Unity, which hosts free talks on topics like unity, economic justice, interdependence, human rights and peace every day from September 11 to September 21 via email or phone (more information here)
  • Check out Teacher Planet’s printables, lesson plans, activities and resources available here

Finally, don’t forget to sign up for our K-12 Global Education Symposium on Human Rights and Social Justice on October 26-27, 2017. The symposium will provide pedagogical strategies and resources for integrating human rights and social justice issues into teaching. Featured speakers include John Cox, a professor and the director of the Center for Holocaust, Genocide & Human Rights Studies at UNC Charlotte, Robin Kirk, an author and human rights advocate and faculty co-chair of the executive committee of the Duke Human Rights Center, Fareed Mostoufi, a curriculum writer and education team member at Pulitzer Center and Omid Safi, director of the Duke Islamic Studies Center and blogger at On Being.