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World Television Day – 21 November

In recognition of the increasing impact television has on decision-making by bringing world attention to conflicts and threats to peace and security and its potential role in sharpening the focus on other major issues, including economic and social issues, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 November as World Television Day (through resolution 51/205 of 17 December 1996).

World Television Day is not so much a celebration of the tool, but rather the philosophy which it represents. Television represents a symbol for communication and globalization in the contemporary world.

On 21 and 22 November 1996 the United Nations held the first World Television Forum, where leading media figures met under the auspices of the United Nations to discuss the growing significance of television in today’s changing world and to consider how they might enhance their mutual cooperation. That is why the General Assembly decided to proclaim 21 November as World Television Day.

This was done in recognition of the increasing impact television has on the process of decision-making. Television was thus acknowledged as a major tool in informing, channelling and affecting public opinion. Its impact and presence and its influence on world politics could not be denied.

 

Source: Text: UN    Image: Freepik

 

World Science Day for Peace and Development – 10 November 2022

Celebrated every 10 November, World Science Day for Peace and Development highlights the significant role of science in society and the need to engage the wider public in debates on emerging scientific issues. It also underlines the importance and relevance of science in our daily lives.

By linking science more closely with society, World Science Day for Peace and Development aims to ensure that citizens are kept informed of developments in science. It also underscores the role scientists play in broadening our understanding of the remarkable, fragile planet we call home and in making our societies more sustainable.

‘The applications of basic sciences are vital for advances in medicine, industry, agriculture, water resources, energy planning, environment, communications and culture’, affirmed the United Nations General Assembly on 2 December 2021, when it endorsed the proposal for an International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development. World Science Day is contributing to the Year in 2022 by celebrating this theme.

‘We need more basic science to achieve The 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals’, the United Nations General Assembly noted in December 2021. It is true that the share of domestic research expenditure devoted to basic sciences varies widely from one country to another. According to data from the UNESCO Science Report 2021 for 86 countries, some devote less than 10% of their research expenditure to basic sciences and others more than 30%.

Having a capacity in basic sciences is in the interests of both developed and developing countries, given the potential for applications to foster sustainable development and raise standards of living. For example, a growing number of people around the world suffer from diabetes. Thanks to laboratory studies of the ways in which genes can be manipulated to make specific protein molecules, scientists are able to engineer genetically a common bacterium, Escherichia coli, to produce synthetic human insulin.

 

Source: Text: https://www.un.org/en/observances/world-science-day    Image: news 18.com

 

Conflict Resolution Day – 20 October 2022

Conflict Resolution Day is observed on the third Thursday of October every year, falling on October 20 this year. Conflicts tend to arise in many areas of our lives, such as workplaces, relationships, and families. It is an unavoidable process of life. What is important, however, is how we resolve it. Conflict resolution does not have to be nasty; it can be resolved through peaceful methods.

HISTORY OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION DAY

In any relationship, disagreement is unavoidable, and possessing the ability to peacefully resolve it when it arises becomes necessary. Conflicts arise because humans have needs, and in a bid to satisfy their individual needs and interests, disputes occur because of clashes of interests. These conflicts can arise between family or friends. It is in consideration of the above that the Association for Conflict Resolution (A.C.R.) established in 2005 what we now know as Conflict Resolution Day.

In inaugurating this important day, A.C.R. highlighted promoting awareness of mediation, arbitration, conciliation, and other creative, peaceful methods of resolving conflict as the motive behind its formation. Also, promoting conflict resolution in schools, families, businesses, communities, governments, and the legal system. The day also seeks to recognize the significant contributions of peaceful conflict resolvers and to obtain national synergy by having celebrations happen across the country and around the world on the same day.

Conflict Resolution Day, which has now been celebrated for over 15 years, coincides with the ABA Mediation Week of the American Bar Association. The week was created to build on the efforts of many other national, state, and local organizations, including the Association for Conflict Resolution. The ABA and A.C.R., along with other organizations, raise awareness about the importance of mediation and conflict resolution.

 

Source: Text & Image: https://nationaltoday.com/conflict-resolution-day  

International Day of Peace – 21 September 2022

2022 Theme: End racism. Build peace.

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The UN General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire.

But achieving true peace entails much more than laying down arms.  It requires the building of societies where all members feel that they can flourish. It involves creating a world in which people are treated equally, regardless of their race.

As Secretary-General António Guterres has said:

“Racism continues to poison institutions, social structures, and everyday life in every society. It continues to be a driver of persistent inequality. And it continues to deny people their fundamental human rights. It destabilizes societies, undermines democracies, erodes the legitimacy of governments, and… the linkages between racism and gender inequality are unmistakable.”

As conflicts continue to erupt across the globe, causing people to flee, we have seen race-based discrimination at borders. As COVID-19 keeps attacking our communities, we have seen how certain racial groups have been hit much harder than others. As economies suffer, we have seen hate speech and violence directed at racial minorities.

We all have a role to play in fostering peace. And tackling racism is a crucial way to contribute.

We can work to dismantle the structures that entrench racism in our midst. We can support movements for equality and human rights everywhere. We can speak out against hate speech – both offline and online. We can promote anti-racism through education and reparatory justice.

The 2022 theme for the International Day of Peace is “End racism. Build peace.” We invite you to join the efforts of the United Nations as we work towards a world free of racism and racial discrimination. A world where compassion and empathy overcome suspicion and hatred. A world that we can truly be proud of.

 

Source: Text: UN   Image: unmiss.unmissions.org

International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers – 29 May 2022

2022 Theme: People. Peace. Progress. The Power of Partnerships

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, 29 May, offers a chance to pay tribute to the uniformed and civilian personnel’s invaluable contribution to the work of the Organization and to honour nearly 4,200 peacekeepers who have lost their lives serving under the UN flag since 1948, including 135 last year.

The theme for this year’s Day is « People. Peace. Progress. The Power of Partnerships.”

Peacekeeping has helped save countless lives and brought peace and stability to many countries over the decades. But UN peacekeeping cannot fully succeed on its own in creating the necessary conditions to end conflict and secure lasting political solutions. It’s partnerships with Member States, civil society, non-governmental organizations, UN agencies and other parties are fundamental to bringing tangible improvements in the lives of ordinary people, in areas such as economic development, the rule of law, women’s rights, human rights, health and education.

The first UN peacekeeping mission was established on 29 May 1948, when the Security Council authorized the deployment of a small number of UN military observers to the Middle East to form the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) to monitor the Armistice Agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

Since then, more than 1 million women and men have served in 72 UN peacekeeping operations, directly impacting the lives of millions of people and saving countless lives. Today, UN Peacekeeping deploys more than 87,000 military, police and civilian personnel in 12 operations.

 

Source: Text & Image: UN

Vesak Day – 16 May 2022

Photo: Siddhartha Gautama, the Lord Buddha, was born in 623 B.C. in the famous gardens of Lumbini, which soon became a place of pilgrimage.

« Let us seize this moment of spiritual renewal, and honour Buddha’s wisdom by coming together as one, in solidarity, and shaping a better, more peaceful world for all people. »  UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
« Vesak », the Day of the Full Moon in the month of May, is the most sacred day to millions of Buddhists around the world. It was on the Day of Vesak two and a half millennia ago, in the year 623 B.C., that the Buddha was born. It was also on the Day of Vesak that the Buddha attained enlightenment, and it was on the Day of Vesak that the Buddha in his eightieth year passed away.

The General Assembly, by its resolution 54/115 of 1999, recognized internationally the Day of Vesak to acknowledge the contribution that Buddhism, one of the oldest religions in the world, has made for over two and a half millennia and continues to make to the spirituality of humanity. This day is commemorated annually at the UN Headquarters and other UN offices, in consultation with the relevant UN offices and with permanent missions, which also wish to be consulted.

Background

The teachings of the Buddha, and his message of compassion and peace and goodwill have moved millions. Millions around the world follow the teachings of the Buddha and on the Day of Vesak commemorate the birth, the attainment of enlightenment and the passing away of the Buddha.

A Message from the former Secretary-General, Javier Perez de Cuellar, to Buddhists on the Day of Vesak in May 1986 reads:

« For Buddhists everywhere it is indeed a felicitous opportunity, while commemorating the birth, enlightenment and passing away of Guatama Buddha, to celebrate his message of compassion and devotion to the service of humanity. This message is today perhaps more relevant than ever before. »

Peace, understanding and a vision of humanity that supersedes national and other international differences are essential if we are to cope with the complexities of the nuclear age.

This philosophy lies at the heart of the Charter of the United Nations and should be prominent in all our thinking, especially during this International Year of Peace »–Javier Perez de Cuellar.

Source: Text: UN  Photo: UNPengfei Mi

International Day of Sport for Development and Peace – 6 April 2022

“Sport has the power to align our passion, energy and enthusiasm around a collective cause. And that is precisely when hope can be nurtured and trust can be regained. It is in our collective interest to harness the tremendous power of sport to help build a better and more sustainable future for all. »
– UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed

Securing a Sustainable and Peaceful Future for All: The Contribution of Sport

The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP), which takes place annually on 6 April, presents an opportunity to recognize the positive role sport and physical activity play in communities and in people’s lives across the globe.

Sport has the power to change the world; it is a fundamental right and a powerful tool to strengthen social ties and promote sustainable development and peace, as well as solidarity and respect for all.

In recognition of sport’s broad influence, the global theme of IDSDP 2022 is, “Securing a Sustainable and Peaceful Future for All: The Contribution of Sport,” which creates an opportunity for the Day’s celebrations to promote the use of sport as a tool to advance human rights and sustainable development. Under this theme, UN Headquarters in New York will recognize the role of sport in addressing the climate crisis and will highlight actions to lower greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate against climate change.

Sport is in a unique position to display leadership, to take responsibility for its carbon footprint, engage in a climate neutral journey, incentivize action beyond the sporting sector, and play a major role in amplifying awareness among its billions of spectators, facilitators and participants at all levels. With the need for urgent action growing more dire every day, the relationship between sport and climate must be better understood and ways of developing policies and taking concrete action to help reverse the impact of climate change through sport must be communicated to as wide an audience as possible.

Today, our world faces generational challenges, from poverty and hunger, to climate change to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than ever, we need to overcome our differences and unite as one team working together to tackle these obstacles and create a safer, more peaceful, and more sustainable future for all.

 

Source: Text: www.un.org/en/observances/sport-day   Image: Unesco

 

 

4th Sunday of Advent, Year C – 2021

The daily news broadcast on television shows us long files of migrants and would-be refugees.
Asked why they left their country, the recurring answer is that there was no security, no peace, where they come from.
SECURITY and PEACE, the essentials for a decent life, a life without threat of being hurt, tortured, killed.

In today’s 1st reading (Micah 5:1-4) the prophet Micah promises, in God’s name, those very precious things.
The prophet says that, when he comes to us, God’s Messenger will bring these gifts from God himself.
The message is clear and there can be no doubt about its meaning.

“They (the people) will live securely…
And he will be our peace.”

This special Messenger of God has indeed come to us.
This is what we prepare to celebrate anew in this Advent Season.
We know that he has not failed to carry out God’s promise to bring security and peace to our world.

But then, why, indeed WHY is there so much conflict, war, maiming, killing, in our world today?
Security? It is absent in so many places…
Peace? People lament that it is missing in so many areas.
What has happened?

The answer lies in… the ‘mystery’ of human freedom!
And it is a mystery, really!

God who created us in his own image, made us free beings.
But in so doing, he took the risk that we might use our freedom in a way that would go against his plan –
his plan of a world where people would love one another and live in peace.
We could say here what the popular expression repeats in different circumstances: “The ball is in our court”!

If we want peace, we need to promote it, to work for it.
We need to create situations where good will and mutual understanding make for peaceful relationships between us.

At this time, many of us start decorating our homes for the festive season.
What about putting somewhere – in the Christmas tree, or hanging on a star, or stuck in a window –
a small object which will remind us of our ‘mission’ of promoting peace, being messengers of PEACE?
 

Note: Another text is available on a different theme, in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/4e-dimanche-de-lavent-annee-c-2021/

 

And in a short video, also in French, Ghislaine Deslières offers us another reflection on this 4th Sunday of Advent, Year C, at: https://youtu.be/Rgi6z2MpJAM

 

 

 

Source: Images: The Reflectionary   etsy.com

Pope Francis visits Irak

Pope Francis arrives in Iraq as ‘penitent pilgrim’ begging for peace

Pope Francis arrived in Iraq March 5 for a three-day visit aimed at encouraging the nation’s historic but diminishing Christian community. ..

The pontiff made impassioned and repeated pleas that the country might avert further conflict.  « May the clash of arms be silenced! » exhorted Francis. « May their spread be curbed, here and everywhere! « May the voice of builders and peacemakers find a hearing! » said the pope. « The voice of the humble, the poor, the ordinary men and women who want to live, work and pray in peace.”

Source: Text (excerpts): Joshua J. McElwee March 5, 2021  Image: People.com

 

International day of Human Fraternity – 4 February 2021

With unanimous vote in the General Assembly, February 4 becomes the (first) International Day of Human Fraternity. 

  The United Nations General Assembly voted unanimously to designate February 4 — the anniversary of the signing of the “Document for Human Fraternity” by Pope Francis and Grand Imam Ahmad Al-Tayyeb — as the “International Day of Human Fraternity.” 

The General Assembly voted Tuesday and invited Member States and the United Nations system to include this celebration in their calendar beginning in 2021. 

Supported by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Equatorial Guinea, Morocco, Burkina Faso and Venezuela, the U.N. resolution takes note of the meeting between Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayeb, on February 4, 2019, in Abu Dhabi. 

The resolution also calls on all member states to “continue to work for a culture of peace in order to contribute to peace and sustainable development.” This includes, according to the document, the mobilization of “the efforts of the international community in favor of peace, tolerance, inclusion, understanding and solidarity.”

While introducing the resolution, representatives of the United Arab Emirates said it was a response to growing religious hatred amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.N. website said. The resolution says that the General Assembly reaffirms the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in particular the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

Word of the Editor: The following video, from the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, speaks volumes… https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Mnof8dSFIoR-mU74W8SV-l0X2CohMm8B/view?usp=sharing

Source: Text: John Burger, Aleteia Image: vaticannews.va