On Friday, more than 4,400 organizations around the world will recognize and celebrate the United Nations International Day of Peace.
 
"So what," you may proclaim, "peace day is just some goofy, radical utopian ideal that is all for show, right?" Wrong.

Since its worldwide adoption in 2002, the day has saved thousands of lives. While battles may rage on before and after Sept. 21, for at least one day there is a window of opportunity for aid. Aid institutions such as UNICEF and Doctors Without Borders have the finances to make an incredible impact, they just need the ceasefire in place so they are not killed or kidnapped while helping. In recent years the impact has been extremely powerful.

In 11 years of war, the United States has hardly been able to even talk to the Taliban. In only a few weeks of travel, Jude Law and Jeremy Gilley of Peace One Day received a letter of recognition from the Taliban informing them that the Taliban would not perform any attacks on the day of peace or kidnap aid workers, and that they saw the day as a window of opportunity for discussion.
 
During the 2008 peace day, 1.6 million children were vaccinated against polio in Afghanistan, all made possible by this agreement. According to the United Nations, there was a 70 percent reduction in violence in Afghanistan on this day.

So what can students do to help? Students can start by recognizing the day and educating themselves. Here's how you can participate:

Christy Hargesheimer will be speaking on the "giraffe" theory of peacemaking and her work with Amnesty International on Thursday night at 6 in CM40.

Roots & Shoots members will be selling fair-trade Klickiklack boxes at lunch and dinner at the green desk on Thursday and Friday to support global development through microloans.

Wear white on Friday to show your support for international peace and join Roots & Shoots members at Merrill Bell Tower at noon to take a peace dove photo which can be signed and sent to politicians.
 
Finally, at the green desk you can make your declaration for peace. Here is mine below:

The Natural Resource Defense Council estimates that the U.S. will have 5047 nuclear warheads stockpiled by the end of 2012. This is enough to blow up Earth multiple times. In the pursuit of world peace, I declare that we pass a bill to reduce funding for our excessive nuclear weapons and divert it to investing in marginalized communities so they have an alternative to a life of violence and resource war.


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