Two UR students attended the 32nd annual U.N. Day of Peace observance in New York City this past Sunday, Sept. 21. Sophomore Ezra Baccar and junior Stephanie Salazar represented the Interfaith Chapel and the United Religions Initiative. Representatives of peace at the event included Ban Ki Moon, Jane Goodall, Yo-Yo Ma, Yoko Ono, and many others.
According to the U.N. website, The International Day of Peace is an event during which all member nations of the U.N. are invited to “honor a cessation of hostilities” and to raise awareness regarding peace related issues. This year’s theme was the Right of People’s Peace. Its goal was to stress the commitment of the U.N. to adhering to their Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace, which states that human rights can only be enjoyed completely in times of peace. People were encouraged to promote #peaceday on social media, gather for a Global Feast for Peace, march for peace in their communities, and sign the “I am a pathway to peace” pledge.
Salazar cited the Interfaith Chapel’s peace project as the main impetus for her involvement. She said compassion was the sentiment that stuck with her as one of the most conducive to peace.
Salazar and Baccar participated in a mockup of international proceedings: Compassion Games.
“Compassion Games are people highlighting things that others already do as acts of kindness and compassion,” Salazar said. She recognized how “violence is occurring in the world, [and] how it’s significant to have a day where we’re observing peace and to see what we’re doing to observe peace.”
This cessation of conflict was notably respected even by the nations involved in the ongoing conflicts in Syria and Iraq. No airstrikes were carried out against extremists that day (though they promptly started the next).
Stephanie also affirmed her desire to be a part of the solution.
“We recognized as young adults and teens that we want to make the world a better place, and want to make a difference,” she said.
Along with the proceedings in which the two students participated, there were numerous other events, including the ringing of the Peace Bell by the Secretary General of the U.N. Ban Ki Moon, a speech by Jane Goodall, and a musical tribute by Yo-Yo Ma. These events were meant to represent peace and harmony.
Yarmoff is a member of
the class of 2016.