International Day of Peace celebrated with Peace Bell ceremony in Ankara

UNRC Kamal Malhotra delivers a speech at the ceremony.

UNRC Kamal Malhotra delivers a speech at the ceremony.

International Day of Peace was celebrated at a ceremony jointly organized by the United Nations in Turkey and Turkish Japanese Foundation.

To commemorate the International Day for Peace, Peace Bell Ringing Ceremony was organized at the Botanical Gardens in Ankara on September 20, 2013 where international community was called upon to support peace more.

Mr. Kamal Malhotra, UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Keisuke Yamanaka, Minister Counselor of Japanese Embassy and Prof. Tayyar Sadiklar, President of the Turkish Japanese Foundation made speeches to mark the international day.

Delivering the opening speech of the ceremony attended by students, members of non govermental organizations and diplomatic corps, Prof. Sadiklar said that people have been talking about concepts of democracy and peace for many years, however they are not able to establish lasting peace.

“My generation was not successful in preventing war. We are handing over this misson to you. I am sure you will do better than us” said Prof. Sadiklar addressing the students and young people attending the ceremony.

United Nations Resident Coordinator Mr. Malhotra underlined the importance of the event and said “we are gathered to commemorate a very important event at a time when violent conflicts continue to rage in our world, and especially in our neighborhood. The upheavels in many countries in the region illustrate how the effects of conflict can last for generations”.

“The cylcle of attack and revenge, of provocation, will get us nowhere. It destroys, when our duty is to build. It is time to put into action the lessons we have learnt from history so as to make our world a better place for all. On this day devoted no non-violence, let us recognize once again that hatred only fuels hatred, and that violence only breeds violence” contined Mr. Malhotra.

UN Resident Coordinator emphasized that the theme for the International Day of Peace this year is “Education for Peace”. “Education fosters global citizenship and building peaceful societies. It is not enough to teach children how to read, write and count. Education has to cultivate mutual respect for others. Education can teach us to think about how we can use our voice to not only take control of our destiny, but to translate our desires and the desires of others into a better future for all” said Mr. Malhotra.

“Thank you for joining us today to show the world that global problems require global solutions and to recognize that despite the limitations that its member states place on what it can achieve, the United Nations is the only forum which has both the universality and the legitimacy to bring the international community together to address the complex challenges humanity faces today” noted the UN Resident Coordinator.

Despite some important failures, we also have several examples of successful cooperation involving the international community in dealing with the many challenges which face humanity stated Mr. Malhotra and contined, “Today, we call on all sides to show similar cooperation in giving peace a better chance. Today, we must ring the peace bell with extra vigour and conviction. We need the sound of peace to be heard above the voices of conflict and extremism.”

At his speech Mr.Yamanaka underscored the need for world peace. Last year during his speech at the same ceremony the war in Syria was there and it is still continuing this year where more than 100.000 people lost their lives he stated. Eventhough the peace bell ceremony is a symbolic event it is necessary to keep ringing the bell to invite people to tolerance and to peace said Mr. Yamanaka.

Following the speeches calling for world peace, participants rang the peace bell.

International Day of Peace In 1981, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared that the opening day of its regular session in September “shall be officially dedicated and observed as the International Day of Peace and shall be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples”. Every year, people in all parts of the world honour peace in various ways on the 21st of September.

The World Peace Bell “The World Peace Bell Association” was established by Mr. Chiyoji Nakagawa in 1954 to eradicate war and all nuclear weapons from the earth, to provide assistance for countries whose people are suffering from hunger, and to develop World Peace by promoting cultural and educational cooperation internationally.

The World Peace Bell which is located in front of the United Nations building in New York is made from coins and medals donated by 65 member countries of the United Nations in the hope everlasting world peace will be realized.

As of September 2004, the number of countries contributing coins to the World Peace Association totalled 106. Today, 19 countries host the peace bell in their capitals. Additionally, 25 more countries are considering hosting the Peace Bell.

Turkey is among the countries hosting the Peace Bell.