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The International Day of Peace Vigil

George D'Angelo, Ph.D.

"I see human beings caring for each other, and states sharing responsibility for the safety and welfare of all people, wherever they may live…I see all peoples working together to care for their common home, the earth, ensuring that its riches are preserved for future generations. And I see decisions that affect the global interest being taken in global institutions, starting with the United Nations. All members will respect each other's views, and strive honestly to reach agreement."

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, June 23, 2003

ON 7 SEPTEMBER 2001, the United Nations adopted a resolution designating 21 September of each year as an "International Day of Peace." The intention of the resolution is to have the entire world observe a full day of "global ceasefire and nonviolence." UN General Assembly invited all peoples and organizations to commemorate the day in an appropriate manner to help bring about this Day of Peace.

Readers of the Diamond Light understand, however, that peace can only come from the light within-a concept so well expressed and lived by the Aquarian Age Community. This too is the vision of the International Day of Peace Vigil: lights within, deeply committed to peace, nonviolence and a global ceasefire, manifested through 24-hour spiritual observations within every heart and mind and in every house of worship and place of spiritual practice.1

These global 24-hour observations for peace are meant to demonstrate the power of meditation, prayer and other spiritual observations in promoting peace and preventing violent conflict. They will also help raise public awareness of the International Day of Peace and can directly support the establishment of a global ceasefire, thus fulfilling our short term goal of a day of global ceasefire and nonviolence.

The original underpinning for the Vigil was born from an attempt to include the religious and spiritual dimensions into the United Nations training programme on conflict prevention. In early February 2002, I and other interested individuals met to discuss ways of combining the spiritual realm into the very practical world of conflict prevention and resolution. It was precisely at this time that the UN Department of Political Affairs (UNDPA) sought to include its staff in the observation of the International Day of Peace. As a consultant to the UNDPA, and someone deeply interested in integrating the spiritual dimension into the conflict prevention equation, it seemed quite natural to me that an effective way of observing the Day in an "appropriate manner" as requested by the UN General Assembly resolution, was through spiritual observations. This idea was presented to the group that met in February and eventually to UN peace based NGOs and individuals representing a wide variety of religious and spiritual traditions and as a result, it gained wide support.

The objective of the Vigil movement is: "To encourage worldwide, 24-hour spiritual observations for peace and nonviolence on the International Day of Peace, 21 September 2003 in every house of worship and place of spiritual practice, by all religious and spiritually based groups and individuals and by all men, women and children who seek peace in the world."

The IDP Vigil directly supports the work of the United Nations in that it assists in a very practical manner in making people throughout the world aware of the International Day of Peace and ceasefire. Further, by actively seeking spiritual observations the IDP Vigil is helping to activate the spiritual dimension of peacemaking. By uniting for peace in this manner, people are building a spiritual bond in all parts of the world for a 24-hour period of ceasefire and nonviolence that will resonate in time and space.

Last year was the first year that the call for 24-hour, round the clock spiritual observances was made in conjunction with the International Day of Peace. Over 200 observations were held in over 40 countries bringing tens of thousands of people together in prayer and meditation. From Papua Indonesia (where interfaith observations involving thousands of people parading from Temple to Mosque to Church culminated with a declaration for peace from the chief of the army) to countless spiritual organizations, religious communities and congregations spending the whole day in meditation and/or prayer, people throughout the world joined efforts to emphasize the spiritual dimension of peace.

You can help by conducting spiritual observations in your own communities and by encouraging others to create their own observations. Additional information about this day can be found on the website where you can connect with all your friends and networks throughout the world.

1 At the monthly meeting to support the work of the United Nations, the Aquarian Age Community dedicated the September 9, 2003 meeting to this International Day of Peace; participants had the opportunity to bring their candles and light them from the World Peace Flame created in 1999 out of seven living flames representing five continents. Please write for further details and see Reply Slip for contact information.

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