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September 2013 Playa del Carmen, Mexico

An overview of GVI’s participation on Peace One Day celebration
In 1999, Jeremy Gilley founded Peace One Day as a non-profit organization with the objective to institutionalize the 21st of September as a self-sustaining, annual day of global unity; a day of intercultural cooperation on a scale that humanity has never known. And only 2 years on, the member states of the United Nations unanimously adopted the first ever annual day of global ceasefire and nonviolence on 21 September – the objective was achieved on paper. The only true achievement of this objective is if there was total participation from the people of the world. To reach them, the Global Truce campaign involved the creation of a series of Peace One Day coalitions, each with a lead partner: the NGO Coalition; the ‘Reducing Domestic Violence’ Coalition; the Student Coalition; and the Schools’ Network in 2012. Organizations closer to people (including: CocaCola, British Airways, Dior, Skype, Google, Lotus F1 Team, Innocent little tasty drinks, Ocado and The Execution charitable trust ) supported this as well. Through detailed analysis conducted with the support of McKinsey & Company, the Peace One Day 2012 report found that, across the world there were approximately 280 million people in 198 countries aware of Peace Day 2012 – 4% of the world’s population. Including one of the most staggering figure of 70% recorded reduction in violent incidents on Peace Day in Afghanistan (source: United Nations Department of Safety and Security). The report further estimates that approximately 2% of those people (5.6 million) behaved more peacefully as a result.

Figure 1 Volunteers and children making pinwheels

To support Peace One Day 2013, GVI decided to share this wonderful message of peace with the children of Mexico. With the creative combined minds of volunteers, the children made pin wheels in the colours and patterns of flags from all around the world. Once completed, the children ventured into their local community park and marched for peace.

A perfectly windy day showed off the children’s handiworks proudly as colours from all around the world spun in harmony. Each little representative shouted “Queremos paz!” which means “We want peace!” Their loud voices echoed in the halls and captured the attention of any near bystander. And how could they not ignore such a spectacle of cheers and colours. “Peace for Cuba! Peace for China! Peace for Australia!” the children sang all the countries they had created until the sun had set. Experts expect figures of participation for 2013 to double aiming to inform 3 billion people about Peace Day by 2016. Yes, Peace One Day has been accepted by the United Nations, NGOs around the world, global conglomerates and organizations, even by Hollywood celebrities like Jude Law. But without the participation of people from around the world, Peace One Day would just be nothing more than a great idea. So we started with a little (pun intended); children spreading awareness to their families and their communities. Figure 2 Showing off their work Who knows, in 3 years time (or sooner), we could be seeing big changes in this small community; and that will be an incredible achievement for GVI Mexico.

Figure 3 Marching around shouting for peace

References:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVo4lQe8MhQ viewed: 9th October 2013  http://peaceoneday.org/2013-celebration/ viewed: 9th October 2013  http://peaceoneday.org/ viewed: 9th October 2013