International Day of Living Together in Peace
The world’s first ever International Day of Living Together in Peace, 16th May 2018.
The world has become increasingly inter-connected and inter-dependent, however, human relations between different societies, nations and cultures don’t appear to have become stronger. Mistrust and incomprehension, the hierarchisation of people and bodies as well as the transformation of the notion of difference into otherness have all fed into the rise in discrimination on ethnic, religious or racial ground. Meanwhile, poverty and lack of economic opportunity continued to drive intolerance and situated extremism.
Living together in peace is about accepting differences and having the ability to listen to, recognize and respect others. That is why the International Day of Living Together in Peace aims to promote peace, moderation, tolerance, inclusion, understanding and solidarity.
UN’s ‘Declaration on a Culture of Peace’ (1999) tries to advance the idea that peace cannot be achieved merely by the absence of conflict, but that it also requires a positive, interactive and participatory process, aimed to nurture cooperation, trust and mutual respect.
To get a peaceful settlement of disputes and to achieve harmonious coexistence and sustainable development we therefore need to encourage reconciliation, increase intercultural understanding, facilitate dialogue among civilizations and promote moderation as a value underpinning peace, security and development.
In the long run, that can be achieved. By bringing cultures together and working with communities, faith leaders and other relevant actors. By mobilising civil societies and fostering their capacities to enhance the physical safety of vulnerable populations under threat of violence. By normalising a culture of peace and encouraging such conversations in the media. Children and youth remain the key to achieving these goals therefore they need to understand the importance of the peace building agenda and to get familiarised with its underlying values.
Difference is at the basis of identity, as it defines what we are not. The public needs to acknowledge difference and try not de-naturalise it by transforming it into otherness. People should not be afraid of complexity. Instead, we ought to recognise the great diversity of the world’s cultures and the links uniting them. We need to understand the shared roots between cultures and the reciprocal influences they have had on one another. We are all intertwined. We have to facilitate inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogues in order to make to an improved awareness of the common values shared by all humankind.
The International Day of Living Together in Peace aims to encourage states and individuals to have an active role in bridge making and creating cohesive societies that at the same time preserve cultural legacy.