Peace One Day

Jeremy+Gilley

Jeremy Gilley

Waukee High School walls have been plastered with many different posters. From cheerleaders’ spirit posters to informative signs, the walls are never bare. Recently, “Peace Day” signs were posted, informing students of a holiday that tends to fly under the radar despite the importance it may hold.

According to peaceoneday.org, Jeremy Gilley was an actor turned filmmaker. In the 1990s, he became increasingly interested with the nature of humanity and the issue of peace and decided to make a documentary based on peace, or lack thereof.

“Maybe I can do something,” said Gilley, “maybe I can use a form of film constructively to, in some way, make a difference.”

It was Gilley who founded the International Day of Peace in 1999, and just two short years later the United Nations (UN) adopted the holiday. Peace Day was to be recognized as the first annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence.

Awareness is one of Peace Day’s biggest enemies. Not many people are aware that there even is such a thing as the International Day of Peace. According to peaceoneday.org, only 470 million people in about 200 countries were aware of the holiday in 2013. That’s roughly about 6.6% of Earth’s total population. Considering that percentage, it may come as a shock that supporters of the holiday were actually excited about the number. 470 million people was a 68% increase of awareness from 2012.

With a greater awareness of the holiday, it has the potential to save lives, and not just in war-stricken areas.

“Peace Day is not just about a reduction of violence in areas of conflict; it’s also about reducing violence in our homes, communities, and schools,” stated Gilley in a 2012 video. He challenged everyone with the question, who will you make peace with?

Gilley gave a TED talk in 2011, in which he illuminated the process behind getting Peace Day up and running. Gilley talked specifically of a day that will never be forgotten.

On September 11, 2001, Gilley was scheduled to have a press conference when the events of 9/11 unfolded. Ironically, it was this press conference that would have informed the world of the International Day of Peace.

“This is exactly why, actually,” recalled Gilley. A day of international nonviolence and cease-fire might have caused the terrorists to think twice. Was the fight worth it?

So, Waukee High Schoolers, mark your calendars. September 21, 2015 is the International Day of Peace. Spread awareness for next year. Who will you make peace with?

 

To learn more about Peace Day, please visit peaceoneday.org