Guest Blogger Monique Coleman is an actress, advocate and an Education Ambassador for Peace One Day.
On September 21st we celebrated the annual UN recognized International Day of Peace. People around the world came together in the name of peace to demonstrate how dialogue is a more powerful tool for resolving conflict than resorting to violence.
It is estimated that more than 600 million people around the world were aware of Peace Day this year. I’m so honored and grateful to have witnessed such a profound expression of people uniting worldwide. In the Netherlands, Peace One Day held an Annual Day of Peace event at The Peace Palace in The Hague, where attendees of all ages and nationalities took a moment to share what peace means to them in the Skype Video Messaging Booth:
This year, Peace One Day launched a new educational initiative aimed at getting youth around the world to participate in conversations about peace. Each of these “Peace Talks” introduced two culturally different classrooms from across the globe via Skype, in order to enable them to meet and share their stories. During these talks, they discussed how – as a generation – they could come together to create a less violent world. While culturally varied, the students found that they were more alike than different and they possessed a shared passion for creating a brighter future for all people around the globe.
Going into 2014, led by founder Jeremy Gilley, Peace One Day will support more of these conversations and encourage youth to not only generate a buzz, but also to take active steps toward creating world peace. There is a great opportunity for teachers to get their students involved through the Skype in the classroom community. Educators from around the world are using Skype to introduce their students to new cultures and inspiring them to become good global citizens.
As an actress, I get to tell stories that impact people’s lives and I love it. As an Education Ambassador for Peace One Day, I get to help real people shape their personal story and re-imagine their world more peacefully. This is by far my greatest “role”. I’ve traveled the world to speak to children and adults about where we are with peace in the world. I’ve had the pleasure of taking part in the ceremonial ringing of the Peace Bell on the United Nations’ Peace Day, during which I felt a calming sense of solidarity and assurance. I’ve heard and shared positive words of hope and optimism from able-bodied, economically-stable youth. I’ve also seen the anxiety and despair in the eyes of those faced with extreme poverty and circumstances such as trafficking and abuse. My sincere hope is that more people decide to stand up for peace instead of fighting for it.
With the help of Peace One Day, we will continue to mobilize our millennials. By using technology and resources such as Skype, we will expose them to the realities of young people just like themselves who are living in war-torn countries in regions like the Middle East and Africa. We will make them aware of the divide, as well as the direct correlation, between poverty and war. To solve the larger problem, you must first get to the root and our youth have the power to do it!