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September 17, 2010 > Embracing peace

Embracing peace

By Julie Grabowski

On Tuesday, September 21, nations, governments, communities and individuals come together in a global holiday to end conflict and promote peace. While longstanding peace is always hoped for in this ever warring world, the United Nations General Assembly declared a singular day of peace in 1981 in the hope that it might someday reach that larger goal. An International Day of Peace was to be recognized on the third Tuesday of September. The new holiday was first celebrated the following year - 1982 - and received its permanent date of September 21 in 2002. It has since grown to include numerous nations and millions of people across the globe.

Also known as World Peace Day or simply Peace Day, it is commemorated by national and governmental actions ranging from proclamations to participation in ceasefires and providing humanitarian aid. During U.N. discussions that led to the establishment of the International Day of Peace it was suggested "Peace Day should be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples...This day will serve as a reminder to all peoples that our organization, with all its limitations, is a living instrument in the service of peace and should serve all of us here within the organization as a constantly pealing bell reminding us that our permanent commitment, above all interests or differences of any kind, is to peace."

And a pealing bell quite literally figures into the day. The "Peace Bell" is rung at U.N. Headquarters in New York City each year to inaugurate the International Day of Peace. A gift from Japan, the bell is cast from coins donated by children from each continent and serves as "a reminder of the human cost of war." It bears an inscription that reads: "Long live absolute world peace."

This year's theme is "Youth, Peace and Development," and its slogan "Peace = Future."

The Peace Day Global Broadcast will run from September 17 to the 21st on and, promoting the U.N. Millennium Development Goals, and featuring speeches from world leaders, news updates from the U.N., performances from internationally known musicians, and videos on solutions to major human and environmental problems.

But you don't have to be in government or a power position to bring about peace. Communities and individuals participate in events throughout the week from concerts and festivals to prayer meetings, church services, volunteering, and making personal amends. The International Day of Peace encourages all mankind to pursue the goal of peace in any way possible, small or large. It follows the belief that small pieces coming together will make an impactful whole, and one day, change the world.

To learn more about The International Day of Peace as well as local, national, and worldwide efforts visit,, or

Bay Area International Day of Peace Events:

Build A World of Peace - Interfaith Peace Witness
Displays, exhibits, activities, and prayers. Speakers will be Len and Libby Traubman, creators of Jewish/Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group and Peace Camps in the Sierra Nevada.
Sunday, September 19
3 p.m. - 5 p.m.
St. Thomas Aquinas Church
751 Waverley St. at Homer St., Palo Alto
(650) 569-3416

Celebration of International Day of Peace
Inspirational readings, quotes, and original music performed by Karie Hillery, Del Penny, and Will Northcutt. Screening of the video, "Peace One Day" follows the celebration.
Sunday, September 19
10:30 a.m. celebration; Noon video screening
Center for Spiritual Living - Los Gatos
550 Hubbel Way, Los Gatos

Prayer for Peace
Rev. Andrea Goodman with the Interfaith Peace Project presents the five major Faith Traditions, followed by an interfaith prayer for peace.
Tuesday, September 21
6:30 p.m.
33883 Alvarado Niles Rd., Union City

International Day of Peace Service
A moment of silence at noon followed by prayers from the Clergy of many traditions, music, and a prayerful offering of peace cranes for everyone present. Keynote speaker will be Ven Jian Hu, Abbot of Chung Tai Zen Center in Sunnyvale.
Tuesday, September 21
Noon - 1:30 p.m.
Center for Spiritual Enlightenment
1145 University Ave., San Jose

Peace Day Concerts
Local non-profit organization Listen for Life presents a series of free concerts and events on Tuesday, September 21, with over 100 musicians performing at various venues across Oakland, representing the many cultures and traditions from Oakland and the Bay Area. For more information visit

Vocalist James "J.B." Brooks performs.
11 a.m. - Noon
St. Mary's Senior Center
925 Brockhurst St., Oakland

Outdoor concert featuring harpist Diana Rowan and classical guitarist Rick Flores
Noon - 1 p.m.
In front of Oakland City Hall
1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland

Outdoor concert at Preservation Park with the Latin American songs of Rafael Manriquez and Ingrid Rubis, Irish band The Gasmen, rapper Aaron Ableman, Evelie Posch and Friends, and Balkan Band Orkestar Sali.
5 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Bandstand at Preservation Park
668 13th St. at Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Oakland

This diverse concert collection welcomes the Pacific Boychoir, world-renowned Eastern European woman's vocal group Kitka, Guzheng master Winnie Wong, Hawaiian duo Pulama, Carlitos Sermeno playing Paraguayan harp music, soprano Sarah Klauer and pianist Ralph Lewis, Flamenco guitarist David McLean, Charith Premawardhana and Classical Revoluation, and Celtic Folk music from Connie Doolan Quartet.
6 p.m. - 10 p.m.
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
114 Montecito Ave., Oakland

St. Augustine's hosts Irish band The Gasmen, Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, Malvika Sriram performs carnatic singing from India, Patrick Landeza on Hawaiian slack-key guitar, 18-year-old operatic phenomenon Ricky Garcia, Filipino choir Spiritual Image, Emmy-winning Vietnamese musician Vanessa Van-Anh Vo, and Miriam Peretz and Ensemble with "Miriam's Well" dance performance.
7 p.m. - 10 p.m.
St. Augustine Catholic Church
400 Alcatraz Ave., Oakland

The Oakland A's play the Chicago White Sox in a game dedicated to Peace Day. Listen for Life affiliated singer Ricky Garcia will perform the National Anthem.
7:05 - 10 p.m.
Admission ticket required
Oakland Coliseum
7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland

All Day Chanting For World Peace
A full day chanting the Thousand Names of the Divine Mother for World Peace
Tuesday, September 21
5:15 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.
10200 Crow Canyon Rd., Castro Valley

Mountain View International Day of Peace
Interfaith prayer, performances, and arts and crafts for families
Saturday, September 25
3 p.m.
Civic Center Plaza
500 Castro St., Mountain View

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