Celebrate ‘Peace Day’

POLITICS

On Sept. 21, the United Nations marks the International Day of Peace with a call to invest in education that embraces global citizenship based on values of tolerance and diversity. (UN News Centre)

Use our resources to help encourage tolerance, diversity, and global citizenship.

Discussion Ideas

  • In the video above, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon encourages teaching the values of “tolerance and mutual respect.” (Fast forward to about 1:00.) Read our activity “Breaking Down Invisible Walls.” What are the differences between tolerance and respect? Name some concepts or items that you tolerate, then name some that you respect. (Step one of the activity might help you brainstorm some ideas.)
    • Tolerance implies “putting up with” something, often something you don’t like or agree with. We might tolerate a painful visit to the dentist, a boring class, or political opinions that offend us.
    • Respect implies some level of admiration. We can respect something without necessarily liking or agreeing with it—we might respect the motivation that inspired a political action, for instance, without agreeing with the action itself. We might respect the ideals of a different religion or form of government, without personally sharing its set of beliefs.

“I thought, ‘I’m not going to talk to anybody.’ My plan was, ‘I’m going to sit down, learn the language, without talking to anybody’—which was really dumb.

“Slowly, we started talking. . . . They sat us together in groups of three or four people. They give you a list of questions and you start asking things [in Hebrew]: ‘How are you? What’s your name? Where are you from? What do you like? What music do you listen to?’ 

“And when you start asking those questions, you start to realize how many weird things you have in common with each other. And my weird thing is I’m a big fan of country music. It’s a weird thing in Palestine! 

“That was a way to build friendship: Not through the issues we disagree on, but finding the things we have in common. And then from there, you start moving to more complicated issues, and it becomes easier, because you’ve already built a friendship.

“So, my view as to what separates people is an imaginary wall of hatred and ignorance and fear. What needs to be done is put cracks in that wall.”

  • Can you identify some “invisible walls” of your own? How can individuals, groups, or communities tear down walls to build peace, tolerance, and mutual respect?
    • Get some ideas by using our collection of resources on conflict resolution and peace-building.

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