The International Day of Peace
By David Krieger
September 21, 2009
On this day, like any other,
soldiers are killing and dying,
arms merchants are selling their wares,
missiles are aimed at your heart,
and peace is a distant dream.
Not just for today, but for each day,
let’s sheathe our swords, save the sky
for clouds, the oceans for mystery
and the earth for joy.
Let’s stop honoring the war makers
and start giving medals for peace.
On this day, like any other,
There are infinite possibilities to change
Peace is an apple tree heavy with fruit,
a new way of loving the world.
David Krieger is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and a Councilor of the World Future Council. For more information, visit www.wagingpeace.org
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Each September gives us an opportunity for reflection and hope as we remember the 9/11 attacks and the ongoing conflicts that plague our world and society. But September is also a time when many schools return to session, providing perhaps the best opportunity to ensure a world that grows more compassionate with each generation.
Earlier this year, Karen Armstrong, author of "12 Steps to A Compassionate Life", stressed the need to combat Islamaphobia and hate through cooperation and education. This year the first Compassionate City in the Muslim world was inaugurated in Gaziantep, Turkey. In addition, the very first town to receive the designation Compassionate Village was the vibrant community Khairo Dero in Pakistan -- where children presented a Compassion Festival in March and the community records acts of compassion in a journal at the new community center.
At the beginning of the month, Karen Armstrong spoke to the annual conference of The Islamic Society of North America, the largest Muslim organization in North America. During the conference ISNA affirmed that it is committed to implementing the Charter for Compassion. At the same event, The ADAMS Center (All Dulles Area Muslim Society) declared itself the first Compassionate Mosque and has called on other ISNA mosques to do the same. In the near future ISNA will begin building a network of compassionate schools that will educate the leaders for tomorrow in the compassionate ethos. ISNA Youth also has chosen to dedicate four of its Winter Camps to the study and practice of compassion. Check out ways to extend compassion below:
The Compassionate Schools movement, under the leadership of Charter for Compassion Pakistan and Jordan is flourishing. They have a robust pilot program underway with teacher training and a web site chock full of custom lesson plans and an online place for teachers to meet and exchange ideas. But that's just the tip of the educational iceberg -- the Seattle school system has its first for-credit compassion course for high school kids, middle school kids in Basalt, Colorado are pen pals with their cohorts in Lahore, Pakistan. Check out the programs below for resources for all ages and classroom settings:
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Karen Armstrong's Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life is required reading for dozens of college classes this year and we've got an online guide. In addition, on the ground reading groups continue to spring up all over the globe. Join the Book Group on Facebook to talk online or organize your own local club and check our events listings for gatherings near you. And, for an extra compassion boost -- follow Karen Armstrong on Twitter.
18th Annual Sadako Peace Day
The 18th Annual Sadako Peace Day observance took place on August 6, 2012. This year's event marks the 67th anniversaries of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by commemorating the life of Sadako Sasaki.
Sadako was two years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and developed leukemia ten years later due to radiation from the bomb. Sadako attempted to bring about her wish for world peace by folding 1,000 paper cranes. The paper crane has become a global symbol of peace, and a statue of Sadako now stands in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.