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World Peace Day Celebrations in Illinois: Finding Peace at Home

PHOTO: Illinois community organizations and educational institutions are marking World Peace Day  with events to discuss ongoing conflicts and possible solutions, both abroad and at home. Graphic credit: freebuddyimages.com.
PHOTO: Illinois community organizations and educational institutions are marking World Peace Day with events to discuss ongoing conflicts and possible solutions, both abroad and at home. Graphic credit: freebuddyimages.com.
September 19, 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Illinoisans across the state will join millions of others for a global celebration this weekend. Sunday, Sept. 21 is the International Day of Peace, also known as World Peace Day, an annual observance devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace. Julia Albarracin is professor of political science at Western Illinois University. She says people have great interest in the issue of peace in other parts of the world, but thinks there isn't as much awareness peace is needed in the U.S.

"We see things going on like the events in Ferguson and that reminds us that, yes we have peace, we're not at war, at least not here," she says. "But at the same time, there are issues we can work on to improve peace and social justice."

Governor Pat Quinn declared Sept. 7 - 21 as Peace Days in Illinois to recognize efforts to build a more peaceful state, country and world. Events include community discussions, art exhibits, and 5-K walks. Western Illinois University holds its annual World Peace Day celebration on Tuesday, including reflections on topics connected to peace and social justice.

Albarracin says while the president and other leaders have power to bring peace at the international level, peace can also be promoted within communities. She says it can begin as simply by being kind to others and understanding differences, so issues that arise can be resolved in a friendly manner.

"There's no way we can enjoy our other rights if we don't have the right to peace," says Albarracin. "It would be important for people to think about that all the time, to try to stop violence in their everyday lives."

World Peace Day was established in 1981 by the United Nations. This year's observance celebrates the 30th anniversary of the General Assembly Declaration of the Right of Peoples to Peace, which recognizes that peace is vital for the full enjoyment of all human rights.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IL