The International Day of Peace, traditionally observed every year on September 21, was celebrated early, on September 16, 2016, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
The theme of this year's observance is “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Block for Peace”
Activities for the day began at 9 am with the Peace Bell Ceremony in the United Nations New York Headquarter’s Peace Garden, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon rang the Peace Bell and observed a minute of silence.
In the General Assembly Hall, the event opened with performance by hip hop artists Ike Ramos & Nitty Scott of Flocabulary, who broke down the 17 Sustainable Goals into an easy to understand concept. The Event was moderated by Messenger of Peace Michael Douglas.
In addition to the United Nations High Profile Officials, Three Women Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, the United Nations Messengers of Peace, and the Winner of the Global Teacher Prize participated in the ceremony. International Students held flags of all 193 Member States as well as that of the United Nations.
More than 800 high school and university students in person and by video link from the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Cyprus and Liberia, participated in the General Assembly and presented ideas and projects on peace-related issues.
The ceremony was concluded by Ban Soon-taek, wife of the Secretary-General, who rang a peace bell and observed a minute of silence.
The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly, in 2001, the General Assembly unanimously voted to designate the Day as a period of non-violence and cease-fire.
Mr. Ban Ki-Moon stressed that “peace is not just about putting weapons aside, it is about building societies where people share the benefits of prosperity on a healthy planet”.