SOURCE: Torme Lauricella

Torme Lauricella

September 19, 2013 11:00 ET

URI Celebrates International Day of Peace

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - September 19, 2013) -  To mark the United Nations' International Day of Peace on September 21, United Religions Initiative (URI) Executive Director Victor Kazanjian joined the UN for its Department of Public Information student observance on the 18th. URI is currently mobilizing hundreds of its global networks to hold a series of events worldwide.

"URI is doing wonderful things for International Day of Peace throughout the world; it's a time when our prayers and actions for peace go far beyond one day. The International Day of Peace is a shared focus that can connect us and refresh us," said Monica Willard, URI's United Nations Representative.

In attendance at the UN's official marking of the Peace Day, URI's new Executive Director, Victor Kazanjian, participated alongside hundreds of students from across the U.S., UN Messenger of Peace Jane Goodall, and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

"As the peoples of the world pause to recommit themselves to the possibilities of peace, I am honored to represent the United Religions Initiative and join my sisters and brothers at the ceremonies at the United Nations. May the cultivation of peace within ourselves and the joining together of our hearts across lines of difference lead us to actions through which the violence that impacts so many may be transformed into peaceful coexistence for all," said Kazanjian. 

Scores of Cooperation Circles (CCs) from more than 600 CCs will also take action to show support and a shared commitment to building a culture of peace through prayers, educational programs, tree plantings, walks, cultural gatherings and service activities. Events taking place during the International Day of Peace include: a Global March for Unity and Peace in Buenos Aires, Argentina; an art exhibit for Middle East Peace in Seattle, WA; a conference on the institutionalization of peace education in order to promote a culture of peace in our schools in Kaduna State, Nigeria; and a blood donation camp in Manbazar in West Bengal, India. URI's "Talking Back To Hate" campaign has also rallied its partners to engage in global action for International Day of Peace. Activities range from an interfaith concert in San Francisco featuring music from different religious and cultural traditions to organized visits to places of worship in London to solidarity actions with First Nations people in Canada.

This year's theme, "Education for Peace," is in accordance with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Global Education First Initiative, a program that highlights and examines the role education can play in fostering global citizenship. The UN is working for a global education system that cultivates respect and a more inclusive and peaceful society. The UN calls on governments to place education at the top of their agenda. 

URI is a global grassroots interfaith network that cultivates peace and justice by engaging people to bridge religious and cultural differences and work together for the good of their communities and the world.

URI's mission is implemented through local and global initiatives that build the capacity of nearly 600 member groups and organizations in 86 countries to engage in community action such as conflict resolution and reconciliation, environmental sustainability, education, women's and youth programs, and advocacy for human rights.

URI's Talking Back To Hate campaign is a global effort to unite people of all faiths to take a stand against hate speech, bullying and discrimination. Nearly 1,500 supporters have signed a pledge to support this initiative. Prominent campaign partners include the World Sikh Organization of Canada and the Christian-Muslim Forum in the UK.

Visit www.uri.org for further information on URI's projects in: Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific, and North America.

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