Donate now

Together for peace: respect, safety and dignity for all.

World Vision
21 September 2017 by Jason Mete
Together for peace: respect, safety and dignity for all.

Conflict is man-made; therefore, man can unmake it and make peace instead.

The International Day of Peace (‘Peace Day’) is observed around the world each year on 21 September. Established in 1981 by unanimous United Nations resolution 36/37, the General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to “commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples.”

Peace Day provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to peace above all differences and to contribute to building a culture of peace.

Refugees, displaced the by violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar, waiting beside road for assistance, on their way to Balukhali camp. Photo by Shabir Hussain.

Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.

This is the 2017 International Day of Peace theme, and is based on the TOGETHER global campaign that promotes respect, safety and dignity for everyone forced to flee their homes in search of a better life. TOGETHER brings together the organisations of the United Nations System, the 193 member countries of the United Nations, the private sector, civil society, academic institutions and individual citizens in a global partnership in support of diversity, non-discrimination and acceptance of refugees and migrants.

Peace is an interesting social concept. Simple in fact, in that it is the absence of conflict.

As a People and Culture Advisor, part of my role is to provide and support a peaceful working environment, managing any conflict that arises. Sounds odd hey, because the idea of conflict in the workplace – when it becomes destructive – is not acceptable. Conflict is not an acceptable medium to getting what you want – unless it’s dismissal.

Palestine – children play in the park, with a section of the separation wall looming behind them. Photo by Ryan Beiler.

So why is conflict more acceptable when it affects a more diverse audience? Why do we get to use conflict when it is in the name of religion, politics, race, gender, the economy, or any other social reason we use to divide us? When it’s really just for the pursuit, possession, and application of power. And the most affected by it, are the most vulnerable.

Syrian refugee Shaima is hoping to become a paediatrician because of the suffering she witnessed. Photo by Alex Whittle.

Fortunately, there are those working towards a better world. One of them is World Vision.

So how does World Vision Australia support this journey towards peace? Our work in Syria is a perfect example. More than 16 million Syrians need humanitarian assistance, including 4.8 million people who have been forced to flee their country to escape violence. More than half of those affected are children. Since conflict erupted in March 2011, a further 6.5 million people – more than one-third of Australia’s population – have been forced from their homes, but remain in Syria.

Displaced Syrian children are referred to formal schooling through coordination between World Vision and the ministry of education. Photo by Yara Chehayed.

In 2016, World Vision’s Syria Response reached approximately 2.3 million people, including 1.2 million children inside Syria and in the neighbouring countries that are hosting most Syrian refugees, including Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq. The assistance that World Vision Australia provides includes helping people access food, clean water, sanitation and hygiene services, shelter, and emergency supplies such as blankets and warm winter clothing. World Vision also provides safe spaces for children to learn, play, and receive other forms of support.

Girls, displaced from Syria in a refugee camp. Photo by Alex Whittle.

While millions around the world are displaced due to conflict, and are being refused entry and settlement into more stable environments, World Vision Australia directly promotes respect, safety and dignity for everyone forced to flee their homes in search of a better life. We support diversity and we do not discriminate.

Iraq- Jamal is part of a World Vision student group set up at his school, where he promotes peace and acceptance amongst his friends and peers. Photo by Sacha Myers.

Kids for Peace and Youth for Peace in Kosovo. Photo by WV staff.

Somalia – Children display their art drawings at the art exhibition for this years International Day of Peace. Photo by Nancy Okwengu.

Albania – On the International Day of Peace, the Roma Community highlighted the importance of peace and tolerance between the Roma community and others. Photo by Bardha Prendi Qokaj.

If that’s not working towards peace, I don’t know what is.

Jason Mete Jason Mete

Jason Mete is a People and Culture Advisor at World Vision Australia. Owner of two rescue beagles, lover of heavy red wine, motorbikes, and a big softy optimist.


Leave a Reply

World Vision Australia uses Disqus, which is a third party commenting system. Please refer to Disqus' terms of service and privacy policy for more information. Users may provide comments without including personal information should they not wish to do so.