Introduction

International Day of Peace (AKA, Peace Day) is celebrated on September 21st around the world. It was established in 1981 by the UN as a way for humanity to come together globally to set aside differences in the name of Peace. In 2001, it was designated as a Day of ceasefire and a period of non-violence. Teaching about International Day of Peace is an excellent way for students to think critically about how they can contribute to the mission of International Day of Peace outside of one single day. Additionally, students of all ages can learn how to make positive changes in their communities, and to conceive of an ideal world they would like to help build. 

Resources

There are a variety of different resources available for teaching about International Day of Peace. Many suggested activities for past observances have been face-to-face and interactive. However, below are a variety of ideas and activities that can be adapted to virtual and remote learning for all ages. Students can still contribute to the mission of peace in their own schools and communities in a plethora of different ways.

Lesson Plans

  1. Leaders 4SC Forces: Leaders 4SC provides a variety of Task Forces that provoke students to think critically about key issues as they roleplay as decision-makers and brainstorm well-detailed solutions. Each Task Force comes with step-by-step instructions, Google slide templates to be used with virtual breakout rooms, and topic-specific questions to get students started. The activities can be completed either individually or as part of a group. Some relevant Task Forces are City Safety Commission and School Board on Violence.
  2. Children and Youth: International Day of Peace website offers a variety of different lessons at the elementary, middle, and high school level. They also provide a variety of curricula and other resources focused on fostering peace and justice in the classroom and in youth communities.
  3. Peace Brainstorming Lesson: World Peace Society provides a lesson plan that focuses on the skill of brainstorming.  Students create and write ideas related to peace into a mind map. This activity could be done individually or with a small group (or in breakout rooms on Zoom).
  4. Today is the International Day of Peace: ReadWriteThink shares lesson plans related to peace for grades 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. They share additional classroom activities as well as resources for teachers to use in their classrooms.
  5. International Day of Peace Class Plan: This lesson explores what peace means to children by using the five senses. The lesson plan then has students practice yoga poses to relate to the peace concepts presented in the lesson plan. This is a great lesson to get students up and moving, especially if classes are currently remote. 

Articles

  1. 15 International Day of Peace Activities: This article covers different activities teachers can facilitate for International Day of Peace. They also share some children’s books about peace that could be read in the classroom. 
  2. International Day of Peace Factsheet: The U.N. defines what “peace” means, how violent conflicts affect people around the world, and addresses how sustained peace can lead to sustainable development. This article also goes on to express how the U.N. is working towards the mission of International Day of Peace. There are also additional resources teachers can access. 
  3. International Day of Peace: This Twinkl article outlines what International Day of Peace is and why it matters. It lists ways to get involved on Sept. 21st and activities teachers can use in the classroom. 

Informational Sites

  1. Peace Day Challenge: The United States Institute of Peace provides suggestions about how peacebuilding works and how to become a peacebuilder as well as non-violent initiatives and campaigns around the world. They also provide ideas for how to get involved along with posters and graphics teachers can share with their students and in their communities. 
  2. Peace One Day: This site provides hundreds of lesson plans covering various topics related to peace and justice. Teachers can sign up for free.
  3. Teachers without Borders: This site is useful for teachers who would like to refresh or expand their knowledge on global peace and social justice issues. 

Conclusion

Although established almost four decades ago,  International Day of Peace is still relevant today, especially with ongoing issues of climate change, racial injustice, health care disparities, and violent conflicts around the world. Although only one day a year, teachers can use International Day of Peace as a way to encourage students to practice peace throughout the year within their own communities.

Additional Resources

  1. 2020 Theme: Shaping Peace Together: The U.N. shares information about the history of International Day of Peace as well as the theme for September 21, 2020. This article also shares past observances and information on the past themes. 
  2. Together, Building a Sustainable Culture of Peace Along Diverse Pathways: Pathways to Peace provides resources for peacebuilding, ways to get involved in cultivating peace, videos, and more information about International Day of Peace, what peace is, and why it is important.