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Commemorations of the United Nations International Day of Peace, September 21, 2011 in 62 nations organized by Universal Peace Federation chapters.
This year’s theme is “Peace and Democracy: Make Your Voice Heard,” indicating that the voices and practices of peace must not be silent or passive. We know that in too many places around the world, the voices of peace are restricted or silenced. Digital communications technologies, however, are making it increasingly difficult to suppress free expression.
At the same time, we know that technologies alone cannot bring about lasting peace. Peace has its foundation in the quality of human character and human relationships. And it has been our shared moral and spiritual traditions that, throughout millennia, have taught us of our common origins, purpose and destiny.
Therefore, as we celebrate the International Day of Peace, let us keep in mind that peace will emerge on the foundation of a moral and spiritual awakening. In this way, when we raise our voices to be heard, we will not have a cacophony of discord, but a symphony of harmony and good will that uplifts, encourages, respects and inspires us to act in service to others.
Lasting peace and the growth in solidarity among the whole human family comes from the recognition that we are all brothers and sisters. We are one family under God.
Let us also keep in mind that the basic building block of society, culture and moral character is the family. The family serves as the primary school of ethics. The family is the school where we learn to love, respect and serve others. By strengthening marriage and family, we can educate our children to respect all people, thereby establishing a culture of peace.
Religion has profound relevance and significance in the effort to achieve peace and development. At the same time, we recognize that all too often religious voices have sown seeds of fear, bigotry, and narrow sectarianism, contrary to the core spirit and teachings of the founders of the great spiritual traditions. For this reason, religion has often been a voice of conflict and division.
Laws alone cannot bring about political, economic and social reforms but must be undergirded by substantial educational programs aimed at promoting character education, conflict resolution, and a culture of peace. Men and women who are taught to fulfill their moral obligations and responsibilities toward others will respect and live for the greater good and fulfillment of others.