September 21st is the United Nations Day of Peace, better known as World Peace Day. Each year, World Peace Day is given a special theme and in 2013, the then Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, decreed that the day should be designated as a day specially for peace education, as this is the key preventative measure we can take to sustainably prevent war.
TES has taken up the challenge by not just promoting peaceful interaction at school every day of the year, but also by taking the time to mark this important day on the UN calendar. According to Sarah Kriel, the French Section teacher who has organised World Peace Day at TES for the past three years, “TES is the perfect setting for fostering peace, as we have 50 different nationalities represented at our school and three sections under one roof. It is a rare chance for children from all sections to come together and a great way to break down barriers.”
As in the UN, TES comes up with a theme each year – this year it was ‘Stars of Peace’, symbolising that the real stars of this world are not pop stars or sports stars, but ‘stars’ who strive for peace in our troubled world. It was a fantastic theme that really caught the students’ imaginations and allowed for a great deal of creativity at the same time. Each child at school was asked to write their thoughts about peace or to decorate their own peace stars, which were then displayed on a ‘peace wall’. Each class also created a big star to attach to a balloon and these were floated in the Atrium for all to see.
At TES, each Peace Day is also marked by a very special event in which the whole school comes together – from our youngest students to the Heads of the three sections. This year, the whole school community gathered on the sports field, all wearing white shirts, to form a giant peace star. The oldest students at school did a great job of marking out the outline and all the other children filled the space in the middle. With around 1,000 children at the Primary Campus, it’s no wonder that the result was very impressive.
The United Nations has stated that young people have a vital part to play in making the world a better place. They can welcome newcomers and extend the hand of friendship to people from other countries and cultures that they encounter in school. This is something that TES children do every single day and so perhaps we can see our World Peace Day as a celebration of this achievement and a reminder to keep doing what we do best – fostering an atmosphere of peace and cross-cultural understanding.