[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/06/art.jeremygilley1.jpg caption="Jeremy Gilley at the Scholastic Auditorium in Manhattan last week."]
Founder of Peace One Day
Ten years ago I had the idea to create an annual day of global ceasefire and nonviolence. I'm a filmmaker, so I decided to document my journey – traveling the world and carrying my film camera with me. In 2001, after trips to countless countries, and hours upon hours of meetings, the United Nations took serious action. Every member state of the UN adopted September 21st as an annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence. The UN resolution asks citizens of our global community — governments, organizations, and individuals like you and me — to mark September 21st, Peace Day, each year.
Peace One Day (POD), the organization that I started 10 years ago, is doing lots of things to help people mark Peace Day in any way they can — through education, music, film, sports, the web, and more. Why? Well, if we can unite the world on September 21st, then maybe in the future things will change. Communication and cooperation between countries and cultures is the key to humanity's survival. Marking Peace Day and taking it seriously is the first step.
I’ve been working around the world to spread the word about Peace Day and now I’m bringing that message with me to the United States. Part of POD’s mission entails using education to empower young people to take action toward a more peaceful world, and to understand that they can make difference. That’s why we created an educational curriculum that will eventually be brought to schools across the globe. We started by distributing the educational materials – to be used along with my documentary The Day After Peace – to every school in the UK. Now, we’re bringing those materials to the US.
Last week, Peace One Day’s educational curriculum and DVD distribution was launched in association with Scholastic and underwritten by long-term supporters Ben & Jerry’s. The free online educational curriculum – recommended for grades 6 – 12 – focuses on conflict resolution and nonviolence, using Peace Day September 21st as a focus. Schools across the Northeast will receive free copies of The Day After Peace, with a nationwide roll-out planned for 2010.
Peace One Day’s education resource, in conjunction with my film, The Day After Peace, enables young people to engage with Peace One Day. It helps them explore issues related to peace and non-violence and inspires them to mark September 21st, in school, at home and in the wider community.
On Monday, I was joined by actor Ben Foster and over 100 New York school children for a national webcast event at Scholastic Auditorium in Manhattan. Thousands of schools from across the Northeast were invited to log on and participate in the interactive event. I focused my discussion on informing students and teachers about the importance of Peace Day and the ways they could get involved in their local communities to make a real difference. You can watch a replay of the webcast here.
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