Troy University will be celebrating International Peace Day with a variety of events around campus on Thursday, Sept. 21.
This is the first year that International Peace Day is being celebrated at Troy University. The events are being hosted by the International Arts Center, where many of the activities will take place.
“It’s a chance to meet somebody that you don’t know at an event that’s dedicated to peace, and if you get to know that person, it makes the world a little bit safer,” said Joe McCall, a senior lecturer of history and International Student Cultural Organization adviser.
“This is one of those events where international and American kids can come together, listen to each other, get to know each other, understand each other and in a small, perhaps imperceptible way, lower the risk of war.”
International Peace Day was started by the United Nations in 1982 and is celebrated worldwide.
Carrie Jaxon, a curator of the International Arts Center, said that the Peace Day events were a great way to celebrate Troy’s international culture.
“We’re in a political climate that is a little harsh,” Jaxon said. “A lot of unpeaceful activities are happening.
“International Peace Day is a specific day that we can, all around the world, celebrate the fact that we do have a lot of peace. So this is our little contribution from Troy, Alabama.”
There will be a yoga session from 9-9:45 a.m. in the grass near the Pax Dove behind the International Arts Center. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., there will be booths led by the Student Government Association and ISCO on the quad where students can write messages of peace on flags that will be displayed near the Pax Dove.
“You may just be one person writing a peace message, but when you see all of the peace messages together, you can realize that with all of our peaceful wishes and messages that we can create a pretty big impact,” said Jaxon.
At 7:15 p.m., ISCO will be conducting a march of flags from HAL Hall to the International Arts Center with students carrying flags from their country. The march will lead into a 30-minute program with singing and speaking from faculty and students, followed by an open house.
“I think (International Peace Day) is a very bold statement in a time where hate is really starting to arise again,” said Lydia Gilmer, a sophomore English major from Chelsea and chair of administration for ISCO.
“People are looking out towards the world and trying to think of ‘What more can we do?’” Gilmer said. “Especially here on campus, we have so many internationals with such a presence and it really gives you mind to look beyond our own borders to look at the events that are happening and here we can really just come together in a place and discuss and really think about what can we do to eventually achieve world peace.”
The highlight of International Peace Day is the moment of silence that will be observed at noon in each time zone all over the world. This moment is meant to be used for a quick meditation or prayer, hoping for world peace.
There will be a meditation in the International Arts Center from 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. coinciding with the worldwide moment of silence.
“We do hope that people around campus that can’t be at the meditation can observe a moment of silence at noon, whether it be in the classroom, having lunch or sitting on the quad,” Jaxon said. “We hope that people can observe this moment as a sign of respect for the peace that we hope to achieve around the world.”
The groups sponsoring and putting on the events throughout the day hope to expand International Peace Day and create even more elaborate and inspired activities in years to come.
Gilmer encouraged students and faculty to do more than just participate in the events on International Peace Day.
“Another way you can get involved is start speaking with international students, start interacting with them,” Gilmer said. “You can travel the world just by speaking to other people not from here.
“You will be surprised at how different cultures are, but also how similar they are. I mean, we’re all humans.”