by Georgia Clark
The International Student Cultural Organization celebrated the International Day of Peace with a peace walk, using the day to shine a light on the international student body and the idea of peace during a time of unrest in the world.
At the walk, students carried the flags of the more than 50 nations represented at Troy down University Avenue, then gathered around the Peace Dove to hear speakers from around the world. They spoke on what peace means to them and the struggles some have faced in their home countries.
Marcelles Martin, a junior international politics major from Atlanta, Georgia, and the Student Government Association’s International Committee Chairman, also spoke at the event.
“Peace is not something we are ever going to achieve without the help of past generations – it’s something we have to constantly work on,” Martin said.
The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by the United Nations, and according to ISCO President Alayna Pody, a junior social science major from Alpine, Alabama, the day is meant to foster unity between the nations of the UN and to continue extending an olive branch to countries outside of the UN.
“It’s the idea that we as a university, as an organization, don’t see everybody as individuals,” Pody said. “Rather, we are all a collective, and we work to make sure everyone feels welcomed and invited.”
2022 marks 41 years since the International Day of Peace’s founding, but for some, it has a more solemn tone this year. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began in February, and despite Ukraine’s forceful defense, Russia continues its advance. Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, announced on the International Day of Peace that the Russian military would be conducting a partial troop mobilization into Ukraine, leading to protests across the country.
According to Russian and Ukrainian students Pody has spoken with, this war has been difficult for them, especially with them being away from their families.
“It’s important for the international students to know that we do these events for them and to give them a safe space to be an individual, not a specific kind of national,” Pody said.
Pody encourages domestic students to seek out these international students and simply talk with them, and continue to have an open mind and open heart to students whose countries are going through devastating events.