One thousand wishes for peace will be handed out at East Tennessee State University this week as students have organized to celebrate the International Day of Peace.
Caitlin Cherry, a sophomore studying pre-nursing, said she and other students have been planning several activities for this week since July, including the dispersal of 1,000 paper cranes on campus Wednesday. The International Day of Peace is Friday.
“According to Japanese tradition, someone who makes 1,000 cranes receives a wish,” Cherry said. “So we thought that that would be a neat way to celebrate multiculturalism... you know it’s symbolic of the movement of peace that’s taking flight across the world. And also, you know, asking people what is their wish for peace this year, just to kind of start that thought process of, you know, what’s one thing you can do to improve the world around you.”
The International Day of Peace is sanctioned by the United Nations and honored around the world as a time of truce, established in the hopes that a day of peace can eventually extend to peace in the world. Over 200 countries are involved in observing the day
There is a website dedicated to the International Day of Peace called PeaceOneDay.org, and on this site Cherry came across an inspirational quote.
“Awareness will create action, and action will save lives, which we think is very powerful,” she said. “It starts with awareness.”
She is a member of Model United Nations and the Honors College at ETSU, both of which sponsor the events. Cherry and fellow student Kayla Kuziola took the lead on organizing the week’s activities, which include the cranes, but also on Thursday, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. along the pedestrian mall, visitors will be invited to add their hand prints to a canvas and answer the question “What will you do to make peace this year?” At 7 p.m., there will be a showing of “The Day After Peace” in Ball Hall auditorium. The documentary features Jeremy Gilley, founder of the non-profit organization Peace One Day, and his work toward securing an internationally recognized day on nonviolence and global ceasefire. The website for this group is where Cherry’s inspirational quote was found.
Friday there will be a feature peace program at 11:30 a.m. in the Amphitheatre with songs, presentations and the release of 100 biodegradable balloons. The program ends with a moment of silence at noon.
“And we thought that there was a lot of potential as far as diversity awareness and efforts toward relief that could be made at ETSU as far as educating students,” Cherry said of wanting to recognize the International Day of Peace.
She said a lot of students have not kept up with news of the world and are therefore unaware of some of the strife and violence in the world today.
“This is a great opportunity to teach people to think globally and to be aware of people who might have needs that are different than theirs or to be more accepting of different cultures that they haven’t been educated about yet,” Cherry said.
The celebration of the International Day of Peace at ETSU offers a tangible way to help peace and goodwill in the world, Cherry said. Students and the community are invited to the ETSU women’s soccer game Friday at 7 p.m. People there will be challenged to give a dollar amount per goal scored to UNICEF to help people and children who are in extreme need across the world.
For more information, contact Cherry at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kuziola at email@example.com.