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UN International Days

Lending our voices to this powerful advocacy tool, McLaughlin College marks days the United Nations has designated as special occasions around particular events or topics. Through talks and other commemorative activities, these events prompt action and raise awareness of global issues such as racism, war and human rights. Find details on our events below.

Chair: Professor David DeWitt

Moderator: Professor James C. Simeon 

Panelists: Professors Richard Caplan, W. Andy Knight and Sandra Whitworth  

UN International Day of Peace Commemoration and Special Panel Presentation

September 21, 2021, 12:30 to 2:00 PM via Zoom Webinar

The International Day of Peace ("Peace Day") is observed around the world each year on 21 September. Established in 1981 by unanimous United Nations resolution, Peace Day provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace.

The 2021 theme for the International Day of Peace is “Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world”. We invite you to join the efforts of the United Nations family as we focus on recovering better for a more equitable and peaceful world. Celebrate peace by standing up against acts of hate online and offline, and by spreading compassion, kindness, and hope in the face of the pandemic, and as we recover.

Each year McLaughlin College recognizes a number of UN International Days with Special Panel sessions to further the UN's call for education, public awareness on issues related to peace. This UN International Day is perhaps one of its most important. All are invited to join us for our World Day of Peace Special Panel session via Zoom Webinar.

Past Events

2020 Theme: Recover Better - Stand Up for Human Rights

International Human Rights Day, 10 December, commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).  The UDHR is one of UN’s major achievements as well as the first enunciation of human rights across the world.  Adopted on 10th December 1948, the Declaration stipulates universal values and a shared standard of achievement for everyone in every country. While the Declaration is not a binding document, it inspired over 60 human rights instruments that today make a common standard of human rights. This year’s Human Rights Day theme relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and focuses on the need to “build back better” by ensuring human rights are central to recovery efforts. We will reach our common global goals only if we are able to create equal opportunities for all, address the failures exposed and exploited by COVID-19, and apply human rights standards to tackle entrenched, systemic, and intergenerational inequalities, exclusion, racism, and discrimination. 10 December is an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of human rights in re-building the world we want, the need for global solidarity as well as our interconnectedness and shared humanity.

2020 Theme:  Shaping Peace Together

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The UN General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire.

This year, it has been clearer than ever that we are not each other’s enemies. Rather, our common enemy is a tireless virus that threatens our health, security and very way of life. COVID-19 has thrown our world into turmoil and forcibly reminded us that what happens in one part of the planet can impact people everywhere.

Each year McLaughlin College recognizes a number of UN International Days with Special Panel sessions to further the UN's call for education, public awareness on issues related to peace. This UN International Day is perhaps one of its most important.

The main purpose of the United Nations is promoting and maintaining peace. And, as the UN Resolution establishing the World Day of Peace states, "wars begin in the minds of men, it is the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed ... and that the peace must therefore be founded, if it is not to fail, upon the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind" (A/RES/36/67, 30 November 1981). In 2001, the UN General Assembly designated the World Day of Peace as a period of non-violence and cease-fire. The UN calls on all nations and peoples to honour a cessation of hostilities during the day, and to commemorate the day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.

Each year McLaughlin College recognizes a number of UN International Days with Special Panel sessions to further the UN's call for education, public awareness on issues related to peace. This UN International Day is perhaps one of its most important.

Moderator: 

JAMES C. SIMEON, Head of McLaughlin College and Professor of School of Public Policy and Administration, York University.

Panel Speakers:

TAMARA LORINCZ, is a PhD Canadidate at the Balsillie School of International  Affairs at Wilfrid Laurier University and board member of the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace. Her talk is titled,Why Peace & Disarmament are Essential to Climate Justice."

NATALIE RIZZO is the Central Ontario Animator of Development and Peace, the Canadian member organization of Caritas Internationalis. Development and Peace supports partners in the Global South who promote alternatives to unfair social, political and economic structures.

BRANKA MARIJAN is a Senior Researcher at Project Ploughshares. She holds a PhD from the Balsillie School of International Affairs with a specialization in conflict and security. Branka is a board member of the Peace and Conflict Studies Association of Canada.

Every year, since 1981, the International Day of Peace is celebrated around the world. The United Nations General Assembly devotes this day "to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples." Unanimously approved, General Assembly Resolution 36/67, further states: "since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defence of peace must be constructed, that a peace based exclusively upon the political and economic arrangements of Governments would not be a peace which could secure the unanimous, lasting and sincere support of the peoples of the world, and that the peace must therefore be founded, if it is not to fail, upon the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind."

Moderator: 

JAMES C. SIMEON, Head of McLaughlin College and Professor of School of Public Policy and Administration, York University.

Panel Speakers:

SHELDON CLARK, Lifelong Quaker, and a recently appointed Anglican Lay Reader, is a retired English teacher, high school administrator, prison chaplain, and a Recorded Minister as a Quaker pastor (Indiana). His talk is titled, "A glass of water."

SORPONG PEOU, is President of Science for Peace, based at the University of Toronto, and Professor of Global Peace and Security, Department of Politics and Public Administration, Ryerson University. His talk is titled, “Is world peace possible?"