Martin Luther King Jr. Mother Teresa. President Obama. All of these influential individuals have one thing in common—each is a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Winthrop students and faculty gathered Sept. 17 to acknowledge the global influence of these individuals and to celebrate International Day of Peace.
Since its conception in 1982, the United Nations recognizes Sept. 21 as International Day of Peace, or Peace Day. Each year, the U.N. chooses a different focus and this year the day was dedicated to ‘Education for Peace.’
Dr. Ginger Williams, President of the Peace History Society and director for the Peace, Justice and Conflict Resolution Studies Program at Winthrop, spoke at the event about her experience as a peace worker in Nicaragua.
Williams has traveled to small communities in Nicaragua several times to help give children the opportunity to receive education. William helped found the Winthrop School in Rocha, Nicaragua.
“It’s important to think about the possibility of peace,” Williams said. “I don’t think most people envision a peaceful world and having this day helps bring hope for the possibility of peace.”
Williams is hoping to erect a peace pole on campus in March. The hexagonal pole will be six feet tall with the word “peace” written on it in six different languages. The peace pole’s exact location will be determined in the near future.
“It will be a permanent installation of peace on Winthrop’s campus that will be there forever,” Williams said.
For Janell Jacobs, Student Director for the Multicultural Student Council, Peace Day hits a little closer to home.
“As a wife and mother, peace within the household is very important to me,” Jacobs said. “Peace is important in our daily lives, not just globally.”
The student organization Skin Deep performed two skits at the Peace Day event. Both skits focused on peace in a unique way.
President of Skin Deep, Brittani Copeland, said Peace Day is the perfect opportunity for Skin Deep to spread awareness of social issues, such as peace in the home and peace in the community.
“It’s important to always find where your peace lies,” Copeland said. “I think it’s important for all of us, whether it’s in our families or in our communities, to help others.”
Chandler Cox, Vice President of Public Relations for the Multicultural Student Council, organized the Peace Day event and said she hopes to see the event grow in the future.
“Peace day isn’t very well-known so it is important to promote diversity awareness and bring an inclusive and diverse culture to Winthrop,” Cox said. “Personally, it’s a day to create peace in your own life and bring awareness to the fact that many people aren’t as fortunate as we are.”
In the words of one Nobel Peace Prize winner Martin Luther King Jr., “Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.”
For more information, visit www.internationaldayofpeace.org or contact the Multicultural Student Union.