September 21st marks UN International Day of Peace – first celebrated in 1981, and observed by nations and civil societies worldwide. The theme for 2020, ‘Shaping Peace Together‘, is especially critical as the world faces the challenges of the COVID pandemic.
As well as participating in a global initiatives to create ‘paper cranes’ marking #PeaceDay2020 with WCIA and UNA Exchange’s youth volunteering partners worldwide, the day will also be marked by 2 exciting new projects looking to the future: the launch of Academi Heddwch, a Peace Academy network for Wales; and the start of a new research programme into the ‘History of Welsh Internationalism‘ between WCIA, Aberystwyth & Swansea Universities, and the Academi Heddwch network.
The Peace Cranes initiative that WCIA and UNA Exchange are participating in alongside our global partners in the International Volunteering Alliance, CCIVS and UNESCO, is inspired by the story of Sadako Sasaki – a child survivor of the Hiroshima Nuclear Bomb on Japan. Sadako set out to create a thousand paper cranes, wishing for a world without war – but following her death from radiation poisoning in 1955, children (and adults alike) have continued her wish worldwide to this day.
Members of the WCIA team and volunteers each created cranes to form a colourful sculptural ‘flock’ reflecting WCIA’s peace pathways – 7 themes of internationalist action (remembering war, opposing conflict, offering sanctuary to refugees, championing women and equalities, building international solidarity, inspiring future generations, and working in collaboration). Watch this creation in… creation!
Last month marked the 75th anniversary of Hiroshima, for which WCIA launched the CND Cymru Archives – a newly digitised resource for Welsh students and researchers to explore this rich aspect of Wales’ Peace Heritage.
Over the coming weeks Wales’ Temple of Peace will be gradually reopening to the public on a limited basis, following 6 months’ closure over the COVID lockdown.
Would you like to make your own paper crane to mark #PeaceDay2020? Follow these instructions as a guide – and as you get creative, think about what actions you could take to build a better world, in your community and as individuals.