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Cairo's Day of Peace
an article by Ahram Online, (abridged)

Eleven years after a United Nations resolution established theInternational Day of Peace, artists, civil society members and a huge audience came together to promote a culture of peace on 21 September in Cairo. The day started as a regular Friday, Cairo streets emptier than usual, encouraging more than 1000 Cairenes to head over to Darb 1718 to engage with Peace Day.

Peace Day, Cairo

click on photo to enlarge

Organised jointly by several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) along with Darb 1718 staff, the event presented a successful collaboration between the worlds of art and civil society: two worlds which ultimately have similar goals. The main organiser was CISV Egypt, a local NGO that is part of an international organisation promoting peace through intercultural and local education programmes and developmental initiatives. Masterpeace, an NGO that works on promoting Peace Day across the world, along with establishing Cairo as the World Peace Capital by 2014, was also involved in organising the day. The event was entirely run by volunteers, all dressed in green t-shirts emblazoned with the Peace One Day logo.

"It is very important in the current difficult circumstances to put all this aside and embrace our humanity, even if just for one day," Ramy Tadros, one of the event's organisers told Ahram Online.

The event started around 2pm in Darb's main garden. During the afternoon, NGOs laid out their booths attracting potential volunteers from the crowd, as well as meeting fellow civil society members to establish partnerships. Alwan w Awtar and CISV Egypt, which both deal with the informal education of children, had activities next to their booths attracting children to paint what peace meant to them along with other more active games centred around peace. There were other NGOs such as Wataneya Society, which works to improve orphanages in Egypt, along with NGOs dealing with freedom of speech, the rights of people with disabilities, connecting civil society actors and others.

"We wanted to give other NGOs a chance to support Peace Day and promote themselves," Tadros said. "Even if their work is not directly about Peace Day, but somehow their work contributes to peace and understanding, such as Nabta who work on creating online and offline spaces for collaboration between different people in civil society" . .

As the sun came down, musicians started taking to Darb's elevated stage, playing alongside silent footage from a documentary on how Peace Day was established. Most of the musicians made a tribute to the day that brought everyone together before their performances. . .

The party continued well into past midnight. However, Peace Day celebrations in Cairo are not stopping there. Masterpeace continue with a series of workshops, film screenings and small events all leading up to a second edition of a Street Arts Festival taking place on Friday 28 September in Dokki, behind the Ministry of Agriculture. . .


Question(s) related to this article:

How are you celebrating Peace Day?,

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Latest reader comment:

It is difficult to find extensive listings of the many events celebrating the International Day of Peace around the world.  An exception is the United Religions Initiative which lists events for the IDP 2014 by their affiliates in Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria, Nepal, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Bulgaria, Russia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, United States and the Philippines.

This report was posted on September 28, 2012.