September 21st is Peace Day, a day each year that is dedicated to peace. Right now the World Bank estimates that 1.5 billion people around the world live in conflict affect countries. That is 1 out of every 7 people on earth. People living in relatively peaceful countries often watch the news, see unresolved conflict in far away places, and change the channel or flip to the next page in the newspaper. But peace is not only relevant for countries that are experiencing violence or dictatorial regimes.
Peace is something that affects each and everyone of us. This may seem like a no brainer, but all too often, peace is taken for granted. We each have different understandings of what peace means, depending on our life circumstance. Peace can mean the absence of violence, inner peace, love and peace festivals, and the list goes on. For me, when I really unpack what peace means – it means that I am able to pursue my aspirations without fear. It means that there are positive relationships of trust between people around me and between people and my leaders. It means that I can trust the police officer to protect me. It means I can walk down the street without fear for my safety. It means I can have a political discussion with a stranger and disagree without fear that I will be intimidated or worse. It means that I have faith in my legal system. It means I can pursue my personal, economic, religious and social aspirations.
Peace is an ongoing journey and there is no final destination. Peace can always be perfected and is not a static goal. So this Peace Day, mark the day and take a moment to think about what peace means to you and share it: #peacemeans.
Sarah Noble is committed to social change with a passion for conflict prevention and peacebuilding. She is currently Chief of Staff and Director of External Relations at Interpeace www.interpeace and a Global Shaper in the Geneva hub.
Photo Credit: Ryan Anson for Interpeace