Today, on the International Day of Peace, I would like to add my voice to the worldwide chorus of people longing for peace in these troubled times. I thank and honor all those who are facing today’s violence by speaking out for peace and working diligently to make it a reality. I call upon everyone currently caught in conflict to observe this day of cease-fire and non-violence. And I rededicate myself to doing all that I can to help build a world of true and lasting peace.
The theme of the 2015 International Day of Peace, “Partnerships for Peace — Dignity for All,” resonates powerfully with us at Arigatou International. Building partnerships to restore dignity — especially to children — is at the heart of all of our programs. After all, “peace” is a relational phenomenon, a form of partnership. It only happens between people. And it can’t be made without people—people who treat one another with dignity despite their differences and disagreements.
This is why we try to bring people of extremely diverse religious, ethnic, cultural and economic backgrounds together as partners in our work. The more diverse the partners, the greater the peace-building potential. Our focus on children helps us to reach across boundaries that usually can’t be crossed—almost everyone can agree that children deserve to grow up safe and sound, to have the chance to realize their full human potential. We have found that the partnerships inspired by this belief have great transformative potential. Not only do they transform conditions facing children; they also transform us and our partners. With gratitude for everyone who works with us, we hope to demonstrate this process of “making peace” together. That’s what we mean by “All for Children.”
Peace, like a hearty soup that warms the soul, requires many different ingredients, from many different partners. At Arigatou International, we strive to add ingredients that are especially nourishing for children—ingredients of peace-making like interfaith cooperation, ethics education, stopping violence, and ending poverty. We are convinced that working with and for children across every kind of difference in this diverse world is an essential path to peace. So in that light, I wish you and your community a very peaceful day today. Indeed, may every day find every one of us continually embraced in growing peace!
September 21, 2015