Skip to main content

International Day of Peace - Some Thoughts and Quotes

Cotteslow beach

Peace Begins Within

Mans greatest blunder has been in trying to make peace with the skies instead of making peace with his neighbours.

~ Elbert Hubbard

Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.

~ Martin Luther King

September 21st is International Peace Day. There has been an International Peace Day since 1982. I’ve chosen these quotes to share, because they express the way I aspire to live, even if I don’t always manage it. We don’t get peace by creating war; we don’t end terror by killing terrorists. Peace begins within us, and we can only ever spread peace when we are peaceful.

Here are some more quotes from some great peacemakers of our times, and of the recent past.

Mother Theresa:

“I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there.”

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”

Nelson Mandela:

“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

“Man's goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.”


“Hate the sin, love the sinner.”

“Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.”

Bryon Katie:

“No one has ever been angry at another human being - we're only angry at our story of them.”

“A teacher of fear can’t bring peace on Earth. The person who turns inner violence around, the person who finds peace inside and lives it, is the one who teaches what true peace is.”

Scroll to Continue

Be the change you seek…

What all of these people are saying is that world peace will only come when we are willing to look inside, when we are willing to take responsibility for our own feelings of anger, fear and anything else that is not peace. I don’t always find it easy to do that, but I find it a lot harder not to.

It’s also important to notice that there is a huge difference between responsibility and blame. If I say something in anger that I later regret, the responsible thing to do is to look inside and find the belief that led me to say what I did, to notice that I was believing something that was not true, and let it go. I am then free to apologize without anticipating punishment or even needing my apology to be accepted. The "blaming" thing to do would be to call myself stupid, a selfish pig, a horrible person, and to vow I will never let myself do anything so terrible ever again. Not very peaceful or forgiving, and not likely to lead to lasting change. Remember the Gandhi quote: “Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.”

There are many ways we can look inside and allow peace to spread within us. Two of my favourite methods are to use the Work of Byron Katie to question the beliefs that would keep me from feeling peace, and to use the Sedona Method to welcome uncomfortable feelings and allow them to release.

It might seem that we need to take big action to make a change in our world, but small actions radiate outward. As we become more peaceful inside, so we spread that to those around us.

One of my favourite stories is the old woman and the starfish. I don’t know if this story is true or not, or even where it originates. As the story goes, an old woman is on a beach where many starfish have been thrown upon the sand by a freak wave. She is picking starfish up, one by one, and throwing them back into the sea. A young man comes past and mocks her, saying she’s wasting her time, there are so many stranded starfish she can’t possibly make a difference. She replies, “I’m making a difference to this one.”

When we offer peace to just one person we are contributing to world peace.


If They Can Do It…so can we

These two used to fight, but here they sleep peacefully together.

These two used to fight, but here they sleep peacefully together.

Peace events around the world.

International Peace Day was set up by the United Nations, and on their website is a map which lists events occurring around the world to mark the day.

Here are some examples of the type of events that happen around the world:

At RioCentro, Convention Center in Brazil world leaders and NGOs meet to find ways to reduce poverty, improve social equity and environmental protection.

In Richmond Virginia, USA there are interfaith prayers for peace, along with a dances for peace and a Peace Pole Planting Ceremony with music and food.

In Santa Rosa de Pocosol, San Carlos, Costa Rica there is an annual Culture of Peace Festival.

In Dubai, United Arab Emirates, there is a concert for peace.

In 2011, at Cairo train station in Egypt, the organization Master Peace held its launch.


Participating in Peace

To find out if there is a Peace Day event near you, visit this website:

If you'd like to make your own celebration How to Celebrate International Day of Peace has some great suggestions!

The charity Peace Direct works for peace 365 days a year.


prachi on April 08, 2016:

wonderful slogans on international peace. Apprieciatable!!!

Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on September 23, 2012:

Thanks ITcoach, glad you enjoyed the quotes and thanks for sharing. Peace to you!

Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on September 21, 2012:

amitfalcon, wishing you internal peace.

Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on September 21, 2012:

jenbeach21, glad you enjoyed the quotes. Wishing you peace on this day! Thanks for your comment.

Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on September 21, 2012:

Jools99, I love that starfish story! Thanks for your comment, and peace to you!

Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on September 21, 2012:

Mary615, I do believe peace is possible, and it requires each of us to find that inner peace first. Wishing you a peace-filled day and thanks for your comment.

jenbeach21 from Orlando, FL on September 21, 2012:

These are very beautiful and thought provoking quotes. Shared and voted up!

Jools Hogg from North-East UK on September 21, 2012:

Some great quotes Yvonne and the starfish story is a good one, sometimes great things are achieved in small ways.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on September 21, 2012:

I wish there would be peace in the world, but as long as man treats his fellow man the way we do, there never will be peace.

Good Hub, I voted it UP, and will share.

Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on September 19, 2012:

Maria, yes it would lovely to celebrate peace each day. I suppose that in some small way we can, and I really do believe that the more we individually find peace within ourselves the more peace will become universal. Thanks for your comment!

Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on September 19, 2012:

jennzie, thanks very much!

Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on September 19, 2012:

cclitgirl, you've just provided another great quote! You are absolutely right it comes full circle and we can be part of it. Thanks for your awesome comment!

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on September 18, 2012:

Dear Yvonne,

I am so glad to see this evergreen hub, for would it not be great if peace were celebrated every day.

Your integration of these beautiful quotes is inspiring and motivating. This is a keeper, like you. Voted UP and UABI. Hugs, Maria

Jenn from Pennsylvania on September 18, 2012:

Awesome hub and quotes with a great message. As John Lennon said, give peace a chance!

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on September 18, 2012:

In Peace there is Love. In Love there is Harmony. In Harmony there is Respect. In Respect there is Understanding. In Understanding there is Peace. It comes full circle and we all can be part of it. Thank you for sharing this. :)

Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on February 23, 2012:

Sherry, we are definitely on the same wavelength! Your reply has just made my morning - I love it! (and you!)

Poohgranma from On the edge on February 23, 2012:

Oh that is much better! What I suggested could lead to bottled up feelings and resentment, yours transform it to a positive! Wonderful!

Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on February 23, 2012:

Hi Poohgranma/Sherry,

Thanks for reading this old hub of mine. I’m glad you enjoyed it though it could do with a little sprucing up I think, now I see it again!

Thanks too for adding to this hub with suggestions of little ways that can make a difference, be our starfish! I particularly like your idea to make eye contact with someone who is usually ignored, and it’s lovely sometimes to share a smile, even with strangers. I’d slightly reword your suggestion of not to respond to someone’s negativity to: not to collude with it or to respond with love whenever we can, and that includes loving ourselves if our efforts don’t meet our expectations!

Thanks for thought-provoking comment.

Poohgranma from On the edge on February 23, 2012:

I love this hub and the quotes you have included. I've heard a few variations on the lady returning the starfish to the sea but the central theme is so important. Each day, we should strive to make a positive difference. We can all share a smile, make eye contact with someone who is usually ignored, or even refuse to respond to someone's negativity. It makes a difference one "starfish" at a time. Thank-you so much for this insightful write!

Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on September 21, 2011:

Hi Marellen, Glad you enjoyed the quotes too. And the reminder is for myself as much as anyone!

marellen on September 21, 2011:

Thanks for reminding us to do the right thing. Love the quotes.

Related Articles