Peace Day 2009 campaign in Bamyan
21 September 2009 - Peace Day campaigning in Bamyan has been in full swing in the final days leading up to today’s International Day of Peace.
People from local communities, non-government organizations, the local government and UN agencies joining the Peace Day 2009 campaign by organizing different events to mobilize local communities to call for everlasting peace in Afghanistan.
On 16 September the UN Education and Cultural agency (UNESCO) celebrated Peace Day at the same time as the International Literacy Day where students shared their experiences with the audience and prayed for peace in the country.
“I was very happy when I first took a pen in my hand. We can bring peace by education in our country,” said Hamida, a 40 year old housewife who has attended UNESCO literacy courses in Bamyan.
“Education has a special connection with peace, we can not bring peace in an uneducated society,” another student told the audience at a gathering attended by local dignitaries and other students.
On 17 September a kite flying competition was organized by the UN’s Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
Three hundred school students participated in the peace kite flying competition with the 50 top kite flyers awarded prizes.
“I like flying kites, I know they are peace kites, I like the white doves on the kites,” 12 year old Ali said.
“We want peace,” school students chanted when the winners were receiving their awards.
Bamyan will witness many more events on International Peace Day and in the following days involving children, young people and local communities.
On the first day of Eid special peace prayers were said at all the mosques throughout the province and in the coming days religious scholars will educate people about peace and pray for peace in Afghanistan.
Other major Peace Day events include running and painting competitions organized by the Bamyan Youth Information and Contact Centre, the opening by university students of the first Peace Park, seminars on the role of women in peace organized by the Department of Women Affairs, and an expected announcement ceremony by the Mine Action Coordination Centre of Afghanistan that Bamyan’s heritage sites are free of landmines.
Local print media in Bamyan will publish special Peace Day editions and the local radio and televisions stations will have special round tables and Peace Day programming today.
The Aga Khan Foundation will be organizing a music show for peace featuring a cultural evening and painting competition for children.
Bamyan artists, photographers and women’s associations will organize photo, art and handicraft exhibitions today.
The biggest Peace Day event will be held on 25 September, when hundreds of school and university students, orphans, civil society members, UN agencies and the media will walk to the protected lakes of Shah Foladi using a mine-free route.
The Bamyan Trek for Peace will be joined by UNAMA Central Highlands Office’s Peace Day Ambassador and Afghan Olympic bronze medalist Rohullah Nikpai.
“The aim of all these events is to mobilize and involve local communities. It’s the people of Afghanistan who should work to bring peace in their country and we are here to support them,” said Heran Song, the Head of UNAMA’s office in Bamyan.
By Jaffar Rahim, UNAMA