2021 International Day of Peace: ECPC Chair on the role of education in building peace through ECD

World Peace Day greeting illustration, International social help concept. Paper origami dove of peace with olive branch. © Lovekish4u | Dreamstime.com
World Peace Day greeting illustration, International social help concept. Paper origami dove of peace with olive branch. © Lovekish4u | Dreamstime.com

The International Day of Peace

Every year on September 21, the world observes an International Day of Peace. On this day, we are reminded of our common good and continued goal to work together to develop and invest in a more prosperous, just, equal, socially cohesive, and peaceful world.


The International Day of Peace has been celebrated for four decades since its establishment by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 1981. Each year, the U.N. recognizes and promotes the Day by observing a unique theme. But, on 21 September, 2001, the Day became much more than a symbolic gesture of peace, when the UNGA called for all countries to unify and engage in a 24 hour “global ceasefire and non-violence . . . to honour a cessation of hostilities” in observance of this Day (Resolution 55/282).

2021 Theme · Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world

This year, the UNGA called on each country to observe and support the 2021 International Day of Peace theme Recovering Better for an Equitable and Sustainable World. The UNGA highlighted the stark reality of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution — more than 100 countries have not yet obtained any doses. The Assembly also emphasized that people living in conflict have unlikely not received adequate healthcare during this critical time. The UNGA underscored the importance of creating and sustaining peace as the international community moves forward in its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, and resulting multi-leveled challenges. As the world prepared to celebrate the 2021 day of peace, the UNGA issued a reminder:

CETYS · The role of higher education in building peace

On October 5th, Dr. Rima Salah, Chairperson of the Early Childhood Peace Consortium (ECPC), joined with imminent U.N. and international higher education experts at the Center for Technical and Higher Education (CETYS) University, located in Mexico, that honored and observed the 40th anniversary of the International Day of Peace.

CETYS Universidad International Day of Peace event poster
  • Welcome remarks by Ramu Damodaran, former Chief, Academic Impact of the United Nations
  • Video message from Ban Ki-Moon, 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations
  • Opening remarks by Dr. Fernando León García, President CETYS University
  • Remarks by Dr. Francisco Rojas, Rector, University for Peace (Costa Rica)
  • Remarks by Ambassador Fatima Kyari Mohammed, African Union Permanent Observer to the United Nations
  • Remarks by four Presidents, Members of International Association of University Presidents: Dr. Pornchai Mongkhonvanit, Siam University (Siam); Dr. Michele Nealon, Chicago School of Professional Psychology (U.S.A.); Dr. Henri Hatayama, JF Oberin University (Japan); and Dr. Kyun Tae Hahn, Kyung Hee University (South Korea)
  • Remarks by Dr. Thomas Hill, Peace Studies, New York University
  • Remarks by Diya Abdo “Every Campus a Refuge” initiative
  • Remarks by Dr. Rima Salah, Yale School of Medicine, Early Childhood Peace Consortium (ECPC)
  • Video message from U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres
  • Closing remarks by Dr. Fernando León García, President CETYS University

Higher education produces scientific evidence that supports the transformative power of early childhood development (ECD) in building more peaceful societies

Dr. Rima Salah, ECPC Chair and Volunteer Faculty at the Yale Child Study Center, speaks on behalf of the Yale School of Medicine

Dr. Rima Salah, Chair — Early Childhood Peace Consortium (ECPC). Photo: N. Fallon
Rima Salah, PhD — Chairperson Early Childhood Peace Consortium. Photo: N. Fallon
  1. Empower every woman, man, girl, and boy. Help them rebuild their lives, fulfill their human rights, and restore their dignity;
  2. Persist in the pursuit of knowledge. Address the gaps in science with a focus on interdisciplinary research to reinforce the evidence that participation of families, women, youth, and children in all aspects of building and sustaining peace is transformative and has a tangible impact on building peaceful, just, and inclusive societies; and
  3. Reinforce the evidence. Quality early childhood programs cannot only disrupt cycles of injustice and inequality, but build a strong foundation for social justice and social cohesion

Dr. Salah’s remarks make it clear — we cannot achieve peace alone, and we need our children, the future leaders of the world, to help us achieve it.


United Nations General Assembly (2021, September 1). 2021 theme: Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world. United Nations International Day of Peace. https://www.un.org/en/observances/international-day-peace

About the ECPC

The Early Childhood Peace Consortium (ECPC) is a global movement of United Nations agencies, Non-Governmental Organizations, academia, practitioners, and the private sector focused on sharing scientific and practice-based evidence on how investment in early childhood development (ECD) can contribute to sustainable peace, social cohesion and social justice. We recognize that investing in ECD is a powerful and cost-effective strategy for reducing violence, poverty, and exclusion and for building peaceful societies.

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Early Childhood Peace Consortium (ECPC)

Early Childhood Peace Consortium (ECPC)

We can build a just and peaceful world where all children are the stars of today and leaders of tomorrow.