Pretoria — Messages on peace in text message, email, video and photo form are being solicited and sent around the world over “new media” channels to raise awareness of the International Day of Peace, 21 September. This year, the United Nations launched its global TXT4 PEACE/WRITE 4 PEACE campaign, aimed at collecting messages on peace to be shared with world leaders when they gather in New York for the General Assembly on 23 September 2008.
The United Nations has established a website, www.peaceday2008.org, to host email and text messages from people around the world. Messages can be sent in any language, by following the instructions on the site. Similar sites in French, Spanish, Chinese and Russian are at www.peaceday2008.org/fr, www.peaceday2008.org/sp, www.peaceday2008.org/ch, and www.peaceday.org/ru.
Members of the public are also encouraged to contribute photo and short video pieces about peace to CNN’s web-based public journalism site, “iReport.” “iReport” will display the contributions to mark the International Day of Peace on 21 September 2008.
“iReport” (www.ireport.com) is an interactive site, similar to YouTube, but news-oriented. It has hundreds of thousands of viewers and participants, equipped only with simple cameras. For the Day of Peace, “iReport” will be looking for short and simple products from the public – either a message on peace or an illustration of ways in which individuals are working toward peace in their communities.
The submission process is easy and can be done on any computer with internet access at:
The International Day of Peace was established by the United Nations General Assembly as a Day devoted to “to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples” and as a Day of “global ceasefire and non-violence.” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will lead a ceremony at UN Headquarters in New York on 19 September. He will call for a minute of silence to be observed globally at 12 noon local time on 21 September.
UN offices around the world are also undertaking activities. In several countries, UN offices are promoting text messaging for peace campaigns over mobile telephones.
In South Africa, UNIC Pretoria has teamed up with a local mobile telephone company, MTN, in a project under which MTN would send a message to its customers on 21 September wishing them a peaceful day. The message will include the UN website address where customers can send text messages.
Members of the public can also join the Txt4Peace pages on:
hi5 ( http://txt4peace. hi5.com/) or
Twitter (http://twitter. com/TXT4PEACE)