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Monmouth reflects on international peace

September 20, 2013

Providing opportunities for individuals, organizations and nations to create practical acts of peace is the goal of the International Day of Peace. Saturday, Sept. 21 marks the holiday.

In 1981, this day was established to create a specific time to concentrate on the efforts of the United Nations and the States. The first International Day of Peace was celebrated in September of 1982 on the opening day of the General Assembly. Since 2002, Sept. 21. has been declared the official International Day of Peace by the United Nations General Assembly.

In June of 1954, the Japanese Peace Bell was given to the United Nations by the United Nations Association of Japan. The Bell is built with coins collected by people from 60 different countries.

It is now tradition to ring the bell twice a year: on the first day of spring along with Sept. 21. The bell will ring this Saturday for the 59th year.

International students Andrea Subotic of Sweden holds the holiday in high regards.

“It’s a day when we set all anger and resentment aside and focus on what is truly important.

“In Sweden we usually participate in one minute of silence for this day whether it is at school or work.”

Professor Kate Zittlow-Rogness views the holiday as a time for expression.

“International Day of Peace is an opportunity for people to express their dedication towards peace in an environment where it is common to support or advocate for physical resolutions of problems.”

Zittlow-Rogness also said she is still unsure of what she is going to do in cooperation with this day, but she wants to think of something so that she can help spread the spirit of peace.

Monmouth College’s international student enrollment is at an all time high. There are currently 20 new degree-seeking international students, whose presence will more than double the number of countries previously represented on campus.

Monmouth College has welcomed students from Algeria, Burma, Canada, Costa Rica, England, France, Germany and other countries Despite the excitement surrounding their arrival, it is acknowledged that learning how to coexist with others can be difficult.

Even with the struggles of adapting to the new culture, Subotic’s vision of the United States is finally a reality.

“You always hear about how friendly the Americans are and how even a stranger on the bus will start a conversation with you. This has happened to me more than a couple of times since I have come here, and I have been very happy to see that this assumption is true. In Sweden talking to a stranger or even someone you do not know that well is extremely uncommon,” Subotic said.

The influx of international students to campus has given Monmouth the opportunity to embrace diversity and notions of peace abroad. This Saturday, take a moment to appreciate our American freedoms and the privileges that come with living in a peaceful state.

Anne Begley
Contributing Writer

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