Guinness World Records is proud to support Peace One Day - a global initiative to encourage an annual day of non-violence on Peace Day (21 September) to provide an opportunity for aid organizations to carry out essential life-saving work in war-torn communities.
On 21 September 2012, the world will experience the largest reduction of violence ever recorded on a single day -- this is the focus of Peace One Day's Global Truce 2012 campaign, and is part of the ongoing initiative to establish an annual day of ceasefire and non-violence.
Peace One Day was the brainchild of British actor-turned-film-maker Jeremy Gilley, who, in the late 1990s, "became preoccupied with questions about the fundamental nature of humanity and the issue of peace". His idea was a seemingly simple one: to achieve just one day of ceasefire around the world - an effort that would manifest in a documentary film following his attempts to secure this day of peace.
Here's what Jeremy Gilley has to say about Peace One Day:
'We all want answers to the big questions in the world: why is there so much starvation, destruction and killing of innocent people? But like most of us, I didn't think I could do anything about it.
I had no qualifications (except a "D" in pottery!) and worked in acting. I began film-making, and wanted to make a film about peace, but there needed to be more than a series of soundbites and images. There had to be a mountain to climb. That's when I had the idea, a starting point for peace - could I create an annual day of global unity, a day when humanity comes together and realizes that we're all in this together? I wanted the day to be 21 September because 21 was my grandfather's favourite number. He fought in World War II and died when I was 11. In one expedition, 700 men in his regiment left to fight, 23 came back and two died on the boat, leaving only 21 survivors.
So I launched Peace One Day in 1999, inviting hundreds of press organizations, but none turned up! A total of 114 people were there - but they were mostly my friends and family. It didn't matter - it was a start; it made a statement. Gradually, after lots of letter-writing and telephoning, people started coming on board. Mary Robinson, UN Commissioner for Human Rights, said it was an idea whose time has come. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan told me the day would help his UN peacekeeping troops on the ground. So on 7 September 2001, the UK and Costa Rican governments sponsored a resolution, with 54 co-sponsors, at the General Assembly of the United Nations, seeking to establish this annual day of non-violence on the UN International Day of Peace, fixed in the calendar as 21 September.
It was unanimously adopted by the member states of the United Nations - every single nation in the world! I was there at the top of the General Assembly, looking down, and I saw it happen. It really was a magnificent moment. I was going to be present at a press conference with Kofi Annan on the morning of 11 September 2001 to announce the creation of the day. But obviously, after the planes crashed into the World Trade Center, Kofi Annan never arrived and the conference was cancelled. For me, though, the events of 9/11 simply confirmed exactly why we had to work harder. I left New York anxious but empowered - and inspired to stop events like 9/11 ever happening again.
By the end of the decade the progress was remarkable. Our efforts, and the efforts of all the parties in Afghanistan, resulted in Peace Day agreements leading to millions of children being vaccinated against polio and a 70% reduction in the violence on Peace Day 2008. I know if we can achieve that in Afghanistan, we can do it across the world - a global truce.'
For more information on how you can get involved with Peace One Day, visit:< /br> http://peaceoneday.org/