This year on the International Day of Peace at UN Headquarters in New York, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated the following: “It is for me, an enormous pleasure to be with all of you during the International Day of Peace. We are here because we are determined and we do not give up.”
In addition, he said: “We see conflicts multiplying everywhere in the world. We see links between conflicts and terrorism. We see insecurity prevailing. We see people suffering. But we do not give up. We know that when we appeal to combatants to have a pause to respect this day, we know that many will not respect it, but we do not give up.”
The UN Chief mentioned in particular that “when we are celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we know that human rights are violated in so many parts of the world. We even know that the human rights agenda is losing ground. But we don’t give up because respect for human rights and human dignity is a basic condition for peace.”
Violin-playing children belonging to the dynamic Tarumi Violin Children’s Foundation of the Arts under the Director of Yukako Tarumi, performed at this year’s event. This culturally diverse group has been performing on the International Day of Peace at UN Headquarters for over 20 years, and holds the distinct honor of having performed for four UN Secretary-Generals, namely, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. the late UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali.
This year’s event was focused on the theme, “The Right to Peace – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70.” The Tarumi Violinists were there once again to share in the celebration, together with the UN Singers whom they have
performed with on numerous occasions.
The Declaration is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on December l0,1948 as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.
According to the United Nations, this Declaration is the most translated Declaration in the world, and is available in over 500 languages.
Ringing the UN Peace Bell at UN Headquarters in New York has been a tradition not only on the International Day of Peace every September, but on International Earth Day or Earth Day on the Equinox initiated by John McConnell, the founder of Earth Day (March 20-2l) in cooperation with UN Secretary-General U Thant at UN Headquarters in New York on March 21, l97l.
The Tarumi Violinists performed at the Centennial Birth Anniversary of the third UN Secretary-General U Thant, UNICEF’s Day of the African Child, and for over a decade at Earth Day on the Equinox events at United Nations Headquarters.
As Yukako Tarumi puts it, “the essential aim of my foundation is to use the universal language of violin music to reach out to people throughout the world, and that includes performances on the International Day of Peace at UN Headquarters in New York.
As a result of the group’s performances, her students have learned to appreciate the unique offerings of diversified communities around the world — the common bonds that we share, and the special ability of music to reach the hearts of people around the world.
According to the United Nations, “Her Royal Highness Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein is known for her commitment to humanitarian causes. In her role as a UN Messenger of Peace, she is dedicated to helping raise global awareness of Sustainable Development Goal #2 on Zero Hunger and #1 on No Poverty.
As stated by the UN, “Academy award winning actor and producer Michael Douglas is committed to disarmament issues, including nuclear non-proliferation and halting the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. He focuses public awareness on the United Nations efforts to strengthen peace and security by speaking publicly for greater controls on the illegal possession and circulation of small arms and light weapons.” Michael Douglas appears very frequently at International Peace Day events.
The Tarumi Violin Children’s Foundation for the Arts on the other hand, who were awarded a Commendation by the Foreign Ministry of Japan, continue to share their joy of music with the rest of the world at the United Nations on the International Day of Peace. They are often called “Musical Ambassadors of Peace” by members of the media.