The International Day of Peace was established by the United Nations in 1981, establishing September 21 as a day committed to "commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples."
To recognize this day, Asheville School student leaders made paper cranes for peace, and students have created artwork that seeks to define the meaning of peace.
On Sunday, September 17, Asheville School held a Vespers service that featured students' reflections on peace through song, instrumentation, dance and written word.
"Our school has students from 14 different countries, and celebrating the International Day of Peace becomes a beautiful way to honor the diversity here on campus and beyond," said Asheville School Fine Arts Chair Kathy Leiner.
Each year the International Day of Peace celebrates a different theme. For 2017, the theme is "Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All."
"The day becomes an opportunity to inform, involve and inspire our community to move toward peace in our personal lives and in the greater world around us," Leiner said. "I hope that everyone recognizes the talents and resources they have within themselves to do something, one thing, small or large, towards peace. Our Vespers service gives us an opportunity to reflect on this idea as a community."
During the Vespers service, Lyndie Lavender read "Tenéis que oírme" by Pablo Neruda; Mac Waters played "Song of the Birds" arranged by Pablo Casals on viola while Mary Alice Faunce, Audrey Gee, Ahlita Gopal, Kerry Koon, Cher Liu and Emily Zuo danced choreography inspired by the song; Lily Formato and Steffi Voigt performed an original song, "How it all Should Be;" and Bonnie Roy sang "Let There be Peace on Earth," by Sy Miller.
Leiner says that experiencing students' interpretations of peace expressed though art is inspiring: "Listening to our students' ideas on how to do one thing for peace, or hear them play music, create dance, write poetry, or paint their version of peace brings a real sense of hope for what can be."You can see photos of Peace Day activities here.