As conflicts continue to rage in Ukraine, Syria and locations around Asia, Africa and South America, International Peace Day is perhaps a timely reminder of the alternatives that exist to violence. The day, which falls on Sept. 21 each year, was first observed in 1982 after a resolution sponsored by the United Kingdom and Costa Rica was adopted unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly.
The 2015 theme is “Partnerships for Peace -- Dignity for All,” according to the United Nations website, which notes the theme highlights the importance of all segments of society to work together and strive for peace.
As part of his message for this year, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon invited all sides currently fighting in wars around the world to take part in a ceasefire.
"I call on all warring parties to lay down their weapons and observe a global ceasefire,” Ban said in a statement earlier this month. "To them I say: Stop the killings and the destruction, and create space for lasting peace."
International Peace Day traditionally fell on the opening day of the annual sessions of the U.N. General Assembly, but in 2001 the date was officially set as Sept. 21.
In 2004, the lead up to the day was tainted after the Chinese government pressured Taiwan to withdraw a design that was chosen by the U.N. to be made into a commemorative stamp. China's protest allegedly rested on the incorporation of the national flag of Taiwan in the design, the Taipei Times reported. In the picture, two children are riding a dove, symbolizing the escape from war and progress toward a peaceful nation.
In 2005, then U.N.-Secretary General Kofi Annan called for the observance of a 22-hour ceasefire and a day of nonviolence.
This year, Burger King is teaming up with its fast-food competitors to hand out 1,500 “peace day burgers” at a pop-up location in Atlanta, USA Today reported.