United Nations (UN) Assistant Secretary-General Ray Chambers today formally announced the launch of the #HugForPeace campaign to commemorate the United Nations’ International Day of Peace, recognized annually on September 21. The foundation of the campaign is a massive social media movement using #HugForPeace as a combination call-to-action and hashtag that promotes peace through a simple act: a hug. With the support of celebrities, online influencers, politicians, religious leaders and entrepreneurs, this global campaign is also utilizing change.org petitions to demonstrate a commitment to peace through pledges of non-violence.
The #HugForPeace campaign will officially begin with the annual Ringing of the Peace Bell at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on September 16. Hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the annual peace bell ceremony will include UN Messenger of Peace and Academy Award-winning actor Michael Douglas and will be attended by a host of celebrities including movie star and peace activist, Leonardo DiCaprio.
“Peace is a founding principle of the United Nations and it remains central to all facets of our work,” said Michael Douglas, UN Messenger of Peace. “We will be relentless in our call for non-violence and speak out against all forms of intolerance to ensure peace for all people everywhere.”
This year, the peace movement is of critical importance as the Republic of Colombia nears a peace agreement after 52 years of civil warfare. The #HugForPeace campaign will promote Colombia’s peace efforts, mobilizing a global community of peace makers who will demonstrate solidarity through commitments of non-violence.
“Colombia represents the best of humanity—putting to rest deeply entrenched ideological differences for the greater good of peace,” said Ray Chambers, UN Assistant Secretary-General. “The world can see that peace is possible, even after half a century of warfare. It is a lesson we can all apply to our daily lives to bring peace to our respective communities.”
To ensure that young people play a leading role in the campaign, Chambers has enlisted the support of top social media stars including Christian Collins, Crawford Collins, Melvin Gregg, Maddi Jane, Chloe Lukasiak, James Maslow and Wesley Stromberg—who together have a collective reach of over 55 million across social media platforms. They will join local activists across the U.S., including peacemakers from the youth organization Peace First, government figures, corporate leaders and celebrities – all lending their voices in support of #HugForPeace. Partners include Facebook, Influential Network, Sprinklr, the U.S. Institute of Peace, and Religions for Peace, among others.
In 2001, the United Nations General Assembly designated September 21st as the International Day of Peace, devoted to strengthening the ideals for peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. The day was also established as an annual day of non-violence and cease-fire. The Secretary-General has asked partners to lend their voices to this call for a laying down of arms, in order to bring about a 24-hour cease fire on September 21st.