Armenia and Zimbabwe: International day of peace
Each year the International Day of Peace (IDP) is observed on the 21st of September. The UN has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. Every year, we introduce a theme to our clubs under which they can celebrate this wonderful day. For the 2018 edition we choice ACT! which means Artists Create Together! In pairs, our 46 clubs (23 pairs) will co-create an amazing event. In four pre-IDP stories, we will share why our Club Leaders believe in the importance of the IDP and how they are preparing for the IDP 2018. Our first stop? Armenia and its IDP partner Zimbabwe!
The IDP of Armenia and Zimbabwe
This year, MasterPeace Armenia will be cooperating with MasterPeace Zimbabwe during the IDP! An unique pair as both countries have recently been going through a revolution, in their very own ways. Via a Skype call they discussed their history, passions, and goals, and decided to organize a creative event around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 4 (Quality Education) and 5 (Gender Equality). Although that they are currently still in the process of developing the event, Armine Seroyban, Club Leader of MasterPeace Armenia, stated that they do not only want to focus on ‘spreading the message of Peace and talking about it, but also on encouraging people to act.’
Talking about Peace
Armine, who is a teacher herself and therefore has a great affection with both SDG 4 as SDG 5, is extra excited for the IDP this year. ‘Peace has gotten a different meaning in Armenia after the April Revolution,’ she said as in April this year thousands of Armenians took the streets to peacefully protest. ‘Armenians were unhappy with the political situation, as the old political elite embodied corruption and less freedoms. So, we decided to come together as one.’ As a result of this successful uprising, Armenians are more willing to talk about peace. ‘We are starting to believe in a peaceful community and democracy again!’ says Armine.
This optimism comes in contrast to the revolution, or consolidations as it has been called by others, that was offset in Zimbabwe last year. After the resignation of Mugabe, his successor Emerson Mnangagwa has been welcomed with suspicion. Whereas the transition of the political sphere was enlightened by the public in Armenia, Zimbabwe’s change of power has been explained as a military coup. Although elections were being held recently, the opposition parties didn’t consider them as being fair. So, it rather seems a prolonging of the current political elite. However, by encouraging the public to contribute to peace in their own way the people of Zimbabwe hope to form a strong basis for the elections in 5 years to work towards a comparable positive attitude in Zimbabwe.
According to Armine the feeling of freedom and possibilities revived after the April Revolution and more and more Armenians are willing to undertake action to make the post-revolution era successful. ‘People are inspired, and more than ever aware of the importance of a day as the International Day of Peace. For us, as MasterPeace Armenia, it is important to spread this message and energy among all layers of society –with a main focus on our youngsters.’ Via the IDP event with MasterPeace Zimbabwe Armine hopes that the participants will learn from each other and inspire each other to become active as Peacemakers. ‘The people of Armenia are positive, and will be celebrating the IDP bigger than ever. As MasterPeace Armenia we are extremely proud to be part of this.’