United Nations: The UN International Day of Peace celebrations heard an appeal from the International Mahavira Jain Mission for nonviolence towards all living beings as a way of promoting world peace.
Neil Parikh, a 21-year-old student from New Jersey, representing the organization, said, "When people think about world peace it is all about humans. But we have to develop an attitude of nonviolence towards animals also. This will be the way to promote harmony and world peace through nonviolence."
The International Day of Peace celebrations Friday featured celebrities, global leaders and children. The highlight of the observances was the annual ringing of the Peace Bell by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. As a part of the 33-year bell ringing tradition, he called on combatants to lay down their arms.
About 500 high school and university students participated in the celebrations and in the sessions on, the Peace Day theme, "Right of Peoples to Peace," at which Parikh spoke. With the upcoming UN Climate Change Summit in mind, he linked nonviolence as a principle to environment protection, which is integral to world peace.
"Pollution is a form of violence," Parikh said recounting his speech to IANS. "All life forms (must be at) peace with the environment." The International Mahavira Jain Mission has consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council.
Yoko Ono, the widow of John Lennon, was among the celebrities at the Peace celebrations, and she contributed his song "Imagine," which has the theme "Imagine all the people, living life in peace..."
Others at the ceremony were UN Messengers of Peace Jane Goodall, the primatologist and anthropologist, and classical musicians Midori and Yo-Yo Ma.