International Day of Peace emphasizes equitability and sustainability


Photo by Carrollyne Aasen-Reporter

Assistant Director of the Center for Global Engagement Lara Reynaud leading the international students and staff on the flag procession towards the Rose Garden.

Carrollyne Aasen, Reporter

On Tuesday Sept. 21, California Lutheran University’s Center for Global Engagement celebrated International Day of Peace. The day was established by the United Nations General Assembly to strengthen the ideals of peace through a period of cease-fire and nonviolence, according to the CGE’s website.

Associate Provost for Global Engagement Christina Sanchez said in a Zoom interview that International Day of Peace came to Cal Lutheran in 2010 after petitioning to receive a Peace pole. By receiving this pole, Sanchez said Cal Lutheran became a voice to promote and emphasize peace in our world.

“We are called really to identify how do we come together and look at creating a more just, equitable, inclusive, sustainable, healthy world for us to be a part of,” Sanchez said.

Rev. Mark Holmerud, interim university pastor at Cal Lutheran, said in a Zoom interview that the first Peace pole was erected in Japan, 1955 with an inscription of a peace prayer in different languages.

Holmerud also said that the Cal Lutheran Peace pole was placed in 2009 with “May Peace Prevail on Earth” written in 13 languages to reflect the languages spoken at Cal Lutheran at the time.

“There is a little plate where there is braille as well, which I found really moving. I’m a hearing impaired person, so when I see people taking note of those kinds of challenges in communication either visual or auditory, it means a lot to me,” Holumerud said.

Lara Raynaud, the assistant director of the CGE at Cal Lutheran, said in a Zoom interview that every year the UN provides a theme for International Day of Peace. This year’s chosen theme, according to the CGE’s website, was: “Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world.”

“This idea of equity has really become even more prominent, I would say, with the pandemic. The virtual world has increased the inequitability in our world. It has increased, in some way, hate. It has increased, in some way, disparities, so it’s important that we all take actions to make sure we do our part to remain in an equitable world,” Raynaud said.

There were different events held throughout the day. There was a flag procession featuring the 59 countries represented at Cal Lutheran, the Peace pole rededication and moment of silence and world peace expression through art.

According to Raynaud, the celebration’s layout was designed to provide inclusion for different attendees to visit the morning or afternoon events. The flag procession featured international students and faculty holding 59 flags from the CGE office to the Rose Garden. Holmerud followed with a rededication and moment of silence.

“Through [Holmerud’s] speech we saw how he focused on justice as a pathway to peace because unless you have a just world, an equitable world, how do you focus on international peace,” said Graduate Assistant Mandavi Chattopadhyay in a Zoom interview.

To close out the celebration, Raynaud said that in the afternoon there was an opportunity for students to creatively demonstrate what peace means to them at the Kingsmen Park Gazebo.

“I think that when we look at the turmoil in our world, the challenges that we’re facing domestically, internationally; the call for the International Peace Day is one for us as a community, a global community, to step away from violence and acts of harm and really reflect on what can be achieved in our society if the world were to come together,” Sanchez said.

International Day of Peace is an annual occurrence globally and at Cal Lutheran. Clips of this year’s celebration are on the Center for Global Engagement website and their Instagram.