YMCA Peace Week celebrates the presence of peace in our local and global communities. Throughout the Week, YMCAs across Canada promote ways we can build peace, and highlight the peace-building work that happens all year round, both inside and outside the YMCA. The Y is dedicated to building healthy communities - and peace is fundamental to strong, happy and healthy communities.
More than the absence of violence and conflict, peace is the presence of conditions like fairness, inclusion, empathy, security, and respect for diversity. Peace is also the ongoing work of building and rebuilding these conditions.
“…Peace has many dimensions. It is not only a state of relationships among nations. We cannot expect to live in a world of peace if we are unable to live in peace with those close to us – even those who differ from us… The responsibility for peace begins with each person, in relationship with family and friends, and extends to community life and national activities…”
– YMCA Statement of Peace, World Alliance of YMCAs, 1981
During Peace Week, YMCAs across Canada award Peace Medallions to individuals and groups who, without any special resources, status, wealth or position, have demonstrated a commitment to building peace within their community or communities elsewhere in the world.
Peace Medallion recipients can be artists, environmentalists, activists, parents, students, community groups and so on. What they all have in common is that they enthusiastically contribute their time and talent to making local and global communities more peaceful places to live. When people are included in their communities and have opportunities to be heard, contribute and shape the way things work, they tend to relate peacefully with others.
Acts for peace tend to grow outward, creating ripples through the whole community. Peacemakers challenge and inspire others to pursue acts for peace. An act for peace may affect only one person directly—but it may show many more people what’s possible.
How can you “act for peace” daily? Think, speak and embody PEACE: