The 2021 International Day of Peace was commemorated by the unveiling of a "peace pole" on the Brian Lara Promenade, Port of Spain, on September 21.
The Rotary Club of Central Port of Spain held the event, saying the peace pole is an internationally recognised symbol of the hopes and dreams of the entire human family, standing in silent prayer for peace on earth.
The theme of this year's commemoration was “Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world.”
Rotary Club president Percy Parker Williams delivered the message of peace.
“We are all invited to celebrate the International Day of Peace by standing up against acts of hate online and offline and by spreading compassion, kindness and hope in the face of the pandemic as we recover,” he said.
Williams said the club was committed to the development of future leaders through its service projects in East Port of Spain and youth services in the form of its Rotaract and Interact arms.
Another speaker, Port of Spain mayor Joel Martinez, paraphrased a quote from the UN website which spoke of peace as more than just the absence of war but the need for a co-ordinated effort to achieve a common vision including a life of dignity and well-being for all.
“I think this definition frees us of the limitations that we often place on the word 'peace,'" he said. "Peace is not just the absence of violence but it includes those simple yet profound principles which our country was founded on especially that of tolerance.”
Martinez also said the pandemic has severely affected the lives of every citizen, including those most vulnerable.
“Just last week, we held a food distribution in collaboration with the Chinese embassy to assist our citizens in need,” he said.
He said the Rotary Club had said the peace pole was a symbol to remind public officials and citizens of the need to build a more peaceful community and country.
“I would like to publicly thank the members of the Rotary family for bringing this idea to Port of Spain. It is my hope that the Port of Spain peace pole further stands as a reminder that it takes action from each individual to create a peaceful nation and world,” Martinez said.
He said Port of Spain now joins over 250,000 locations around the world in having this internationally recognised symbol of the human hope for peace.
Interact member Shania Dookie, speaking after the unveiling, said the Interact Club encourages people to get up and take a stand, to want to lend a helping hand.
“Help me to encourage others, young and old, to achieve this goal,” she said.