On July 30, we celebrated the International Day of Friendship, an initiative by the United Nations to enable countries and individuals to step back and thank each other in an attempt to promote and encourage peace, happiness, and unity.
“Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that defences of peace must be constructed,” the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization constitution reads.
First observed in 2011, the International Day of Friendship builds upon a 1997 UN resolution defining the Culture of Peace, which is "a set of values, attitudes, and behaviours that reject violence and endeavour to prevent conflicts by addressing their root causes with a view to solving problems."
The world we live in today is full of miscommunications, mistreatment, lack of trust, discrimination, and cultural discord, prioritising peace seemingly has less of a presence in the global society.
To confront and overcome these crises and challenges, the main effort is to address the root causes by promoting and defending a shared spirit of human solidarity is friendship.
We should be able to foster friendships across borders by encouraging unity, equity, and respecting human rights. The actions to promote this culture of friendship will ultimately result in peace for all people regardless of sex, race, gender, or ethnicity.
As we are into the second half of 2022 amid frightening and terrifying events, the need for global solidarity and cooperation is all the more urgent in the face of various existential crises and challenges.
Look at the civil war deaths as a result of the conflicts in countries like Afghanistan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen or the war between Russia and Ukraine or the raging climate extremes, or the prolonged Covid-19 pandemic -- all are threatening peace, security, development, and social harmony of the world.
While it is relatively easy to kick off a conflict, the search for peace and friendship is often somewhat elusive as wars have a habit of spiralling and leading to unforeseen escalations and negative consequences. Peace underpins all that is good in our societies.
The word friendship is synonymous with bonding, and building it goes beyond sharing a trait, characteristic, or favourite pastime with another person or group, but also includes promoting a global commitment and understanding of diversity and inclusion.
According to Dr Hong, Tao-Tze, President of the Federation of World Peace and Love, friendships are established through serendipity, a word that represents an invisible and intangible thread that connects people across generations, time, and space and creates every opportunity for encounters and mutual influence between people.
“Each interaction has the potential to generate good karma as a result of an individual's self-cultivation and good deeds. A friendship founded on virtue positively impacts the world, fostering a culture of conscience and peace for humanity to maintain global stability”, he advised on the occasion.
In personal life as well, friends hold a very special place and there is nobody who can replace their importance in our lives. In good or bad, we have always looked up to our friends for their constant support and love. It is also our friends who make life’s journey not only easy but also enjoyable and peaceful.
Even as the International Day of Friendship has passed off, we should remember the fact that the day stands to transform war and violence into a culture of peace and non-violence through friendship.
The world is a big family, and global citizens are brothers and sisters, so let us unite with our friends around the world to protect our common peaceful home!
The writer is a journalist, author, and columnist