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Peace You Have My Word
By Valentine Zappala, Grade 9 student

On September 21, the whole world celebrates the international day for Peace. This past year the United Nation’s designed theme was “Action for Peace: our ambition for the global goals.” There is something transformative about taking a moment to think about what Peace is, what it feels like, and how it impacts the world. Through “Peace You Have My Word,” a writing competition organized by Africa Learning International (ALI), students from international schools in Africa and Europe have put pen to paper to celebrate Peace, Africa, and Antiracism. Each piece of student work shows evidence that education for Peace is a powerful tool to develop self-awareness, poetic appreciation, and critical thinking. It is inspiring to see African and European students countering afro-pessimism as one. Enjoy the enchanting words and the provocative ideas!

-Estelle Baroung Hughes, Founder of Peace You Have My Word competition



Peace has long been a much debated topic for the human race, and although we may have been discussing it for more than two thousand years, no true conclusion has been reached as to what it is and how we could achieve it. For too many people, peace seems like an unattainable ideal, something present in nothing but a fictional utopia, and to them, it makes sense, because they are the ones living in a country ravaged by war, racism, and discrimination. How can peace be achieved when even everyday life becomes a battle for life and dignity?

But peace isn’t necessarily a utopia where every human feels nothing but affection towards each other, or where conflict is non-existent. Peace is simply teaching people to live with compromises. It may not be perfect, but it allows everyone to live a full life. Peace also means that everyone is tolerant and respectful towards others, instead of discriminating.

Finally, peace means to be able to deal with conflict in a calm and non-violent manner, where both parties feel heard and respected.

However, the bigger problem lies in how one might achieve peace. Before being able to have peace with one’s community, one must first achieve inner peace - how could one be kind to others if they are not kind to themselves? It is important for each person to achieve their own peace, which would allow them to be at peace with others. In this way, with each person being at peace with themselves, the world around them will become more peaceful. Another thing that would be important is education. How can we be able to understand and respect those around us if we cannot understand our world?

By implementing better education systems around the world, everyone will better understand themselves and their society, and, in this way, the world will become more peaceful.

Valentine Zappala is a Grade 9 student at the International School of Geneva in Switzerland.

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