In its 36th session, in 1981, the United Nations General Assembly decided: "to devote a specific time to concentrate the efforts of the United Nations and its Member States, as well as of the whole of mankind, to promoting the ideals of Peace and to giving positive evidence of their commitment to Peace in all viable ways."
By unanimous vote, Resolution 36/67 was adopted establishing the International Day of Peace (IDP). The Assembly's resolution was initiated by then Ambassador Emilia Castro de Barish from Costa Rica. Avon Mattison of Pathways To Peace worked behind the scenes with Assistant Secretary-General Robert Mueller, Ambassador John Donald, and others to obtain this historic level of support.
The first International Day of Peace was observed at the United Nations Headquarters on September 21 1982 the opening day of the 37th session of the General Assembly. At the start of the session delegates stood for the traditional minute of silence in observance of the Day.
At that time, Pathways To Peace saw that member states were not involving civil society as hoped, and therefore initiated action. In 1983 with the Minute of Silence of the UN, the idea of the Peace Day was developed so civil society was inspired to get involved and humanity had ways to engage in activity that benefits the larger community. This was structured to be intergenerational and intercultural.
By 1984, the September 18th International Day of Peace saw people involved from over 52 countries and Pathways to Peace organized the first major IDP celebration in San Francisco when department stores stopped their cash registers at noon; a major television network stopped its programming at noon and scrolled a message in silence with a minute of peace. In front of the San Francisco City Hall a program of music, speakers and a parade of flags took place inspiring many in the Civic Center Plaza. The Minute of Silence and Moment of Peace (Sound) and the global Peace Wave were also initiated around the world at this time. This celebration moved the activity outside of the headquarters of the United Nations for the International Day of Peace and into the hands of NGOs and Civil Society. Click here for the original 1984 San Francisco IDP flyer.