Ambra, aged 16

“You have not done enough; you have never done enough as long as there is still something to which you can contribute” – Dag Hammarskjöld 

There are constant threats to world peace all the time, and although they can be dangerous, harmful, and disastrous, they are not unstoppable. It is up to us, the inhabitants of the world, to prevent them together. Dag Hammarskjöld, the second Secretary General of the United Nations from 1953 to 1961, once said that “You have not done enough; you have never done enough as long as there is still something to which you can contribute.” He is completely right. I believe that as a world and as humanity, we need to find a solution together to hopefully achieve world peace for future generations.

All over the world, people have come up with ideas and strategies to have global peace. Different kinds of incentives are happening such as offering peace studies at universities, protests for peace, schools who promote awareness, peace and conflict in their syllabus or educational programme, the peace core and the UN, and more and more humanitarian projects take place around the world. People are more conscious of the idea of peace than they ever have been, but then why do we still have conflicts and wars? Recent wars have taken place when people promised after World War 1 that there would never be anymore. Wars likeIraqandKuwaitin 1990, thenRwandain 1994, after that, the war inAfghanistanin 2002 which was then followed by the war between exYugoslaviaand Kosovo; all in the last 20 years, so are we really closer to peace? People still try everyday desperately to find a solution and another way to come around these global issues. But the question is: how?

It is clear that we, the world’s citizens, need to find a solution for peace which we all can contribute to. Reading Dag Hammarskjöld’s quote, it springs to mind one solution: education. Not general education, which is very important and can help, but more along the lines of specific education in certain areas. The wars and conflict today are mostly due to religion, weak communication, languages, and clash in cultures or ideology. By having specific education in those areas, such as religious study would improve the knowledge of a child and open it up to new ways and beliefs in the rest of the world. This would drastically prevent prejudice towards certain cultures or religion and reinforce communication and eventually lead to less conflict. Courses could be designed to celebrate the similarities and connections in people, cultures, and religion, respect the differences.

But how does it happen? Some might say money is an issue, but they are wrong, because in 2000, one percent of what the world spent on weaponry could have given the 121 million poor children an education.  So why didn’t it happen? This use of the money brought us one big step away from global peace, when it could have easily done the opposite. So by educating every child would not only cost much less than what people think, but it would also create more jobs. Teachers, translators, entertainers, students, and more could all get involved by using their own skills and ideas. Old and young, rich and poor, affected or not, could all contribute in their way to get that one step closer to world peace and the only aspect that is required is a paradigm in mind set for the good of humanity.

Of course, this would only happen in a utopian world; where money would be spent on educating people rather than weapons to kill. With all the terrorism, lack of democracy, ignorance and disputes over  resources, such as oil and territory still today, it would take quite a while to get to this stage, but not impossible. So when Dag Hammarskjöld says “You have not done enough; you have never done enough as long as there is still something to which you can contribute” it reinforces the importance that we all need to take action in our own ways and to continue to do so. We must not let ourselves or let others take peace for granted, and instead to all contribute to the life long, on going project of peace for future generations. Dag Hammarskjöld also states the necessity that it would be easier, quicker, simpler, and better if we acted as a world, united.


About UN News Geneva

Sharing entires to the United Nations Peace Essay competitions run by the Information Service in Geneva in 2011
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