Babette, aged 15

Our work for peace must begin within the private world of each one of us. To build a world without fear, we must be without fear. To build a world of justice, we must be just. – Dag Hammarskjöld 

Many people in the world have, at one point in their lives, claimed that their wish is to achieve world peace. However, just like any other wish, they have to work in order to reach this seemingly impossible goal.

Trygve Lie, successor of Dag Hammerskjöld, a United Nations Secretary-General, once called realizing peace “the most impossible job on earth”. This is true. Countless people have started something they hoped would make a difference in the world, but in the end, perseverance is key. However, people do not only need to work on helping others maintain or achieve a better, more peaceful way of life; they also need to help themselves. Perfect peace starts with oneself. According to Dag Hammarskjöld: “Our work for peace must begin within the private world of each one of us. To build a world without fear, we must be without fear. To build a world of justice, we must be just”.

Peace within oneself is no easy matter. The general opinion might be that helping others or directing a friendly smile towards another person could lead to peace. This is only true, however, when you yourself feel accomplished and genuinely happy when doing so. Peace isn’t just a matter of making others feel happy and safe, it is also about making yourself feel proud and truly pleased about being a part of creating a more peaceful environment to live in. Only someone who is content with oneself, will be able to effectively help others because they know how to help. Advice to a better state of mind cannot be given by a person who is struggling to appreciate oneself or is deeply unhappy about something. Peace is when you appreciate yourself and allow yourself to feel special and fortunate, no matter what the circumstances are.

In addition to this, peace will be obtained when fear is no longer a presence in society. Fear makes us feel distrustful and skeptical of those around us. Living in fear hinders the birth of a peaceful world because it limits collaboration. Eliminating fear allows us to trust each other and to work together. A symbol of joined hands represents cooperation, but it could also represent the absence of fear. Once hands are joined, a bond is formed and an unspoken oath that guarantees safety and an absence of the necessity of fear around the person you are tied to for those split seconds. Therefore, the obvious, yet somewhat clichéd, solution, when aiming to eradicate fear, would be for all humanity to join hands.

Justice, however, is most likely the most important aspect concerning peace. In a society that is fair, humanity wouldn’t have to live in fear of being punished unjustly or more severely for their wrongdoings than should happen realistically. In addition, judgmental and discriminating views would no longer exist. Mankind would live a life of freedom, but most importantly, a life of peace, when surrounded by a fair and just community.


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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