“The more violence I saw, the more frustrated I felt” is a sentiment many can relate to. Those are the words of Jeremy Gilley founder of the Peace one Day, a non-profit organisation in his documentary of the same name – Peace one Day part 1, hoping to “institutionalise Peace Day” every 21st September in order to bring the world closer together in peace, if just for one day.
Established in 1999 due to a growing concern regarding humanity and its lack of a capacity for compassion and peace. Jeremy subjected himself to meeting after meeting with officials of the UN and various governments as well as notable Nobel peace laureates – including the Dalai Lama whose words he described as “extremely profound” and “pretty mind blowing” in an interview with Kathy Heslop in February 2013 for Ve Interactive. Despite such positive reinforcement from so many influential figures progress was incredibly slow.
This did nothing to dampen Jeremy’s passion who continued his efforts even when he ran out of money, moved into a spare room in his mother’s house and continued his campaign; working off donations, sponsored events and company’s backing him.
The support leveled at Jeremy during his journey is simply awe inspiring as shown in his documentaries – the third of which won 17 awards worldwide including the Most Inspirational movie of the Year from the Cinema of Peace. Some of the most impactful and thought provoking conversations Jeremy had were not with people who were in a position of authority. Such as his conversation with a 16 year old boy in Somalia who had been fighting in a war since he was 12 and when asked if he had ever killed anyone responded with “it’s possible”. He had conversations with students in schools whose open mindedness and maturity to the subject matter was truly something to see.
In 2001 with thousands of letters having been sent and hundreds of phone calls and meetings, the UN unanimously accepted the proposal for the first globalised day of global ceasefire and non-violence to be 21st September giving the day a fixed date since the initial Costa Rican proposal in 1981.
Since 2001 Peace one Day has expanded towards the spread of peace for a day including a 70% decline in violent incidents in 2008 in Afghanistan according to the UN Department of Safety and Security) on the day in question.
So on the 21st September 2015 just as the peace one day website asks “who will you make peace with”.