16. Mai 2024
International Day of Living Together in Peace
United in Differences and Diversity: Celebrating the International Day of Living Together in Peace

The essence of living together in peace lies in our ability to embrace and honour differences while fostering unity.


Recognizing this fundamental principle, we celebrate May 16th as the International Day of Living Together in Peace.


This date is a reminder to the global community to work towards peace, tolerance, inclusion, understanding, and solidarity.


Our focus this year falls on our commitment to raising awareness about the war in Ukraine and highlighting the importance of forthcoming European Parliament elections, thereby safeguarding European and global peace.

For long years, the United Nations has been dedicated to fostering international collaboration to address global challenges.


This commitment includes the promotion and safeguarding of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all individuals, regardless of race, gender, language, or religion.


In this case, Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff emphasizes that the pursuit of lasting peace extends beyond mere recognition of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); rather, it necessitates active implementation and integration into everyday life.

© WFP/Marco Frattini

Unfortunately, the global community has not only progressed lately but has also faced a significant number of conflicts and crises.


Ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic to the ongoing war in Ukraine, which symbolizes a struggle between democracy and dictatorship.


In light of these challenges, the question arises: What does it truly mean to live in a state of peace today?


Yet, perhaps even more crucial is the inquiry into what actions are necessary to sustain it.


The answer lies in the concept of defence. Peace must be safeguarded through a combination of diplomatic efforts, military strategies, and, most importantly, the unity of people worldwide.

© UNICEF/UN0243152/Morris VII Photo

Now more than ever, it is imperative to advocate for principles of equity, solidarity, compassion, and kindness in our pursuit of peace, guided by the motto “Nobody is safe until everyone is safe.” This sentiment resonates strongly when considering the situation in Ukraine.


The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has confirmed a staggering total of 30,457 civilian casualties resulting from Russia's invasion of Ukraine as of February 15, 2024 with 19,875 individuals reported as injured. However, OHCHR cautions that the actual figures may be even higher.


Since Russia initiated its invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, approximately 30 million border crossings from Ukraine to neighbouring countries have been documented as of December 2023, with the majority seeking refuge in Poland.


As of December 28, 2023, Europe had recorded over 6.3 million Ukrainian refugees, highlighting the urgent need for collective action and international solidarity in addressing the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the region.

© UNICEF/UN0603348/Filipov

Reflecting on these dreary numbers, the issue of what it genuinely means to coexist peacefully arises. One might argue that it entails an environment where individuals have the autonomy to cross borders at their discretion, to depart and return according to their desires. Free from the constraints imposed by governments, military forces, dictators, or ecological catastrophes.


Each of these elements, together with the underlying value of peace and unity, is closely aligned with the European Union's founding values. It is crucial to acknowledge that peace is not merely a privilege but also carries with it significant responsibilities, akin to those of freedom.


Among these responsibilities is the right and obligation to participate in democratic processes, notably through voting.


This emphasizes the essence of democracy: the ability to choose the environment in which we wish to live. With impending elections on the horizon, the question arises: What does Europe require today to protect its peace and prosperity?

This question has several possible responses. However, there are few basis points, and help to Ukraine is one of the priorities.


In addition to selecting appropriate leaders to rule Europe while listening to the voice of reason, democracy, and peace, we must work and walk on the path to the common good.


“As it is stated in the UNESCO constitution, since wars originate in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defence of peace must be constructed.


I believe that this concept stands as the key to preventing further conflicts,” says Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff. In these circumstances, we must choose a peace founded on the values of freedom, democracy, and unity.