Today marks the 2022 International Day of Peace. The United Nations General Assembly unanimously established this day in 1981 as a day of non-violence and universal cease-fire. It offers a moment each year to reflect on the state of peace in the world and recommit ourselves to building a just and non-violent global community.
The International Day of Peace offers a moment each year to reflect on the state of peace in the world and recommit ourselves to building a just and non-violent global community.
Tragically this past year has been marked by devastating wars, violence, and human suffering. The illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine has displaced 14 million civilians and led to over 14,000 civilian deaths while triggering a massive global food crisis that has put 50 million at risk of starvation. Ongoing civil wars in Yemen, Syria, and Ethiopia, and political instability and violence in Haiti, Afghanistan, and Somalia have left nearly a hundred million in need of humanitarian assistance and protection.
Meanwhile, human-caused climate change has led to historic droughts, floods, and storms that have disrupted global food production and displaced tens of millions. Growing competition between Russia, China, and the United States threatens a new era of wars and proxy conflicts.
Unfortunately, Congress and the Biden administration continue to support expanding militarism over non-violent and peaceful solutions. Over the past two decades, the Pentagon’s budget has increased by $400 billion to a shocking $742 billion in fiscal year 2022. Meanwhile, support for diplomacy, humanitarian assistance, economic development, and peacebuilding combined came to just $85.5 billion in fiscal year 2022—barely over 10% of the funds allocated to the military. For FY23 appropriations, both House and Senate have already added billions to the President’s request for the Pentagon budget.
While the immensity of violence in the world can inspire despair, I am continually inspired by the work of peacebuilders in our own country and worldwide, who tirelessly show us that peace is indeed possible. Amid ongoing violence and war, peacebuilders are always present and hard at work to help prevent and resolve conflicts, end fighting, and chart a path toward a more peaceful future. We know there are effective approaches to preventing war and building peace if our leaders choose to support them.
While the immensity of violence in the world can inspire despair, I am continually inspired by the work of peacebuilders in our own country and worldwide, who tirelessly show us that peace is indeed possible.
We also know we each have a role to play in building a more peaceful world. With persistent hope, we at FCNL relentlessly advocate for just policy responses to forced migration and climate change. We lobby for peacebuilding and diplomacy as critical tools to prevent and resolve violent conflict and to build a more sustainable peace.
With Congress ratcheting up tensions with China over Taiwan and authorizing tens of billions of dollars worth of weapons and security assistance for Ukraine without a diplomatic strategy to help end the war, FCNL remains steadfast in its belief that militarism and war are not the answer.
At FCNL, we understand that the United States has an influential role in the world. With that influence, it has a responsibility: to promote peace over war, to foster effective diplomacy, not destructive militarism, to support equitable responses to forced migration and climate change, not ignore our shared humanity and planet.
On this International Day of Peace, I invite you to join me in reflecting on the challenges to peace in our world today and to take action to help make peace possible. I invite you to speak out for peace, diplomacy, and non-violence. I invite you to act with FCNL as we seek to build a more peaceful, just, and sustainable world.