Last week the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon welcomed the first anniversary of Iran’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the progress made towards its implementation. In accordance with this agreement, which was signed last year, Iran pledged that it will not seek, develop or acquire nuclear weapons. The deal has been seen as a triumph for conflict resolution, diplomacy, and the global norms of nuclear non-proliferation, as the Secretary-General stated in his remarks: ‘One year on, I remain certain that the JCPOA is the best way to ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme and to realize the great aspirations of the Iranian people.’
On Monday, July 18th, people across the globe celebrated Nelson Mandela International Day by dedicating 67 minutes of their time to help make the world a better place. The 67 minutes signify each year that Nelson Mandela struggled for democracy, social justice and racial equality. All of the actions that were taken on this day – however small or large – were an important acknowledgment of Mandela’s contribution to promoting a culture peace throughout the world.
Despite the pervasiveness of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, men and women from both sides have come together to help build a better future for themselves. Working side by side, they have set up and operated hospitals, schools and businesses. These instances of cooperation reveal that ‘however inauspicious a situation, pockets of humanity can always be found.’
Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, telephoned Pakistani Prime Minsiter, Nawaz Sharif during the Muslim festival of Eid. Apart from extending his well wishes on the occasion of Eid, Modi also took the opportunity to wish Prime Minister Sharif a speedy recovery following a cardiac procedure. Given the typically fraught diplomatic relations between India and Pakistan, the conversation between the two leaders was a welcome gesture.
After a prison guard in Parker County, Texas collapsed from a heart attack, a group of prisoners broke out of their holding cell to assist him. In so doing, the prisoners took an enormous risk that could have ended quite badly. It is believed that the compassionate actions of the prisoners most likely saved the guard’s life. Reflecting on the incident, one of the prisoners subsequently remarked: ‘It never crossed my mind not to help whether he’s got a gun or a badge. If he falls down, I’m gonna help him.’
People across the UK have participated in random acts of kindness in an effort to counter a reported spike in racially-motivated hate crimes following the recent referendum. In the city of Bristol, roses were offered to immigrants to reinforce that they were welcome, while in London messages of love and support were sent to communities that have been recently targeted by hate crimes. An anti-racism fundraiser has also been launched through the Justgiving website to raise funds for the UK’s anti-racism educational charity, Show Racism the Red Card.
On 23 June 2016, an historic cease-fire agreement was signed between Farc rebels and the Government of Colombia. The agreement was hailed as a momentous step forward in bringing an end to 50 years of civil conflict in Colombia – one of the longest running wars in history. The occasion was marked as a victory for the people of Colombia and widely celebrated around the globe, as Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos declared: ‘Today a new chapter opens, one that brings back peace….’