Peace One Day?


Written by James Read
30 Monday 30th June 2008

Were there any problems getting all 192 states to agree to sign up to the UN agreement?

Yeah, there were actually. The plan was primarily to make a film about the attempt (Peace One Day), but as I progressed I wanted to use the camera to effect change rather than just document it. Funding was a major factor - speaking to everyone from Kofi Annan to the Dalai Lama requires a lot of flights and expenditure. It worked out though - BA gave me all my flights, Sony gave me camera, and Kodak the film stock.

How well do you find member states adhere to the ceasefire? With Iraq, Colombia, Zimbabwe all being members, are there not contraventions? What does the UN agreement bind them to?

Well, I would like to focus on the positive side. The day exists, the resolution invites everyone to celebrate the day. The UN resolution asks everyone to observe a day of cessation. In Afghanistan we carried out a protest, and Jude Law travelled with me. We visited government officials, NGOs, teachers and schoolchildren. We had a big press conference to let everyone know about our efforts, and the WHO and Unicef took on the banner. The head of the Mujahideen agreed to acknowledge a cessation of hostilities towards humanitarians on the day, which allowed those organisations to go and safely vaccinate 1.4 million children against Polio. Going onto a local level, it really helps generate a change in state of mind, an acknowledgement of the possibility of peace.

September 21st is your chosen date. It is also the opening day of the regular sessions of the UN General Assembly - is there any other particular significance to this date?

Because this is the one time of year that all countries come together. Because it's the last day before the equinox. Because it was my grandfather's favourite number, a prisoner of war and real hero of mine. And the whole thing came together at the beginning of the 21st century.

What can Joe Public do to recognise Peace Day?

It can be as simple as saying sorry, and forgiving people who they've fallen out with. This year we're doing One Day, One Goal, so you can celebrate peace through football.

Tell us a little bit about your upcoming film, The Day After Peace...

The film documented my attempt to effect real change on Peace Day, and the celebrity support from Jude Law, Angelina Jolie and Jonny Lee Miller which helped me achieve this. It shows the fruition of my ten year journey from having the idea to executing it and succeeding. It will be released around 21 Sept, and there'll be a gala screening at the Royal Albert Hall. We've got Annie Lennox on board for the ceremony, and we're about to announce another special guest.

Who is it?

Can't say.


I'll let you know on Wednesday.

Oh, alright. I'll update the article then.

Wednesday update: Turns out it's Bryan Adams.

All images copyright Peace One Day.

Visit the website for more info. To buy tickets to the Gala event, go to

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