On Saturday the 21st of September, another important chapter was added to the festivities surrounding the 100th anniversary of the Peace Palace. In the afternoon the 'Vredesloop' took center stage. This one-time running event, organized by the local Haag Atletiek club, the Like2run organization and the municipality of The Hague, was inspired by Peace One Day, the non-profit organization founded by filmmaker Jeremy Gilley.
Jeremy Gilley initiated the establishment of an annual day of ceasefire and non-violence which the United Nations unanimously adopted in 2001. The now institutionalized International Day of Peace is celebrated all over the world on the 21 of September and coincided with the ‘Vredesloop’ which took place on the same date this year.
Mr. Jozias van Aartsen, mayor of The Hague, enthusiastically supported the idea of a 'Vredesloop' and had given his permission to set out a 10-kilometre course around the Peace Palace compound. At noon the streets were clear of all traffic and soon filled up with almost 9000 participants. They were divided in different age and ability groups, each one of them ran a different distance.
The weather, 17 degrees Celsius, cloudy with sunny spells and a mild sea breeze was perfect for a race to run. In this obviously amazing atmosphere of good will the main event, the 10-kilometre race, began at 1500 hours. The Peace Palace took part with a 42 -men and women- strong delegation, the team consisted of members of the PCA, ICJ, Peace Palace Library and Carnegie Foundation.
My colleagues of the Peace Palace Team started preparing for the event several months ago. Their extensive training did pay off, they performed extremely well, everybody made it to the finish-line in good shape. Congratulations to all.
Thanks and well done Peace Palace Team!!!!
To remember the world of the importance to reach for Peace and Justice through the intricate and often difficult implementation of international law, the 'Vredesloop', the running for Peace, may symbolize through the necessary training, perseverance, sole stamina and mindset of the participants not to give in, that the finish of a race, and likewise other great goals in life you never would have imagined to be possible, can be reached.
In a much troubled war-torn world it may be easy to find lots of subjects that divide people, but in all the festivities organized by the Peace Palace in its Centenary Year it is quite remarkable to see that when people come together to celebrate, dance and enjoy music, culture, sports, and are willing to discuss their differences in a more amiable fashion guided by international law and common sense, we are ultimately united in a common goal. To construct and strive for a better, more peaceful society for all people on this planet.
All this (and more) in recognition of Andrew Carnegie's donation for the building of the Peace Palace now a mere hundred years ago, and in paying homage to Andrew Carnegie himself, a truly great man, who believed people had a duty to "try to make the world in some way better than you found it.