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A Global Initiative for the United Nations' International Day  of Peace



SICA’s Poems for Peace® began in Austin in 2012 when Jeremy Gilley's Peace One Day initiative inspired us to celebrate the UN’s International Day of Peace—an event that annually challenges us to consider what it means to be human and how to live together as one human family. We feel poetry has a unique capacity to respond to that challenge!

All the holy books of the world are in verse. Poems are in every culture, every country, every language. They’re in our nursery rhymes, our anthems, our love songs, our prayers. It’s the language of our humanity. They carry our pain, our wisdom, our hopes, our dreams, our love. Our 2012 initiative spread to 14 countries and led to partnerships with other organizations. 1 Million Poems for Peace launched in 2015 as an expansion of Poems for Peace.

This year, in honor of our partner organization, The Charter For Compassion, whose 10th Anniversary tag line is PEACE STARTS HERE, we are inviting poets and writers to use this platform to create and share an online global anthology of poems for peace.

Join us on Facebook to help create our Global Online Anthology of Poems for Peace by adding your poems here:  One Million Poems for Peace!
Naomi Shihab Nye and Kindness

Kim Rosen interviews poet Naomi Shehab Nye about her poem, Kindness — and the inspiration for the poem.


At the end of the interview, Rosen asks Nye, "If you could have your deepest desire, what effect would your poems have on readers and the world?"


And Nye replies: More peace. She adds, "I want my poems to befriend you. . . . because when we feel befriended in the world, we feel more peaceful. . ."


Full interview in the July-August 2012 issue of Spirituality & Health. Photo accompanies article.

"Kindness" has repeatedly been read  at numerous Poems for Peace events all across the world — without planning that.

by Naomi Shihab Nye 

Before you know what kindness really is

you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.


Before you learn the tender gravity                      of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian
     in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

from The Words Under the Words: Selected Poems.  
© Eighth Mountain Press, 1995

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,

You must know sorrow as the other deepest thing. 

You must wake up with sorrow.

You must speak to it till your voice

catches the thread of all sorrows

and you see the size of the cloth.


Then it is only kindness that makes sense    anymore,

only kindness that ties your shoes

and sends you out into the day to mail letters

    and purchase bread,

only kindness that raises its head

from the crowd of the world to say

it is I you have been looking for,

and then goes with you everywhere

like a shadow or a friend.


The late Varindra Vittachi, former Deputy Director of Unicef, had two words of  advice before he died:  "Be kind."

Peace by Ewa Górska / poem by Sara Teasdale

Peace flows into me
As the tide to the pool by the shore;
It is mine forevermore,
It ebbs not back like the sea.


I am the pool of blue

That worships the vivid sky;

My hopes were heaven-high,

They are all fulfilled in you.

One of the poems recently shared on I Million Poems for Peace. Thank you, Andrzej Rejman

I am the pool of gold

When sunset burns and dies--

You are my deepening skies,

Give me your stars to hold. 


Begun in 2012 as as a SICA Italy initiative, Poesies per la Pace has grown to an annual instritution in Rome.  Bravo, Ivan Cozzi and Isabella Maroni.  

Ivan writes: (see translation below) "La pace, si sa, cerca luoghi ove insediarsi con tutte le infinite opportunità che porta con sè. La pace chiede strade, piazze ed anime dove fermarsi. La poesia, a sua volta, è incontenibile, esce dalla penna o dalla tastiera e si moltiplica, sfugge, si annida e celebra ogni cosa che tocca.


Ogni anno il 21 settembre, in occasione della Giornata Mondiale della Pace, poeti, artisti, musicisti, attori si incontrano per parlare di pace. Ma anche ogni volta che parlare di pace diventa necessario. 


Peace, you know, seeks places where it can take hold, with all its endless opportunities. Peace calls for streets, squares and souls to be still. Poetry, on the other hand, is unrestrainable; it flows freely from the pen or keyboard and multiplies, escapes, lurks and celebrates everything it touches.


Every year on September 21st, on the occasion of the International Day of Peace, poets, artists, musicians, actors meet to talk about peace: Real Peace Talks

happen — all the time.

Colombian poet Konrad Muñoz leads global Poems for Peace event in Santiago, Chile. Above:  Muñoz speaking after release of his latest book, Poemas Uranicos.

SICA's Poems for Peace Inspires Citywide Collaborative Celebrations of Peace Day in Austin, Texas


SICA's Poems for Peace has led to an amazing city-wide collaborative celebrations of Peace Day every year since 2015. Many thanks to our partner organizations, poets, peace advocates, and friends in Austin.  LEARN MORE

Award-winning Austin poet Kurt Heinzelman and Prize-Winning Actress/Author Katherine Catmull helped launch Poems for Peace.

About SICA


THE SUBUD INTERNATIONAL CULTURAL ASSOCIATION (SICA) is a US nonprofit organization providing programs and services to individuals and organizations working to nurture human values through art, culture, and creativity. SICA provides information, training, networking and support services as well as opportunities to engage and collaborate with cultural initiatives and events around the world. SICA believes the development of individual talent is critical to building love and respect among peoples everywhere.


SICA, which has a constituency in almost 90 countries, is an active member of the International Coalition of NGOs for Peace jointly led by Peace One Day and Interpeace.  SICA is also an Arts Partner organization of the Charter for Compassion, and a member of Americans for the Arts. 


SICA was begun by members of the World Subud Association in 1983. The US SICA office is based in Los Angeles, CA.

PEACE ONE DAY is the UK nonprofit founded by Jeremy Gilley that invited many NGOs to join with them in celebrating Peace Day in 2012.  That was when SICA became involved, but it was  Jeremy's own story of how and why he started Peace One Day that was especially inspiring:

"It started with a crazy idea," says Gilley. "What if there could be one day of real peace all over the world." An actor turned filmmaker, Jeremy became preoccupied with questions about the fundamental nature of humanity and the issue of peace in the late 90s.


Gilley's "crazy idea" led to a campaign to establish an annual day of real peace — a global truce — on the UN's International Day of Peace. In  2001 the UN's declared that yes, its annual Peace Day, September 21st, should henceforth be dedicated to shared community action to inspire true peace and nonviolence worldwide.


"Institutionalising a day of peace is just a process," says Gilley. "The real success of Peace Day comes down to individuals getting involved and taking ownership of the day."

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