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Celebrities and student advocates attend United Nations Peace Day ceremony

posted 21 Sept 2012, 10:06 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 21 Sept 2012, 10:08 ]

Actors Michael Douglas, Forest Whitaker and Monique Coleman join students and diplomats in celebrating International Day of Peace at the United Nations in New York.

UNITED NATIONS (SEPTEMBER 21, 2012)  (UNTV) - The peace bell rang to signal the 31st International Day of Peace at the United Nations (U.N.) headquarters on Friday (September 21).

General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic rang the bell and said, "May I ask those of you who are present to join me in endeavors to ensure this one day of peace will be followed by another, and then by many more. As this bell echoes out across the United Nations let its meaning reverberate across the world."

The peace ceremony continued with a student observance session with celebrity speakers urging the young to seek world peace.

Among them was actor Michael Douglas, a U.N. Messenger of Peace.

In his address he spoke up for nuclear non-proliferation.

"Arms are the nemesis of peace -- particularly the elimination of nuclear weapons which came about in my birth and had hoped that there would be elimination before I die," the Oscar-winner told the audience of 194 international students.

"The economy doesn't look good for the near future so if you're not going to make a lot of money then maybe you can make a better world," he added.

Actor Forest Whitaker urged students to look past the borders of their own countries.

"Because we're not seeing military conflict on our own soil, because we can blind ourselves to the realities of what's occurring or the realities of what we're doing in other parts of the world, we have to be mindful," the star of "The Last King of Scotland" said.

"We have to look at our environment and look at the world and look at our participation in the world and what we are offering to it and what we're taking away from it," he added.

U.N. Youth Champion, actress Monique Coleman had a heartfelt message for the student audience too.

"We are not born with hatred in our hearts. We are inheriting these conflicts that have been happening for generations and generations. But at some point, this generation has to stand up and say: 'No more'," she said.

Other speakers at the ceremony were Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, Indian actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and world-renowned primatologist Jane Goodall.