The theme of this year’s International Day of Peace, celebrated annually on September 21, is “Shaping Peace Together.” The year 2020 is also the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, established, in the words of its Charter, “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.”
The Esperanto movement, a community devoted to international dialogue through the medium of the International Language Esperanto, with participants in virtually every part of the world, has long seen the maintenance and promotion of peace as central to its goals. In 2020 its virtual World Festival of Esperanto had as its main theme “The United Nations at 75: Dialogue and understanding in a changing world.” Thousands of Esperanto speakers from some one hundred countries were drawn into the discussion, representing a direct and unfettered dialogue among equals that spanned the continents. Foremost among the questions asked was, “What can we as individuals do to promote peace and understanding, and how can we assist the United Nations in its search for a better, more peaceful and prosperous world?” Convinced that peace among the nations begins in the hearts of individuals, we pledged to continue our efforts to alert civil society to the need for open dialogue in which speaking is matched by listening, and listening leads to understanding.
The year 2021 has been declared by the United Nations as the International Year of Peace and Trust. It is our hope that the World Esperanto Congress will take place in Northern Ireland next year, if the pandemic permits it. Under any circumstances, we can be sure that we will initiate a worldwide dialogue in 2021, through the medium of Esperanto, about the importance of trust and of ways to promote it, since only through trust can we have peace and only in peace can we face the perils of the future and continue the progress toward a better world.
Universal Esperanto Association Office for Liaison with the United Nations, 777 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017.  212-687-7041. www.esperantoporun.org.