September 20, 2022
The Interfaith Peace Project will observe this year’s International Day of Peace by sending out a reflection each day from September 10 through September 21. Today is the tenth reflection. If you miss any reflections, you will find them on our website: interfaithpeaceproject.org.
We will continue our ongoing observance of the International Day after September 21, by sending out a reflection on the twenty-first of every month. We invite you to share in this effort by sending any articles or information that you would like to share to:
Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P
CELEBRATING THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE
SEPTEMBER 10 – 21, 2022
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 1982
Alva Myrdal was a Swedish social reformer, activist, educator, diplomat, and politician. She was also a prominent leader of the nuclear disarmament movement. Alva first came to public attention in the 1930s and was influential in creating the Swedish welfare state. She brought attention to the disparity between the rich and poor regarding social, economic, and educational policies and programs. Alva actively participated in reform measures to bring more equity into these areas. In the 1940s, she became involved in international issues with the United Nations. She was appointed to head its section on welfare policy in 1949, and from 1950-1955 was Chairperson of UNESCO’s social science section. Alva was the first woman to hold this position in the UN.
From 1955-56 she served as a Swedish envoy to New Delhi, India, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. In 1962 Alva was elected to the Swedish legislature and later sent as the Swedish delegate to the UN disarmament conference in Geneva. She held this position until 1973. During the negotiations in Geneva, she played a prominent role as an emerging leader of the group of “nonaligned nations” efforts to bring pressure on the two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, to engage in concrete disarmament measures.
Alva participated in creating the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, becoming the first Chairperson of the governing board in 1966. In 1967 she was also named consultative Cabinet minister for disarmament. For her determined advocacy and support for nuclear disarmament, she received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1982 together with Alfonso Robles.
Alva’s Words of Wisdom
“I am intentionally not using the phrase “striving for peace” too frequently. The longing for peace is rooted in the hearts of all human beings. But the striving, which at present has become so insistent, cannot lay claim to leading to eternal peace, or solving all disputes among nations, so strong are the economic and political roots. Nor can it create a lasting state of harmonious understanding between people. Our immediate striving must be aimed at preventing what, in the present situation, is the greatest threat to the very survival of humankind, the nuclear threat.”
The cost of our weapons of mass destruction is less than the cost of life itself. So why do we tolerate the proliferation of these weapons? The emerging technologies are frightening, demanding our full attention if peace would ever be a reality on Earth. I will no longer bury my head in the sands of ignorance while governments plot how to kill those they refuse to meet and respect. In every election, I will vote for peace. Every day I will strive to work for peace.