The International Day of Peace, or Peace Day, is celebrated around the world each year on 21 September. It is a globally shared date for all humans to commit to peace above all differences and to contribute to building a culture of peace. Hostelling International arranges a global campaign to celebrate the day of peace, called Sleep for Peace. The aim is to start conversations. As an organization HI wish to highlight the role of the HI hostels as safe places where cultures meet. To celebrate the funny dorm conversations lost in translation, the international meals shared in the common kitchen with ingredients you can’t pronounce, and long-lasting friendships created along the road with people who are the total opposite of you.
The idea of the yearly campaign Sleep for peace is to show how the hostelling culture contributes to peace in its own way, and to get the guests to reflect on their changes of attitude while travelling. This year the theme of the campain was Sleep for Peace Postcards, sending as many postcards as possible to the UN with the message of peace. Hostel guests all over the world were asked to write something they had changed their mind about since travelling and meeting new people. Of course we at SayHI would not be left out and arranged events to promote Sleep for Peace in both Norway and Brazil.
The team in Norway organized a coffee, tea and waffles night, followed by a short movie and a discussion about the theme. The movie was a TED talk called “What can we do about the culture of hate” by Sally Kohn. The discussion was very productive, we talked about how travelling makes you know and understand more about different cultures and people, and by doing so it generates less hate because people understand each other better. HI plays a big part in this because it provides places for people to get to know each orther and new cultures around the world.
Even thought the number of participants wasn`t much the event was a success! During the evening people wrote several peace postcards to the United Nations, sending them their message and view on peace. At the end of the event there was a draw out of 3 postcards, and each one of them got a small prize from the Montana hostel.
On the other side of the world, in Brazil, the SayHI team found themselves in Rio de Janerio at the time. To not be any worse than the Norwegian team, a Norwegian waffle iron was brought to show the hostel guests this very Norwegian tradition. As it was sleep for peace, you got one waffle in return for sending one viral peace postcard. This was very fun, because the team got an easy way to engage with the guests. And as everyone who has tasted a norwegian waffle knows, no one says NO to a free norwegian waffle.
The event gave an opportunity to hear a bit about where the guests came from, where they had been and their thoughts about staying at hostels. One guy from Switzerland said that he got very inspired writing the postcard. These small things makes it all worth it! Making people reflect on their experiences and how they can contribute to a more peaceful world. The team also met a Canadian who got very excited about the fact that there were two Norwegians at the hostel, because he had lived in Stavanger before. Everyone in the common area became more talkative when there was something encouraging them to speak and sharing their experiences. At the event there were people from amongst Cananda, Great Britain, Switzerland, and of course Brazil.
In all over Brazil and Norway hostels were hosting different events to honour the day of peace and promoting the peace cards. Everything from a peace theater at Hostel 7 in Brasilia to musical shows at Missoes Hostel in Rio Grande do Sul. At Raulandsakademiet hostel in Norway there was a folk art exchange. Guests presented a folk art item that they either had or had made themselves, as well as a workshop in origami. In the heart of Oslo, Haraldsheimen hostel, they offered their guests to warm their hearts with a few scoops of soup in company with fellow travellers. Continuing, there was an event called “Elvelangs” – a torchlit walk along a river in Oslo with more than 100 cultural shows and a visit to the Nobel Peace Centre which had a peace wall to write messages of peace.
Many can travel for long times without thinking about the actual impact it has for them as a person. Such events opens up a way for people to give the impact of travelling a second thought. Many of the people the SayHI team encountered in both Norway and Brazil said that giving this a thought was beneficial and inspirering. This makes more people go out in the world with a even more concious mind of how hostelling can foster peace in its own uniqe way.
The Peace Postcards are also available online, and you can find them here
Written by: Yousra Makanse, Renato Albernaz, Hanna Jacobsen and Eirin Heddeland
Keep following our updates here on the blog, to hear more stories and ideas about sustainability in Brazil and in Norway!