Did you know that the 21st of September is the International Day of Peace? It was established by the United Nations in 1981 in order to build a culture of peace worldwide. In order to celebrate this day, Hostelling International has organized “Sleep for Peace” since 2013.
Sleep for Peace is a movement created to highlight the role that youth hostels play in building mutual understanding, encouraging tolerance through intercultural connections and promoting peace.
The idea behind this yearly event is to show how the hostelling culture contributes to peace and to make guests reflect on how their attitude changes while traveling. This year, HI broke down cultural barriers and celebrated diversity with a Cultural Box Exchange between 25 different countries! HI Norway and HI Brazil took part in the Sleep for Peace campaign by sending a box with items to highlight unique aspects of Norwegian and Brazilian culture. The boxes were sent to Australia and Slovenia, respectively, and you can read more about the exchange here.
HI hostels all over the world also had the opportunity to make a difference by hosting events to honor the International Day of Peace, and inspiring guests to talk about and reflect on this important subject. Our team in Norway organized a big Peace Party for the hostel guests and the local community at HI Kongsberg Bergmannen. About 40 to 50 people (hostel guests, students at Kongsberg University and city residents) showed up to enjoy good music, waffles, coffee, tea, and other drinks. We were also very happy about the fact that even the sun decided to join us in the celebration!
All of the decoration for the event was handmade by Amarilis and Emilia, and made by recycled material. The party was, of course, 100 % free from single-use plastic items. To make it even more interactive and fun, they placed a bed in the external area of the hostel, so that guests could take pictures and write messages of peace on the duvet.
The Sleep for Peace Party in Kongsberg received people from all over the world, and the result was an amazing multicultural day full of enjoyment and happiness.
HI Oslo Haraldsheim also organized an event for Sleep for Peace. The hostel offered snacks and drinks and had prepared a creative Peace Wall where guests could spread the love by leaving a peace message.
On the other side of the world, in Brazil, our Say HI team organized a cozy encounter with drinks and snacks at Hostel7 Brasília. Ane introduced our project and explained about the International Peace Day and Sleep for Peace, before hostel guests and friends engaged in conversations about traveling, cultural differences, and peace. We also watched a short movie about what peace means to different people, produced by the Brazilian team, which you can watch here.
Other hostels in Norway and Brazil also hosted different events to promote Sleep for Peace. At HI Norway´s main office, a youth panel was held in order to discuss the meaning of peace and how traveling contributes to peace. In Brazil, Liras de Poesia Hostel hosted an event where guests got to write their peace messages on balloons. Pantanal Backpacker Hostel had yoga, talk about peace, and a concert in order to celebrate the day.
Sleep for Peace helps spreading awareness about the positive impact traveling can bring to a person’s life. Events like these facilitate people learning from each other, understanding different perspectives within the world in which we live in, and removing stereotypes and personal biases.
We are proud of being able to inspire people by working in an environment that can foster peace and bring people together to reflect on important topics in a fun and interesting way; the hosteling way!
Written by: Amarílis Coelho, Ane Omland, Emília Barreto and Thomas Røkås