“It is not enough to proclaim the virtues of multilateralism and diplomacy; we must continue to show its added value. International cooperation must adapt to changing times.
Let us strive as one to realize the founders’ vision of a healthy, equitable, peaceful and more sustainable future for all.”- Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations
Throughout history, mankind has always been broiled in conflict. Numerous cultures and societies, constantly battling for a plethora of reasons. From the Romans to the Mongols, the Mughals, and the British Empire- has there ever been a moment of peace? Empires rise and fall, cities are sacked, societies are burned, people are enslaved, and there is bloodshed.
Reflecting on our history matters, because when we look into the past, we can see just how far we’ve come, and how much more we need to progress.
The times we are living in right now are globally one of the most peaceful- held up by the pillars of modern-day diplomacy and multilateralism.
Has there ever been a time where we’ve been more united, and on such an enormous scale?
April 24th is the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy, established by the United Nations in 2018. It is meant to acknowledge the use of diplomatic and peaceful means to resolve conflicts between countries- even if it doesn’t always work.
Gone are the days where we siege nations for spices or silk- but now we fight for oil, labor, and more. The world is most certainly not perfect right now, there are so many ongoing issues- The Syrian War and the Israeli- Palestine conflict to name a few.
So how could we have a day celebrating diplomacy and multilateralism when it seems so superficial? When there is so much more to resolve?
But the purpose of the “International Day of Multilateralism and Peace” isn’t simply patting ourselves on the back for a job well done and dusting our hands of any more work.
We may have achieved a level of peace and diplomacy of historically unprecedented levels- but that doesn’t mean all our work is over. It’s not only about recognizing how far we’ve come- but realizing how much further we have to go.
So much blood was shed to reach this point in history- where the world can unite; where we can stand together; where we can accept each other, and where we can work together.
April 24th is about celebrating a day that is a marker of progress, and a symbol of hope for the future.