Fostering the Culture of Peace

The International Day of Friendship is celebrated annually on July 30. The International Day of Friendship is a United Nations (UN) hosted day about "promoting and defending a shared spirit of human solidarity."

First observed in 2011, the International Day of Friendship builds upon a 1997 UN resolution defining the Culture of Peace.

The Culture of Peace is "a set of values, attitudes and behaviors that reject violence and endeavor to prevent conflicts by addressing their root causes with a view to solving problems."

The International Day of Friendship lends itself to action on behalf of the Culture of Peace in ways that:

  • Promote sustainable economic and social development
  • Ensure gender equality
  • Foster democratic participation
  • Advance understanding, tolerance and solidarity
  • Support the free flow of information and knowledge
  • Promote respect for all human rights
  • Use education to foster peace
  • Advance international peace and security

A culture of peace is the foundational idea behind the UN. UNESCO, a specialized UN agency working with the international community in the areas of education, science, culture and communication, has advanced that mission for more than 70 years.

The UNESCO Constitution, written in 1945, links the possibility and hope of peace to strong bonds of trust and friendship.

"Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed . . . peace must therefore be founded, if it is not to fail, upon the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind.
Friendship and peace are inseparable.

The Origin of Friendship Day

Friendship Day, which originated in the late 1920s/early 1930s as an occasion to sell greeting cards, never quite found its footing. It was unable to overcome its marketing roots during a time when people couldn't afford leisure items.

The appeal of friendship as something to celebrate eventually resurfaced in South America in the late 1950s. The World Friendship Crusade began to promote the idea of worldwide friendship through World Friendship Day and was instrumental in lobbying the UN to adopt and make official, through the International Day of Friendship, the cause of friendship.

Interest in Friendship Day has increased over the past decade as social media has embraced it as an occasion to honor friends and exchange gifts. Friendship Day is celebrated on different dates throughout the world, but is most broadly celebrated on July 30, the same date as International Friendship Day.

Why is Friendship Important? Why Does Friendship Matter?

Friendship allows people to know and be known. It provides opportunities for open discussion, selflessness and growth. It promotes acceptance and through mutual understanding builds trust.

Friendship detests violence. It stands against harshness, oppression and prejudice. It empowers and supports, and when done well, friendship unravels the stronghold poverty occupies in the mind.

Meaningful relationships provide opportunities for both social and emotional development. Isolation and loneliness are burdens on the poor, depressing their minds and spirits. Friendship lifts up, strengthens resolve and provides hope through possibility and togetherness.

For the poor, friendship creates stability through teamwork and cultivates a hope of possibility.

In a 2015 article published in Christianity Today, Dr. Bruce Wydick, a professor of economics at the University of San Francisco, wrote about hope being a secret ingredient in poverty relief. He laid out three types of hope: Wishful Hope, Aspirational Hope and Overarching Hope.

Friendship helps cultivate hope that makes a difference. It uproots fatalism, and makes people more productive, happier, healthier and more resistant to setback. Hope matters. And friendship matters.

What does the Bible say about friendship? In Genesis 2:18 God says that it is not good for man to be alone. He created us with a need for community, a desire for connection. The Bible is full of examples of people who held a special bond with each other, whose relationships were marked with warmth and affection, and it speaks to the purpose of friendship, how to be a good friend and friendship with God.

A group of running boys squeeze water out of a water bottle

Bring Friendship, Hope and Peace to a Child in Poverty

For children living in poverty, a strong friendship offers a hope they need to escape their circumstances. Through a child sponsorship you have the opportunity to become the friend a child in poverty has been waiting for…and needs.

When you sponsor a child, your child will have the opportunity to forge friendships with other children in our Child Sponsorship Program, and the child development center workers and church leaders running the program will know him or her and invest in the child personally and relationally, as friends and mentors.

>>  How Does Compassion Child Sponsorship Work?

A 2008 study of 540 children living in the slums of Indonesia, half of whom were in our sponsorship program and half of whom were siblings of sponsored children or children waiting to be sponsored, found that Compassion child sponsorship "was responsible for increasing the index of hope by over half of a standard deviation," which Dr. Wydick, the person who conducted the research, said "is a whole lot of hope."

Be a beacon of hope and a pillar of peace to a child in poverty. Be a friend.
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Famous Quotes About Friendship

"There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature."
  — Jane Austen, novelist

"I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light."
  — Helen Keller, author and political activist

"Friendship…is born at the moment when one man says to another 'What! You too? I thought that no one but myself…"
  — C.S. Lewis, author and theologian

"The only way to have a friend is to be one."
  — Ralph Waldo Emerson, poet

"There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship."
  — Thomas Aquinas, priest

"Friendship... is not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything."
  — Muhammad Ali, athlete

"I have learned that to be with those I like is enough."
  — Walt Whitman, poet

"True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it is lost."
  — Charles Caleb Colton, writer