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International Day of Conscience: commemorating the importance of the human conscience

This year the world celebrates for the second time the “International Day of Conscience”. This day has been officially declared by the UN as an International Observance just two years ago, and since 2020 it is observed every year on the 5th of April.

Learn more about this day’s meaning and importance in the following blog entry!

What is conscience and why is important?

Conscience refers to a person's moral sense of right and wrong, viewed as acting as a guide to one's behaviour (definition by Oxford Languages). Think of it as a built-in sense which prompts a person to act in accordance with what he/she considers to be correct, right, or morally good together with a feeling of obligation to do right or be good.

The importance of conscience lies in the core of inward looking and self-reflection, so as to think and whereupon act in a way considered morally correct. Also, in that manner the sense of conscience functions as a mechanism of self-examination and understanding on one’s actions and their consequences. In particular, failing to act in a way that is considered morally good can bring to a person feelings of guilt, regret and the inner need for self-improvement. At large, a well-formed conscience among individuals and societies is able to promote a Culture of Peace.

A history of the International Day of Conscience

On 5th February 2019, the UN General Assembly has officially declared an international day of Conscience which has as its central message “Promoting a Culture of Peace with Love and Conscience”. The concept of a Culture of Peace originates back to the International Congress on Peace in the Minds of Men, organised by UNESCO in 1989. The following year, on 13th September 1999, the “Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace” was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, paving the way towards saving future generations from the scourge of war.

Today, humanity still seeks and requires peace, yet the world keeps suffering from conflicts and turbulence which creates uncertainty and encroachment on human rights for people worldwide. These have serious implications for human beings and humanity itself, thus calling for action on building a world where peace is an integral part of culture. As such, the “International Day of Conscience” intents to raise awareness on the aforementioned issues and to remind people to self-reflect, follow their conscience and act morally. Moreover, this day emphasises the importance of conscience and love in building a culture of peace, based on values such as equality, tolerance, justice, freedom, solidarity, pluralism and mutual understanding.

CODECA recognises the importance of cultivating peace in the core of cultures globally, through educational, cultural, social and civic action. The organisation's course of action is based on values such as social justice, equality and protection, thus facilitating the development of a culture of peace with love and conscience.

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