By Denise McCarty
The United Nations Postal Administration will celebrate the International Day of Peace, Sept. 21, by issuing nine stamps representing this year’s theme: “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.”
In particular, the theme focuses on the plight of refugees and migrants throughout the world.
U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said: “Our obligation as an international community is to ensure that everyone forced to flee their homes receives the protection to which they are entitled under international law. Our duty as a human family is to replace fear with kindness.”
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Stranger & Stranger, a packaging design and branding company that specializes in alcoholic drinks, designed the International Day of Peace stamps. Established in 1994, the company has studios in London, New York, and San Francisco.
UNPA Chief Thanawat Amnajanan said, “The design firm Stranger & Stranger has created unique artwork for this stamp series which illustrates how peace can be a powerful force in uniting people around the world.”
The set includes three stamps for each of the three UNPA post offices: one in U.N. headquarters in New York City, one in the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland; and the third in the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria.
For each post office, there are two stamps that will be issued in separate sheets of 20 and a third stamp in a souvenir sheet of one.
The denominations are 49¢ and $1.15 for the two stamps for use from the post office at U.N. headquarters in New York City. In addition, the single stamp in the souvenir sheet has a $1.15 denomination.
Similarly, the two stamps for use from the Palais des Nations are denominated 1 franc and 2fr, and the souvenir sheet 2fr; and the stamps for use from the Vienna International Center are denominated 68¢ and 1.70, and the souvenir sheet is 1.70.
The 49¢ stamp shows two symbolic doves in different colors. UNPA has named this design Equality/Doves, according to the report about the new stamps in Fascination (No. 123), the UNPA’s bulletin for stamp collectors.
The UNPA said, “Symmetry is all about balance. Balance is a measure of equality. And true equality is the harbinger of peace.”
In addition to inscriptions in English, the stamp includes the Chinese characters that translate to “peace” in the bottom center of the design.
The design for the $1.15 stamp in the souvenir sheet is similar to that of the 49¢ stamp, also showing two multicolor doves facing each other. In this design, the Chinese inscription appears above the doves, and the word “Peace” is in English below them.
The illustration on the $1.15 stamp in sheets of 20 represents the saying “moths to a flame.“
The UNPA said, “The beauty of civility and decency serves as humanity’s guiding flame — a light to gravitate around even in the darkest of nights.”
The word “Peace” is written in English downward on the left side of this stamp.
The 1fr stamp features a fox and hare. Their shadows form a peace dove.
The design represents the unity of enemies. The UNPA reported the fox and hare symbolize the “twin urges of fear and anger,” and the rest of the design represents the power of “enemies who join forces to overcome them.” An Arabic inscription meaning peace is included in the lower right.
The designs of both of the 2fr stamps (one in sheets of 20 and the other in a souvenir sheet) are called Duality. Each design depicts two figures tete-beche, or upside-down in relation to each other.
On the stamp in sheets of 20, one figure is in tan and the other black; both are holding a bouquet of flowers. The inscription on the right side reads “Paix,” French for peace.
The figures on the stamp in the souvenir sheet are in tan and pink, and their arms are not shown. The floral bouquets are placed at the nape of their necks. The peace inscriptions are in Arabic and French on either side of the main design.
The UNPA explained the concept of the Duality design, “There is a reason that polar opposites attract: because you can only see the full picture when complementary parts combine.”
Hands and arms symbolize the breaking down of barriers on the 68¢ stamp and a peace offering on the 1.70. The former design pictures two blue arms, one handing a flower to the other, while the latter shows a handshake.
The Russian word for peace is repeated in a circle in the center of the design of the 68¢ stamp.
On the 1.70 stamp, one hand is magenta, and the other a golden yellow. Flowers decorate the left and right sides of the design. The Spanish word for peace, “Paz,” is in the center above the handshake.
The handshake design plus a few additional flowers are featured on the souvenir sheet. The Spanish word for peace is above the handshake, and the Russian is below it.
Joh. Enschede of the Netherlands printed the stamps by offset lithography, plus gold foil.
The stamps in sheets of 20 are 50 millimeters by 35mm each, while those in the souvenir sheets are 43mm by 43mm. The souvenir sheets also are square, 81mm by 81mm.
The quantities printed are 110,000 each of the U.N./New York stamps; 80,000 each of the U.N./Geneva stamps; and 90,000 each of the U.N./Vienna stamps. The souvenir sheet quantities are 27,000 of the $1.15; 25,000 of the 2fr; and 33,000 of the 1.70.
The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by U.N. resolution A/Res/36/67, which passed unanimously, and called for a day to strengthen the “ideals of peace and to alleviating the tensions and causes of conflict, both within and among nations and peoples.”
A second resolution in 2001 (55/282) fixed the date of Sept. 21 for the International Day of Peace and also called for it to be observed “as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence, an invitation to all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities.”
For ordering information for the International Day of Peace stamps, visit the UNPA website, email the UNPA; pick up the telephone and dial 800-234-8672; fax 212-963-9854; or write to UNPA, Box 5900, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163-5900.