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World Hello Day may sound extremely basic, as it encourages us to take the opportunity to simply greet people, and to recognize how important simple communication is in our daily lives. The story of how it came to be, however, is a long and interesting one.

History of World Hello Day

World Hello Day was first created in 1973 in order to show people, especially the people of the Middle East that conflicts can and should be resolved through communication, and not violence. The idea is that clear, honest communication breeds peace. In the 1970s, the conflict between Egypt and Israel was quite severe, and many people began to fear yet another huge war would end up coming of it.

World Hello Day was in fact created as a direct response to the Yom Kippur War that had just finished in October of 1973, during which thousands of both soldiers and innocent civilians were killed. Some soldiers had also been tortured and flat out executed.

The peace discussion at the end of the war was the first time that Arab and Israeli officials met for direct public discussion in 25 years. The concept of World Hello Day was created by Brian McCormack, a Ph.D. Graduate of Arizona State University, and Michael McCormack, a graduate of Harvard. Over the last 42 years since its creation, World Hello Day has been celebrated in 180 countries, as citizens of each of these countries take advantage of this time to express their concerns for world peace.

Thirty-one winners of the Nobel Peace Prize have stated that World Hello Day carries substantial value as an instrument for preserving peace, and as an occasion that makes it possible for anyone in the world, individual, organization or government, to contribute to the process of creating peace.

World Hello Day Timeline

1948

Israeli War of Independence/Palestinian Nakbah

As the British planned to withdraw from Palestine and the United Nations got involved with partitioning it into an Israeli section and an Arab section, conflicts broke out among the two people groups. The conflict lasted until 1949.[1]

1967

Six Day War

Israel and Syria again find themselves in conflict for six days in June of this year.[2]

October 1973

Yom Kippur War

Sometimes called the October War, this Arab-Israeli conflict was started by Egypt and Syria on October 6 and it lasted for 3 weeks. The war drew in other large world powers such as the United States and the Soviet Union.[3]

1973

Inaugural World Hello Day

Americans Brian McCormack and his brother Michael were concerned about the conflicts in the Middle East, so they mailed letters to more than 1300 government leaders and press outlets to encourage their participation in World Hello Day and, ultimately, aim for peaceful communication.[4]

1974

Second World Hello Day includes at least 15 countries

After so many letters were sent to government leaders and press outlets, the word began to spread and World Hello Day celebrated its second year, with at least 15 countries celebrating. In the four-plus decades since its initial celebration, World Hello Day has garnered the support of 180 countries.[5]

1979

Peace treaty is signed

Israel and Egypt formally sign a peace treaty on March 26 to end the conflict between the two countries that has existed for more than 30 years.[6]

1982

Lebanon War

Israelis and Palestinians again enter into conflict resulting in the bombing of Beirut and southern parts of Lebanon.[7]

1992

High-ranking US military officer writes to founders

In a letter acknowledging the importance of World Hello Day, Colin Powell, the highest ranking military officer in the US at the time, wrote that the word hello “serves as a door through which to gain access to greater understanding among peoples and nations as we continue the quest for world peace”.[8]

2016

Singer/songwriter K-Syran dedicates song to the day

In an effort to promote the day, Artist and Activist K-Syran performed and dedicated a special acoustic version of her song “Hello” to World Hello Day. The song was on the Billboard Top 40 for several months throughout the summer of this year.[9]

How to Celebrate World Hello Day

Participating in World Hello Day is quite simple: all you have to do is say hello to at least 10 people during that one day. This is supposed to send a message of openness and goodwill to others, and the creators of the holiday hoped this small gesture alone would demonstrate how communication can be instrumental in resolving disputes and preventing conflicts.

If you would like to take this a step further, you could always think about a person in your life that is important to you, but that you have fallen out with over something that is perhaps not quite worth it. Time tends to be a great healer, so if enough time has passed from your conflict for you to be able to analyze the situation and all of its aspects, seeing your own faults and wrongdoings as well as those of the other party, maybe it’s time to put the conflict behind you?

Many people do not know how good it actually feels to admit you were in the wrong and say sorry—instead, they see such behavior as a display of weakness, when it is actually a display of strength and confidence. People also often make the mistake of thinking that the other person will lose respect for you if you apologize to them, and this too is incorrect. Most people will respect you more for being able to admit you were in the wrong than if you decide to stubbornly hold onto your convictions after being proven incorrect. It may seem a bit daunting at first, but if the person you’ve fought with is important enough to you, it will always be worth the struggle to make the first move and extend your hand to them in a gesture of peace.

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