Kosovo’s annual national holiday, Peace Day, is held on June 12. After the ceasefire in the Kosovo War was negotiated in 1999, the holiday was established and sponsored by the United Nations. 1.2 million people were forced to flee their homes as a result of the conflict, which began when rebel forces attempted to overthrow Serbian sovereignty and was countered with heavy aggression by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
On June 3, an agreement was struck to cease the fighting, and NATO peacekeepers arrived in Kosovo on June 12 to begin the process of establishing a safe zone. It is a significant date in Kosovo’s history, as it marks the beginning of the country’s transition to an autonomous, democratic system.
History of Peace Day
After decades of Serbian dominance, the tide of the 20th century brought with it hints of a revolution for the autonomous province of Kosovo. Throughout the 20th century, tensions between Kosovo’s Albanian and Serbian communities boiled over, resulting in the Kosovo War of 1998 and 1999.
In the 1990s, the Kosovo Liberation Army (K.L.A.) had gained enough momentum and began to struggle against the oppression and persecution that Serbia was inflicting on its citizens. Throughout the 1990s, the K.L.A.’s campaign had grown tremendously and had begun to deliberately target and assault Serbian police enforcement in Kosovo. Serbian authorities began cracking down on K.L.A. members and sympathizers in 1998, having had enough of the attacks.
To resolve the conflict, NATO was forced to step in after diplomatic efforts proved fruitless. This was a turning point in the war because NATO helped the K.L.A. drive the Yugoslav forces back. Up to 1,000 NATO aircraft operated mostly from bases in Italy and aircraft carriers stationed in the Adriatic Sea during the NATO bombing operation, which lasted from March 24 to June 11, 1999.
A treaty called the Kumanovo Agreement was signed on June 3, 1999, and it called for the withdrawal of Yugoslav and Serb forces from Kosovo and for an international presence to be set up in the area. On June 12, 1999, the first NATO troops entered the capital city of Kosovo, Pristine.
Having declared its independence from Serbia on February 17, 2008, Kosovo has been recognized as a sovereign state by 97 of the United Nations member states.
Peace Day timeline
The tension between Serbs and Albanians within Kosovo intensifies.
Albanians engage in peaceful and nonviolent protests.
The war between the Kosovo Liberation Army and the Serbian Army begins.
Intervention from the international community brings an end to the war.
A constitutional framework for proper governance is created.
The first elections after the war are held in Kosovo.
Peace Day FAQs
Does Kosovo have an army?
Since 2018, the Kosovo Armed Forces have been undergoing a 10-year restructuring.
How did the Kosovo War end?
When NATO and Yugoslavia signed a peace accord in June 1999, the combat in Kosovo was over. Withdrawal of troops and return of ethnic Albanians, as well as half the displaced people, was agreed upon by Yugoslavia’s administration. A sad fact of life in the 21st century is that Albanian–Serb conflict has persisted into this century.
Why are Albania and Serbia enemies?
Many believe that the Serbs are invading.
How to Observe Peace Day
Donate to a charity
Donate your time and effort to an organization that helps the homeless or works on community rehabilitation. Get to know your neighbors and offer to help them out if they need it by doing some small yard work or housework.
Join Peace Day activities
As a part of a larger effort to raise awareness and promote global harmony, join forces with like-minded persons in your neighborhood. These activities, which are frequently kid-friendly, may even allow pets.
Support peace-keeping organizations
A human rights organization could use your help. Consider putting on a charity event if you have the opportunity. Quick and low-cost fundraisers include bake sales, lemonade stands, yard sales, and car washes.
5 Interesting Facts About Kosovo
Kosovo has a young population
Kosovo has one of Europe's youngest populations, with more than 40% of the population under the age of 25.
It’s the smallest nation in its region
Most of its land is forest, with about 40% of that land being agricultural.
A statue of a U.S. President
On a street named after former U.S. President Bill Clinton in Pristina, the capital, there’s also a statue of the former president.
It’s the hometown of Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa's Albanian heritage is honored in Pristina with a Roman Catholic church bearing her name.
It’s the second-youngest country
In 2008, Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia, making it the world's second-youngest country.
Why Peace Day is Important
It’s a historic benchmark for Kosovo
The people and government of Kosovo get an opportunity to reflect on the hardships they've endured in the past on this unique day. It creates a calm atmosphere for introspection and strategic planning.
It’s an opportunity to promote global peace
On Peace Day, people around the world are allowed to pause and reflect on the meaning of peace in their own lives. It's an annual event in which organizations and individuals gather to explore the best ways to avoid and resolve conflict.
It helps to promote community and national development
As it gathers traction, Peace Day strives to eliminate conflict and pave the path for positive changes. In conflict-free communities, educational opportunities increase, and poverty declines.
Peace Day dates