October 14, 2016, 4:47 PM
Visionaries build what dreamers imagined…
In the contemporary world, we all realize that what we have inherited from our ancestors is not ours but a responsibility towards the future generations. As part of this responsibility the youth of today have the strong will and commitment to create a peaceful world to live in and pass on. A world not of imagination but one with vision and concrete steps of hope that can a make difference in the lives of many.
As part of this commitment, responsibility and enthusiasm, The URI North Zone, India team planned a series of workshops under the title ‘Youth for Peace’ with the guidance and support of the Associate Director of Global Programs for Youth Leadership Development: Matthew Youde.
Organized over a period of 6 days, the workshops were held with more than 70 young minds from all religions, castes, class, ethnicities, and economically deprived classes. The diversity also encompassed youth with varied academic experiences, social work exposure and field experiences from India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Maldives.
The workshops not only successfully helped people speak their inhibitions and the stereotypes they often held about people, in the presence of ‘others’, but also gave them the space to have a dialogue and to understand; or rather, to make a beginning for appreciative listening, a foremost key to effective peacebuilding. These dialogues that emerged from people belonging to slums, the very grassroots that require attention the most, to economically well-off youngsters, helped in providing a real ‘whole’ picture of the reality.
Having opened the space for identifying problems, a larger space was dedicated to identifying what is ‘hopeful’ amidst the present challenges of violence and the conflict of the day. These hopes were reflected in discussions and activities through group dialogue, drawings and written presentations. These hopes reflected the smaller, real steps that youngsters wanted to implement themselves through their skills or work with platforms like URI to bring a change that they wanted to see. The workshops also helped young individuals to imagine the idea of leadership in bringing about peace in their society.
However, the above workshops could not have been successful and effective without the support of our CC members. I would like to thank Love Care Foundation CC for helping us reach out to youngsters from different and special backgrounds and making us a part of their beautiful project Bageecha (garden). Project Bageecha seeks to sensitize people to live harmoniously in spite of cultural, religious, caste and economic differences. It aims to sensitize people so that they make a commitment towards peace and achieve an understanding of other people’s belief.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Tronica City CC, Kasturba CC, Sadbhawana CC and Dr. Hira Paul for helping us make these events successful by sharing their wisdom and years of experience in URI and beyond. Their support reflected our supportive and open inter-generational structures of work at URI.
Lastly, I would like to thank our volunteers: Deepak, Shucheesmita Simonti, M-phil scholar of International Relations and Anurag Chauhan, founder of the Humans for Humanity organization, in helping us put the events together, and to all the participants who made these workshops a success. Special thanks to Devika Mittal and Ravi Nitesh, founder of Aaghaz-e Dosti (Indo- Pakistan Initiative), for taking out time and joining us.
A big thank you to Matthew Youde, Biswadeb Chakraborty and Alice Swett for all their co-operation, suggestions and support. It would not have been possible if not for all mentioned above.
We, URI North Zone India, hope that these small initiations and steps bring the change desired in the world and become part of our legacy we leave behind for the coming generations.