Six Month Updates from Youth Ambassadors!

7 July 2017, 11:07 AM

-   Patrick from Germany shared about his recent travels in India where he has networked with many NGOs, potential supporters and foundations, also visiting URI members. He sees India as a huge opportunity for creating a youth movement as 75% of the population there are under 35. He is now working on plans for the URI European Regional Assembly in Istanbul, Turkey in October as a member of the European Executive Committee.
-   Francisco from Argentina has created a new Cooperation Circle - Comunidad Cosmica which has been approved, bringing together Indigenous youth from different traditions in Argentina. He recently attended the URI Latin American regional assembly where he presented about his activities as an Ambassador. He also organized a multicultural exhibition in collaboration with CEPNA CC and people from other religions in Buenos Aires featuring a presentation from young people from different indigenous traditions about their cultural traditions.
-  Peter from the US is working with the Abrahamic Alliance initiative and URI to create a youth organization called the Abrahamic Youth Alliance that will be collaboratively built and run by members of the three Abrahamic faiths. He has been working to recruit members for the Founding Board and piloted an initial chat with members of the URI Global Youth network.
-  Freeman from Australia is doing well with his group Inter Action in Australia. They received government funding from the Victorian Multicultural Commission to do 3 projects in the next 12 months: 1- a conference bringing together local faith leaders in Victoria to discuss how they can work together to service the local community; 2 – a project working with young immigrant and refugee boys from the Sudan – Muslims and Catholics; 3 – an interfaith day at a local university in Melbourne celebrating the many expressions of faith by bringing all of the different religious and spiritual clubs together. Challenges he faces are how to retain young people for their activities given competing demands on their time.
-  Nyambura from Kenya is working on organizing an interfaith blood drive in Nairobi. She has been meeting with a lot of different committees to do so, and has had to do a lot of formal writing to get this approved. She is finding that blood is a very sensitive issue, especially when you mix it with faith and different beliefs. But she is also working with an NGO that coordinates with faith-based organizations and the National Blood Transfusion Center. She is planning for the blood drive to happen in December 2010.  She has made a lot of presentations in different places of worship in Nairobi and now she wants to present about URI in the schools to raise awareness about URI.
-  Mrithula from Malaysia recently organized a 2-day arts workshop for kids ages 5-12 in collaboration with the Center for Civilizational Dialogue, to provide the children with an opportunity to have fun with painting and crafts which they don’t have as much opportunity to do during the school year. She has also organized several environmental activities for youth - trips connecting them with nature.  She is facing some challenges with her main project to create a sacred music and dance festival by the end of the year – getting large sponsorships has been difficult and they have had to scale back as a result.
-  Ishilta from the Philippines has been bringing together people for gatherings of Earth-based ritual prayer and healing – to share their stories, their prayers and their hopes and visions for the land and for their community around a sacred fire. He experienced a lot of obstacles in the beginning but now he is finding the right people are coming together at the right time and the right place. He hopes to create 2 Cooperation Circles by the end of the year.
-  Dr. Sushil from Nepal is planning a grand tea party gathering to bring together people of different faiths, social leaders and political leaders for the URI 10th Anniversary. He plans to create his Rose Movement Cooperation Circle from the people who come together for the Anniversary Charter-Signing. Challenges are involving young people and others who are not always interested in interfaith dialogue.
-   A.O. from UAE attended the World Youth Movement for Democracy conference in Indonesia, and she learned a lot about the democratic way URI organizes itself to prepare for her presentation, where she read an essay she had written that had been selected. She also visited URI member Indra Udayana in Indonesia where she learned first-hand about his Ashram ( a URI CC) as a wonderful model of interfaith dialogue. She has also been selected for a program in Oxfam in which she will promote interfaith dialogue among young people. This will give her a great outlet for connecting other youth with URI. Challenges: the Gaza flotilla attack which is creating tension across her region, even in URI, and managing her master’s thesis with the rest of her commitments.
-  Shazia from Pakistan has submitted her CC application for the Roots CC in Quetta which is pending approval. They are now planning a training workshop for 30 youth from June 29th – 30th. The challenges she is facing are many: the situation is very volatile in Balochistan with many target killings and NGOs being threatened with 25 having to close down. Shazia and many others in her country have been suffering from stress and heart problems as a result. But she is determined to work for peace despite these great challenges!
-  Naoufal from Morocco has been meeting with Ambassadors Rowaida and A.O. from MENA and they are working collaboratively to develop a Training-of-Trainers workshop for youth in their respective countries. In the past 6 months he has also visited a number of countries in the region – Kuwait, UAE, Jordan, Algeria and Egypt – to share his experiences as an Ambassador with a number of youth and other NGOs.
-  Doria from the US is working to develop a teen component for a local interfaith hospitality network that provides services to the homeless in San Francisco. She intends to find a way to connect this service work with her goal of helping to eradicate malaria. The main challenge she is facing are students’ busy schedules – finding a way to get them involved.
Ambassadors shared about their progress on their plans and projects, the creation of URI Cooperation Circles, what they are learning about themselves in the process, the role of collaboration in their work and any challenges they were facing in their work. Here is a summary of their updates:
Sacred openings and closings were led by Sushil from Nepal, Freeman from Australia, A.O. from the UAE and, in absentia, Sharon from the Philippines.
On June 20th and 21st, 2010, we had our six-month check-in conference calls with URI Youth Ambassadors and the Young Leaders Program Steering Committee.  Nine Ambassadors and four Steering Committee members joined us from Argentina, Australia, Kenya, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, UAE, Uganda and USA. Six Ambassadors were unable to join but sent updates by email instead.