For When the Rain Stops...
an article by Zachary Hongola
"Their only hope was that it would never stop raining, and they had no hope because they all knew it would," writes Joseph Heller in his classic, Catch 22, as the soldiers from Pianosa anticipate the inevitable attack on Bologna. Catch 22 is a novel about the horrors of war, something that is understood all too well by Yossarian, who makes every effort to avoid war, despite being stuck in the middle of one. The ugliness of war is something that is becoming more apparent in the modern world. Soldiers are still proud and respected, but the prestige of war is perhaps losing sway to nobler causes.
In the last few months my colleagues and I have been working on a leadership initiative called Leadership 21st Century (L21) at the United Nations Association in San Diego. This exciting program, which is still in the planning stages, was inspired by Mr. Peter Copen, founder of the International Education and Research Network (iEARN), and will attempt to bring young people together in classrooms throughout the world in order to cultivate cultural understanding. A diverse group of University level interns will share their culture with elementary school students from other cultures and encourage awareness and understanding between people from every background. This understanding should undermine any misgivings between cultures and allow for dialogue and action that is open-minded, peaceful, informed and positive.
Today's youth are the first generation to grow up in a world that seems small and interconnected. We do not feel bound by our nationality, but instead sense at least a hint of what else is out there. L21 and other youth programs portray that worldly sense held by many young adults. Instead of sending representatives abroad to fight a war, we can instead send them abroad to learn from others, and have them learn from us. When the rain stops, we may soon no longer have to fear that inevitable contact with that which is different.
For more information see the iEARN website.
Question(s) related to this article:
Youth as future peace-builders, What project-based learning initiatives are available?
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Latest reader comment:
Yes! Youth can and does make a difference, if given the opportunity.
In all of our inter-action on Peace youth played a very important role.
Million Minutes of Peace: Signing of the Manifesto initiative, more than 900 signature were submitted by us.
In 2001 at 1pm. we had a young man of 10 lead the City Officials in the First Steps into the International Decade of Peace 2001 -2010
Every year on September 21st an activity led by youth is held, the last two years we planted trees in memory of those who lost their lives to natural disasters, or participated in a walk led by the Minister of Education with many schools involved.
Yes! Youth can and does play a very important role in the promotion of peace.
Trinidad and Tobago