. TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY .
An article by Rula Samain from the Jordan Times
Caritas Jordan on Friday [September 22] launched the Youth World Peace Forum (YWPF) under the theme “Now is the time”, with the aim of empowering youth in peacemaking.
More than 400 young participants from 40 countries convened at the American University of Madaba for the two-day event to share their personal experiences and plan initiatives to contribute to a more peaceful world.
More than 400 young participants from 40 countries participated in the Youth World Peace Forum at the American University of Madaba (Photo by Rula Samain)
Caritas, a humanitarian charity that counts 160 members worldwide, is a nongovernmental organisation affiliated with the Catholic Church.
Wael Suleiman, general director of Caritas Jordan, told The Jordan Times that the invitation was a “continuation” of the peace initiative launched by Pope Francis last year, who called all Caritas organisations around the world to spread the message of world peace.
He added that the youth are taught the values of true peace by listening and respecting each other, which also helps them to understand the importance of sharing.
For Suleiman, the message of peace can also be conveyed through art: “Most of the activities involved art, singing, music, dancing, where participants expressed themselves as well as their agonies”.
Suleiman noted that a few days before the forum was held, a special camp was established where participants spent time with Syrian and Iraqi refugees, helping fix some of their houses and organising special programmes for the children.
“This is the beauty of the conference: it served as a platform for all peace initiatives by the young generations so that all, whether Christians and Muslims, can share their experiences”, Suleiman added.
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Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?
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The two-day event saw the participation of the YWPF and the Italian project “Non Dalla Guerra”.
YWPF President Carlos Dario said that Jordan was the “right place” to host such an event because of its visible efforts in promoting peace.
He told the Jordan Times that the youth represent “the future” and that adults’ role is to guide and encourage them to work for peace, adding that focusing on proper education was essential.
Giovanni Zambon, founder of Non Dalla Guerra, said that Jordan’s effort in hosting refugees constituted a “model to follow” for other countries.
He added that his organisation, which translates into “not through war”, was born in Jordan three years ago when he visited the Zaatari camp.
“I learnt that donating money is important to help refugees but giving one’s time is even more valuable. Being with the refugees, listening to them and sharing with them taught me a lot about peace. I realised that it starts from within the person itself. Giving is not only about money, time has more of a value,” he explained.
During the event, several institutes held workshops to spread awareness on the value of peace and “spread the seeds of love”.
Among them was the Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies (RIIFS), a nongovernmental organisation that provides a venue for the interdisciplinary study of intercultural and interreligious issues, with the aim of defusing tensions and promoting peace regionally and globally, according to its website.
RIIFS Academic Adviser Amer Alhafi told The Jordan Times that peace is “the essence” of the three Abrahamic religions, and stressed the importance to emulate actions of peace and kindness in our daily lives.
Among the participants was Samer Ishaq, 33, from Syria, Khdija Akjabri, 18, from Oman and Srushti Vasani, 17, from India.
The three agreed that the moments they shared together were extremely valuable, and that even though the path to peace making is not easy, it is not impossible, and they are determined to achieve it.