Global Young Peacemakers Celebrating Peace as a Way of Life
150 young adults and their mentors came together for the Young Peacemakers UnConference (YPuC) on 4 February 2018 at the Department of Southeast Asian Studies (DSAS), Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Malaya (UM).
The full-day event was a program by The Blue Ribbon (TBR) Global, and was co-organized by UM’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS), and Pathways for Mutual Respect (PFMR) USA. The discussion on launching YPuC and Pathways Institute at UM started in mid September 2017. It was then followed up by a seminar on “Religion, Culture and Society” initiated by Professor Dr Thirunaukarasu Subramaniam of Department of Southeast Asian Studies, UM on 19th October 2017.
YPuC was also run with the support from Peace Generation (PG) Malaysia and El-Shaddai Centre Berhad, and other partners: Young Interfaith Peacemakers Community (YIPC) Indonesia, UCSI University Malaysia, Bintan Bersatu Apparel Batam, and Afghan Peace Volunteers (APVs) Afghanistan.
Held in conjunction with World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW), the YPuC was a platform for participants from different cultures and religions to explore how peace can be initiated through mutual respect, understanding, and long-term positive relationships. Half of the YPuC participants came from Malaysia and the rests were from other Southeast Asian countries, Africa, South Asia, Middle East, China and the USA.
YPuC was premised on the fact that contributing together as a community towards sustainable community development and common goals is the way to ensure borderless peace-making remains an ongoing priority in this diverse world.
Welcoming participants to the event, Professor Dr Hanafi Hussin, Dean, FASS, UM, said, “Conversing with and understanding each other, makes our relationships stronger, and this forms a fundamental basis for peace building.”
“We want to hear the voices of young people in peace building,” said Ms Norani Abu Bakar, Founder of The Blue Ribbon (TBR) Global and Asia Director for PFMR, urging them to come up with solutions for barriers to understanding and inclusion. TBR’s tagline “if two people listening and talking with each other is the basis for change and peace, imagine what a few hundreds of young people can do?” was an open invitation to all youth to join this borderless peacemakers’ community.
YPuC presenters from Malaysia were PG Malaysia, Projek57, and El-Shaddai Learning Center; from Indonesia were YIPC and TBR Batam; and from Singapore were TBR Singapore, Creation Care SG and FiTree. Other guest speakers were from UNHCR Malaysia and the Harmony Center, Islamic Religious Council of Singapore.
The highlight of the program was the engaging three hour of small group discussions and participant-driven learning sessions to bring out the theme: Connect, Converse, Contribute for the Common Good.