Thursday, October 01, 2009

Aids builds walls, Partnership builds bridges!

The International Day of Peace student observance session held at the United Nations HQ in New York brought together young people from the U.S. Through a video conference, other youths from around the world were connected simultaneously, to share ideas on how to move the world forward, from its current state of derision, anger, greed and hate that causes war. It was a very intense event. And the One World Youth Project was one of the organizations that led a delegate of High School Students to participate in the event.

After the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon’s message on the need to "disarm now for a better world", and remarks by prominent adults such as Dr. Jane Goodall, UN Messenger of Peace, the discussion forum moderated by Alexandra Francis of Peace Academy ensued.

This consisted of presentations by students at UN Peacekeeping missions via video conference- “When Flowers are killed No conscience can rest” the Iraqi youth postulated. And the Congolese students in Goma reaffirmed this by presenting “The impact of Armed Conflict on Development of Children in the Democratic Republic of Congo.” In a more relaxing but equally important message, the Sudanese students performed a Drama and Song on Disarmament. And then came Liberian students’ “We have suffered enough”.

During the question and answer session, a young girl in the UN HQ asked the Liberian students “…what can we do to help you…?” It was an innocuous question but the hall went silent. I sat on the edge of my sit, anticipating what the answer coming from the other side of the world will be. I held my breath, waiting. Did they not hear the question? Why haven’t anyone stood up to answer? We all watched the big screen, everyone waiting for the answer.

And then it came! A young girl walked up to the microphone. We all saw her approach and heard her speak. She echoed the very thoughts we all share in this generation. She pointed out that the only way young people around the world can help is by making sure they pass on the message of Peace. Her response reaffirmed that young people around the world need to build bridges through collaboration, instead of sending aids which builds walls. It is no longer a matter of one continent thinking they hold the solution to the world’s problem; it is about everyone taking personal responsibility. Not about one group sending aids to another but about Collaboration and Partnership for development. She spoke once but we heard her words twice. It is no longer about "how can we help", but about understanding, to applied empathy through collaboration to effect a positive change.

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