Coming together to live for peace
From the 1st to the 4th of December, the international congress of Living Peace International, an educational path that aims to make the commitment to living peace and for peace grow in different learning and living environments will be held at the Mariapoli Centre of Castel Gandolfo, Rome. Let’s know more about it in an interview with Carlos Palma, founder of the network.
Egypt, 2012. Carlos Palma is an Uruguayan teacher who lives in the Middle East for over 25 years. Sharing the tragedy of the wars and the conflicts in those lands, he asked himself how he could concretely respond to the people’s need for peace. Thus, he encouraged his students to start the day by rolling the “Dice of peace”, a dice that has a sentence in each side with a proposal or an action to help build peaceful relations among all, inspired by the points from “The art of loving” that Chiara Lubich proposed to the children of the Focolare Movement. Alongside this practice he proposed to do the “Time out“, a moment of reflection or prayer for peace at noon every day. Soon enough, the atmosphere in his class changed: the children started helping each other, the teachers did not make any distinctions amongst students and sometimes apologized for the mistakes committed during the lessons. This atmosphere improved everybody’s learning level. Shortly, the whole school adopted the practice of the “Dice of peace” and the Time Out. Since then, this practice spread around the whole world giving birth to Living Peace, an international educational journey to peace, open to those collaborations around the world working for peace. Since 2016, Living Peace has been a project of the Associazione Azione per un mondo unito (AMU).
The international Living Peace congress will be held from the 1st to the 4th of next December. Let’s discover its contents by talking with Carlos Palma.
Welcome Carlos! The international Living Peace Congress will be held from the 1st to the 4th of December at Castel Gandolfo, Rome, Italy. Carlos Palma is the one who in 2012 gave way to this project.
Carlos, on the Living Peace website, there is a sentence that impressed me, a very challenging statement of intentions. It reads like this: “We believe in the necessity of an affirmation of culture and peace, the only one that can respect and respond to everyone’s true and profound questions in the steep journey towards universal fraternity”. Is this the ideality that unites the people that participate in the Living Peace?
Yes, it is precisely that one, because for us, everything originates from there. We believe, as it takes a conviction, to be convinced, first of all, that peace is possible right? And it is this that makes us reach on the other side of all the difficulties and challenges. Also, because peace culture is what responds to the deepest needs and values that we all want to live and respect. For which we all found ourselves in this sentence.
You say “all”. Can you give us a number, do you have an idea of how many people are involved in this project?
We know from the official registrations on our website, that more than 130 countries, and more than a million youth are involved. They are children, adolescents, youth, teacher, groups, associations, organizations, foundations.
What does “education for peace” mean today, in a moment in which, to quote a very known sentence by Pope Francis, “we are living a world war in pieces”?
Educating to peace, wants to first of all, educate to love. To be aware that we all have this necessity, this need to love and to feel loved. In this moment, more than ever, we feel the solution to all the problems of the world, not only to the war, is the peace we carry in our hearts. To find it first, to be the first protagonists. It is useless giving the responsibility of the problems of the world to others. Peace depends on me; peace depends on whether I have it in my heart first. I have it in my heart if I love. If I am able to love, which means seeing everyone as a candidate for peace. Going beyond the differences. These are the values that are in the dice of peace: to love everyone, to listen to the other, forgive each other. If I put into practice these values, there is a force inside me and everything I say, hear, I bring peace, create peace within me and around me.
How can we bring about peace living an integral ecology?
Through very concrete actions. Living Peace was born with a dice, the dice of peace. In these years, many versions of the dice were born, one of the versions is the ecological dice of peace, that invites everyone to save energy, to respect nature the use of water, to plant trees, etc. They are concrete acts of everyday. We work with 82 international organizations that are part of the Living Peace network. With a network from India, we got together and launched a big challenge. To plant one million trees within 365 days. And there are already more than 50 ecological organizations working to carry on this project.
We are coming to the Congress… Why participate? What awaits the people who will decide to participate? We remind you all, from the 1st to the 14th of December.
It is a worthwhile experience. In today’s world, with the challenges we face today. I think that it is important to ask ourselves: what can I do? What is my contribution? Ask ourselves this question. Through this congress, Living Peace wants to help us find some answers. For everyone to find that little place or that small or big thing that they can do for the world to be more fraternal. Thus, it is a worthwhile experience. Already the fact of meeting from all continents and being able to dialogue about peace together. To be able to share our challenges, our experiences… It is a very valuable experience. And so, I would tell everyone should take this opportunity and come especially as we are all educators. Either because we are parents and educate our children. Or because we members of another movement or association. Or we are catechists in our parish or professors in a school or university. Or because we are the leaders of the neighborhood, but we are all, in one way or another responsible of the education of other people, for this the congress is for everyone, for all these people.
DISCOVER LIVING PEACE 2022/2023