Young peace-builders are growing… in Madrid
Organized by Living Peace International, in collaboration with the Igino Giordani Foundation and Universal Circle of Ambassadors of Peace, the international congress “Con Pax: growing as Builders of Peace” will take place in Madrid from 13 to 15 December 2019.
Guillermina is a 16-year-old from Argentina. Nahuel from Uruguay is 20. They are among the youth preparing over past months to participate in an international congress of formation for young Leaders and Ambassadors of Peace, entitled “Con Pax: growing as Builders of Peace”, running from 13 to 15 December 2019 in Madrid, Spain.
«About 200 young people will be attending, from 38 countries of all five continents», explains Carlos Palma, international coordinator of Living Peace. «Among them are Hindus, Muslims and Christians. They are all young people who have already demonstrated their own commitment to live and work for peace. Many of them are “Youth Ambassadors of Peace” nominated by the Universal Circle of Ambassadors of Peace (France-Switzerland), others will participate as young leaders promoting peace. »
For example, Nahuel and two girls from his region of Uruguay, were appointed as Youth Ambassadors of Peace in 2015. Together with other youth from the city of Canelones, 40km from the capital Montevideo, they visited care homes, slum areas and organized clothes collections. «I hope to get to know socio-cultural situations different from my own, to see how they do formation towards peace, what problems people face in other countries and how they resolve them» says Nahuel, who confides, «I’m looking forward to exchanging experiences with young people of a similar age to me. I see this congress as an opportunity to establish international links which will facilitate the creation of shared projects among peace activists around the world. It will also be the opportunity for me to visit Madrid, a city on the other side of the world!»
A key moment in the congress will be the nomination ceremony of the new Ambassadors of Peace. Guillermina has not yet been nominated, but has been actively working for peace over the past year. «I think this congress will be a source of inspiration, formation and also an incentive to carry on with my commitment. It’s a unique opportunity for me to meet people with the same aims but who come from different environments and maybe with different problems to tackle».
The “Con Pax: growing as Builders of Peace” congress includes round table discussions, workshops, the presentation of young people’s actions, ideas and projects, exhibitions and artistic performances. The whole event will focus on three fundamental points for leadership in peace: peace with oneself, peace with others, peace with the world.
At this point, it’s fair to ask: what does working for peace mean to these two young people?
«It’s a challenge, a real challenge which is all-consuming», reflects Nahuel. «The hardest thing is facing up to social justice, teaching how to use forgiveness to overcome the anger and resentment that poisons society, education institutions, work, the streets, social networks, basically the whole of daily life. Currently I’m studying for my diploma in Education specifically to promote social inclusion of people on the autistic spectrum».
For Guillermina «The “Living Peace International” project has helped me do what I always wanted to do: put all my hopes and dreams into practical action. Living for peace is very important for me. I want to do it all my life, wherever I am, starting with myself, and spreading it to the people and environment around me. I know I can’t share or teach something unless I live it myself».
The organizers have high hopes for these three days in Madrid. «Our aspiration is that this congress can be an opportunity for sharing how to live for peace worldwide, understanding together what are the appropriate instruments and tasks for these young people in their commitment for peace. Above all, we hope everyone will leave with a renewed commitment, convinced that being united in a network is the way to have a real impact and contribute towards creating and spreading a culture of peace».
To date, the hardworking people of Young Ambassadors of Peace, born from the “Living Peace International” education project, number around 500: together a sign of hope for the future of our world.