2022 Global Youth Empowerment Peace Workshop (YEPW)
On February 26, the International Peace Youth Group (IPYG) held the 2022 Global Youth Empowerment Peace Workshop (YEPW) online. YEPW is a youth consultation platform designed for young people to solve various challenges they are faced with. More than 100 youth leaders of religious organizations across 30 countries and five different religions—Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and Zoroastrianism—attended this event.
IPYG began to operate the Youth Empowerment Peace Class (YEPC) last year after recognizing that the cooperation and solidarity of civil society is essential in solving the problems and issues of the youth which are threatening the future of the world. While operating YEPC, it was realized that spiritual leaders were needed in order to form healthy values. Therefore, the event was held with the theme of “The cooperation of spiritual leaders to solve the challenges facing young people.” During the event, there was a time to discuss the roles of the leaders in religious organizations and how they can help improve conflicts, discrimination, lack of educational opportunities, and mental health among other things.
The first part of the global workshop began with a presentation by the Director of IPYG followed by congratulatory messages from religious leaders. Through the presentation, the Director of IPYG asked for the support and solidarity of young people with religions in order to realize peace.
Mr. Inderpal Singh, the Director Overseas & UNO Affairs at Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle, delivered a video message regarding the importance of solidarity and said, “I believe the exemplary messages and solidarity of youth religious leaders toward this era will embrace youth’s anxiety and wounds, and create deep bonds, which will transform youth in each country into main agents of peace with positive and active attitude. It is wonderful and promising to have so many religious youth leaders come together today.”
Mohamad Al Bukai, the Director of Islamic Affairs in UNI(National Association of Islamic Entities), expressed, “Without a doubt, for us, young people mean hope and they mean the future. And the future, we have to start building from today. I want to wish a lot of success to this event and I want to say this young people that we are together and we are one.”
Mr. Brahmanda Pratap Barua Ripon, the General Secretary of Bangladesh Buddha Kristi Pracher Sangha Youth Dhaka, proposed strengthening cooperation within religions to resolve conflicts derived from religions and to achieve peace as he said, “There are many disputes caused by religion, and the victims are always youths. We should not make wars because of religion. As you know youths are the bright future and decision makers. In order to cooperate each other to solve the problems in religion we need to study all religion and know basic teachings of all religion.”
Ms. Dalitso Mvula, President of UNZA YMCA, asked for the cooperation of religious leaders to expand the dissemination of basic educational opportunities as she said, “Last year, our home was severely impacted by the pandemic. The economy was really bad, and the youths suffered from substance abuse and mental health. Because they were just at home and not going for classes which was a bad thing. To solve these issues, leaders need to come together and put aside our religions and show love and care to one another. Especially in terms of education. I think it is a true value that we can cooperate and make a movement regardless of our religion differences.”
To resolve the issues young people in different regions face, Ms. Ricarda Haase, the General Director of IPYG in Germany, said, “please attend the YEPWs, a table of youth consultations for solving national or community scale problems. Please share your experiences in solving the problems that each region is experiencing, and suggest directions based on the right values.
Please share in the YEPC, an education program for young people who do not receive basic education, Your guidance is needed in order for young people to grow into leaders with a fair, open minded attitude, responsibility, proactiveness, inclusiveness, and love,” as she asked for participation in YEPW of different regions and cooperation for YEPC.
For the second part of the event the participants gathered by regions in a small meeting room to discuss the current issues and plans to work together. The participants shared various unresolved issues such as disputes caused by religion, lack of opportunities for youth education, youth unemployment, substance abuse, mental health issues as well as solutions needed for cooperation. The event concluded with promises made to have the plans not end with just discussions but to implement the plans by continuously hosting workshops and conducting various projects centered around IPYG.