The three- day ‘South Asia Regional Youth Peace Conference’ was inaugurated by ShriKrishna G Kulkarni, great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi at Gandhi Darshan, New Delhi, yesterday, the 28th November, 2018. The Conference is being organised by Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti, UNESCO MGIEP and STEP (Standing Together to Enable Peace). About 100 youth leaders from South Asian countries and different parts of India have come together to discuss different dimensions of ‘peace’.
Speaking at the event ShriKrishna G Kulkarni underscored on how the Mahatma was a man of action. He called upon the youth leaders to take to nonviolent action to promote peace and sustainable development in South Asia. Shri Krishna Kulkarni during the interaction said that ‘Indians are seekers and not just believers and that’s our source of plurality and that secularity is in our DNA’. Speaking of fearlessness, kindness and compassion, Mr Kulkarni talked about the vision and philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi and hoped that the South Asia Youth Pacific Conference will be able to mobilise youth across the region.
Mr. Abel Caine, representative UNESCO MGIEP talked about UNESCO’s ‘International Youth Campaign on Kindness for Sustainable Development Goals’ to mobilise the world youth to achieve 17 SDG through acts of kindness. He stressed on youth participation for mobilisation of stories of kindness.
The Director of Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti, Mr Dipanker Shri Gyan talked about the interventions of the Samiti for peace and nonviolence in different sections of the society. He said the life and message of the Mahatma offers insightful education for peace, nonviolence and a path for living an ethical life.
Ms Shreya Jani, Managing Trustee of Standing Together to Enable Peace Trust said, “As peace builders, we must listen to the stories and wisdom of our elders carefully, of visionary like Ba-Bapu, Mandela, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and many more who have taught us that we are all interconnected in a web of relationships one that includes our enemies.”
The countries represented include: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka. As part of the ongoing celebrations of the 150th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation, the young people have come together to create an action plan to power the Sustainable Development Goals through the lens of love and kindness.
The objective of the conference is to eliminate stereotypes, prejudices across all borders, to understand micro-macro aspect of the issues, identify common challenges and develop plan of action, to build a network of youth leaders. The conference will have conversations on Gender, Food Security, Interfaith Harmony, Digital media, Art Democracy and other Dialogues. Amongst the objectives include the aim to equip young leaders with skills and knowledge based on peace education, critical enquiry and socio-emotional learning as a tool to engage with their peers. The aim is also to build a network of youth leaders and change-makers across South Asia who will join hands to address common challenging issues together.
The 150th birth anniversary celebrations offer the right climate for young people of South Asia to further the peace agenda in the region.