In the course of the first day, the group developed a shared vision for the peacebuilding training to take place during our time together here (as depicted in the photos) and going forward. It is a complex and comprehensive vision, as we know the work for building cultures of peace itself needs to be.
The conversations on the first day echoed closely the National Peace Academy’s own vision for peace: right relationships in all areas of life – with ourselves, with other people and cultures, and with Earth and all life on it as a whole. Specifically, we identified the impact of climate change on our basic human needs; the ways that our systems and structures disproportionately allow some people in our societies to have access to basic needs and others not; and the impact of race, gender, and wealth inequities as a source of and influence on violent conflict in the world.
Tatiana says that “being here with all of these passionate people with their inspiring stories of creating change has helped me remember that I have a purpose. Being here has shown me that, while I may not yet know my purpose, I do know that I have to do something and say something rather than just sit back... I just know I have something to do and I need to do it…I would like to continue my journey as a peacebuilder for the rest of my life.”
Kristin similarly feels that NPA has a role to play in building cultures of peace in the United States and that there is more we can and should be doing.
Interestingly, we both came away from the first two days with a desire to do more – even though the steps may still be a bit unclear.
As we reflect on our learnings and integrate our reflections into possible actions when we return home, we’d like to share our initial ideas – and would love to hear your feedback! Today’s ideas revolve around the importance of the involvement of youth and young adults in peacebuilding. We’d love to find a way for the National Peace Academy to offer an ongoing portal for children, youth, and young adults to share their ideas for change – especially locally and also at a national level. As we’ve heard here in Romania, youth have a very clear understanding of themselves and the world around them and yet often aren’t invited to have their voices heard. Perhaps NPA could provide a platform for hearing their ideas and sharing them with others. We’re also excited about the possibility of a youth-organized, youth-led gathering in the United States dedicated to creating cultures of peace in our country.
We’d love to hear your thoughts!
Tatiana and Kristin