Building a better world for children – World Vision

Armed conflict and ongoing drought make life very hard on most of us, but the ones truly experiencing the negative effect of armed conflicts (and not only) are children.

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice. They work in nearly 100 countries, serving all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.

They believe in a full solution to poverty and injustice, provide emergency assistance to children and families affected by disasters and conflict, partner with communities for long-term solutions to alleviate poverty, and advocate for justice on behalf of the poor.

World Vision has and integrative, holistic view of resolving the issues committed to:

  • Transformational development that is community-based and sustainable, focused especially on the needs of children.

  • Emergency relief that assists people afflicted by conflict or disaster.

  • Promotion of justice that seeks to change unjust structures affecting the poor among whom we work.

  • Partnerships with churches to contribute to spiritual and social transformation.

  • Public awareness that leads to informed understanding, giving, involvement, and prayer.

  • Witness to Jesus Christ by life, deed, word, and sign that encourages people to respond to the Gospel.

The areas of work are: education, child protection, health, disaster relief, economic development, promoting gender equality.

At the Global Youth Rising 2016 International Youth Peace Forum World Vision will have training courses and workshops on: Youth participation, Advocacy towards the EU and Countering Violent Extremism, and we are pleased to welcome trainer Alexandra Matei to join us. Join is us in our journey to make this world a better place and apply now if you haven’t already.

Friday Organisational Spotlight – Building Bridges for Peace


As you may remember A while back we had an interview published with Jo Berry the founder of Building Bridges for Peace. Today we are doing a spotlight of the organisation itself and write a little about the workshops led by Jo.

The charity Building Bridges for Peace was launched in Brighton in October 2009 on the 25th anniversary of the Brighton hotel bombing. On October 12th 1984, the IRA (Irish Republican Army) exploded a bomb in the Grand Hotel, Brighton, during the Conservative Party Conference killing 5 people and injuring many more. Amongst those killed was Sir Anthony Berry MP.

The family of Sir Anthony Berry were devastated, but for his daughter Jo, it also signalling the beginning of a life-long mission for peace.

16 years later, Patrick Magee – the man who planted the bomb – was released from prison and Jo arranged to meet him. As they listened to each other’s stories they came to realise that this was the beginning of a journey of peace and reconciliation to which they were inextricably bound.

Building Bridges for Peace works to enable divided communities and the general public to explore and better understand the roots of war, terrorism and violence. They promote dialogue and mediation as the means to peace.

There is no other pair with a comparable history to Jo and Pat working together in this way in the UK or who are travelling outside their home country to other areas of conflict. What distinguishes their work and the impact they have is their particular story, the unique relationship that they have developed, their capacity to share that with others and testimonial evidence of what they have achieved. Jo Berry and Pat Magee have given talks in Palestine, Lebanon, Rwanda and throughout the UK.

Jo and Pat talk frankly and movingly about the discoveries and challenges they face in working together in a way that breaks down their audience’s conventional judgemental assumptions. This opens up to all who hear them the scope to re-examine beliefs, grasp the potential for empathy, understanding and forgiveness and take action for reconciliation even in the most extreme circumstances.

This work is particularly needed, as violent conflicts tend to arise within countries and communities as much as between them.

The difference their work makes is:

  • at grassroots level, people caught up in the seeming hopelessness of the conflict/ post conflict situation gain empathy, understanding and hope that supports them to take action towards reconciliation

  • by demonstrating what can be achieved through reconciliation, make a stronger case to policy makers to devote more resources to it

  • inspiring a wide range of people to take more action to promote non-violent and empathy based approaches to situations of conflict

During the International Youth Peace Forum, Jo Berry will share her story of losing her father in a terrorist attack and how and why she met Patrick Magee, the man responsible. She will share the lessons learned and how they have become friends. She will answer questions and create an emotionally safe place for all responses.

There will be a chance to share experiences of our ‘other’ without any judgement. The mentors will be around after if any participant would like to be heard on a deeper level. Participants will separate into groups/pairs and produce a mindmap or sketches – also will give feedback to the group.

We are thriving to create a space of deeper understanding of our personal response to being hurt, to encourage considering more choices with how we respond, to develop more awareness of the story we tell ourselves and our emotions and to realise more connection with the ‘other’ and humanity.

We will also have the chance to develop your listening skills and challenging behaviour. We will learn how being heard and acknowledged will empower us, and how to develop our empathy and compassion.

We welcome you to apply if you haven’t done so and follow us if you already did!

IAHV – The International Association for Human Values

This week we are presenting you another partner organisation helping in realizing GYR: IAHV. So let us tell you a bit about who they are and what they do and what they will bring to this forum to share.

The International Association for Human Values (IAHV) is a non-profit, United Nations-affiliated organisation founded in 1997 in Geneva, Switzerland, by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar,the Dalai Lama and other world leaders. Its mission is to build a sustainable and inclusive peace by promoting and supporting the development of human values in both the individual and societies on a global scale.

Through its country organizations and partners, IAHV conducts service projects and raises funds for humanitarian and disaster relief initiatives throughout the world.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a humanitarian leader, a spiritual teacher, and an ambassador of peace. His vision of a stress-free, violence-free society has united millions of people the world over through service projects and the courses he has developed.

IAHV Peacebuilding was set up in June 2013 with the aim of identifying, articulating and developing IAHV’s unique expertise and approach to peacebuilding in order to strengthen existing peacebuilding efforts worldwide. IAHV Peacebuilding addresses two vital factors, which influence the way communities prevent, mitigate and transform conflict and build peace.

First, they offer programs and trainings which empower individuals who are involved in or affected by conflict and violence, having identified the clear linkage between individuals and the roles they play in animating effective and positive institutions, sectors, and societies.

Second, they promote universal human values such as non-violence, dignity, equity, justice and well-being, which produce a positive impact on the way individuals, relationships and communities interact at every level of society. Focusing on the individual as the basis for social and political transformation is how we turn personal transformation into peacebuilding impact.

IAHV believes that sustainable peace requires a combined focus on systems and structures and on personal and social transformation in an integrated approach. With its ancient roots and practical approach, IAHV brings a unique added value to peacebuilding, upholding simultaneously the complexity of global realities and the simplicity of universally shared human values.

They address the missing dimension of international peacebuilding today by effectively transforming people’s minds, hearts, attitudes and behaviors to enable them to shun violence and contribute to peace. Their programs to calm down the minds, soften the hearts, create a sense of belongingness, inspire ownership and commitment, and foster the blossoming of shared human values in all sectors of life, work on fundamental and deep layers of peacebuilding.

We are pleased to welcome Katrien Hertog from IAHV to Global Youth Rising, where she will deliver workshops on inner peace, empowerment and leadership, as well as addressing issues of extremism and non-violent communication.

Peace In Peace Out. Peace Revolution :)

We are proud to present the on this Friday’s spotlight another PATRIR partner who will join us the Global Youth Rising Peace Summit: Peace Revolution.

Established in 2008, Peace Revolution is a global project that strives to bring peace to the world through supporting individuals to find peace within: Peace In, Peace Out. The core principle of the program is that when individuals first experience inner peace (Peace In), sustainable world peace can happen (Peace Out). Peace Revolution has an online social platform that aims to address that imbalance by providing an opportunity for young people from around the world to learn and share positive messages and activities relating to peace. The project also aims to empower young people via a unique process related to youth development to make informed and moral choices about how they live their lives and actively participate in society.

Peace Revolution strives to bring peace to the world by supporting individuals to find inner peace and sharing that peace with their families, friends and communities, hence the slogan PIPO or Peace In, Peace Out . So, in order to change the world, we need to start by changing ourselves. The unique approach that distinguishes Peace Revolution from other peace initiatives is the inclusion of three components that support personal development of their members, aka Peace Rebels. They cultivate inner peace time through meditation, participating in an online self-development program, joining a face-to-face inner peace training in different parts of the world, joining or organizing special online inner peace activities – “special ops” – and spreading the concept of Peace In, Peace Out by organizing PIPO activities.

The program therefore aims for youth’s “personal and moral” development. Participants of the program denoted as Peace Rebels will be inspired and trained to create a transformation for themselves and then the society they belong to. The Peace Revolution’s Youth Development Process is centered on the following key terms: inner peace education, self-development program, Special Ops and fellowship program.

  1. The inner peace education allows Peace Rebels to attain peace at both the individual and community levels starts with self development.

  2. The online self-development program includes three sections: inner peace education previously mentioned, self-discipline and daily entry. Peace Rebels are asked to maintain the acts of self-discipline during the 42-day program. The daily entry has set of questions to encourage peace rebels to look more closely at themselves and their relationships with others. Each Peace Rebel is allocated a group of Peace Coaches who follows the rebel’s progress and provides encouragement and support.

  3. Peace Rebels are encouraged and to share inner peace with their families, friends and community through various offline activities “Special Ops” so they learn how to combine Peace In with other Peace Out activities for their society.

  4. Peace Rebels who have completed the online program are invited to join offline fellowship to attend one of the meditation retreats in Thailand. After joining the fellowship, they will become agents of peace or “Peace Agents” who devote themselves for the causes of peace in their society and the world.

We are pleased to announce that Manuela Puscas from Peace Revolution will be joining us as a trainer at Global Youth Rising and will be delivering workshops on how to make peace with your inner conflicts, the role of individual peace, nonviolent communication, and stress management and mindfulness in the context of peacebuilding. So, who wants to be a Peace Rebel? APPLY TODAY to join us at Global Youth Rising!

Friday Spotlight: PAX/The Activist Hive

Today we are focusing on our of Global Youth Rising’s key partners – PAX and the Activist Hive.

PAX means peace
. For over 60 years PAX has worked together with people in (post) conflict areas and concerned citizens to build just and peaceful societies across the globe.

In times of war and conflict, PAX works towards protection of civilians whatever their political or religious background. They are committed to bringing armed conflict to an end and to building peace with justice. PAX campaigns for the rights of people who are harmed by governments or companies looking to exploit natural resources in the areas where they live. They also work at the international level to prevent conflict and to curb the manufacture, trade and use of weapons that cause unacceptable humanitarian harm. The guiding principles in this are solidarity and human dignity because we believe that everyone has the right to live free from fear.

Peace belongs to everyone. Everyone who believes in peace can contribute. PAX sets peace in motion. They call on committed citizens to take part, by posting a simple request on Facebook, by starting up a Peace Embassy, or by thinking up a new initiative to engage concerned citizen.

PAX is a partnership between IKV (Interchurch Peace Council) and Pax Christi. In 2006, the two organisations merged under the name IKV Pax Christi. As of 29 January 2014, the new name of the organisation is PAX. The IKV Board and the Pax Christi Members Council watch over the mission and identity of PAX. They contribute to the development of the vision and oversee the main policy lines.

PAX works under the assignment of Pax Christi (Netherlands) and IKV on peace programmes as one organisation with one Supervisory Board and one Board of Directors. The organisation operates independently of political interests and is supported by a wide group of involved citizens, social organisations and churches, including the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN).

The Activist Hive is a project supporting an online and offline community of peaceful activists, aiming to inspire, empower and connect activists in Europe, Eurasia, Middle East and Africa in order to boost a cross-regional movement to counter both repression and violent extremism and to reclaim & protect space for nonviolent activism for peaceful change and transition. Within the Activist Hive, non-traditional activists co-create innovative approaches and tools in the Activist Lab, share experiences and learn from activist masters in the Activist Academy, and design concrete Actions. The Activist Hive is supported by an online platform and the active (social) media strategy of the Activist TV. The Activist Hive is the real life manifestation of the Peace Activism 2.0 concept.

Within the Activist Hive the roles have been divided as follows:

Guido develops the longer-term strategies for The Activist Hive (and Peace Activism 2.0 in general), and pushes for the further development of the different elements of the Activist Hive. In dividing the world, he chose Eastern Europe (South Caucasus, Russian Federation, Ukraine) as his focal area. Before working on The Activist Hive, he was the focal point for the conflict over Nagorno Karabakh at PAX.

Pim facilitates the Activist Labs. He is also the mastermind behind the Activist TV and makes most of the videos. At PAX he is the focal person for Lebanon, which is a very good combination with the Activist Hive work he does: a first and successful Activist Lab was organised in Beirut on Public Space.

Evert-Jan is the senior activist, working with Arab activists long before the Arab Spring. He currently leads the Adopt a Revolution campaign, a crowdfunding campaign to support small-scale projects by Syrian peace activists, and a new, large programme to support through the local activist group Kesh Malek seven multi-ethnic primary schools in Aleppo, Syria. 

Lisa is the facilitator of the Peace of Minds Academy, a kind of Activist Academy for Dutch students, but much more intense and longer in duration (3-6 months).

Peace. Are you in?

PAX/The Activist Hive will be sending several trainers and partners to Global Youth Rising. APPLY TODAY and you can work with Guido and Pim on a number of exciting topics, such as Activist TV (where you can analyse inspiring videos and see how we can use video for our own work as activists), countering violet extremism, and working together to create a global peace movement. 

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Organisational spotlight: PATRIR The Peace Action, Training and Research Institute of Romania

patrirPATRIR is one of the core organisers of the Global Youth Rising forum, one of Romania’s most active and dynamic organisations and a leading contributor to peacebuilding in the world.

As Kai F. Brand Jacobsen, the founder of the Institute, said: “PATRIR was begun with three volunteers and two and a half broken computers. Over the years it has come to be seen as one of the leading organisations contributing to peacebuilding in the world – from broad programmes of partnership and cooperation with a wide range of organisations, our extensive work in training and professional development / capacity building for practitioners, governments, experts, and citizens on the ground working to stop wars, end violence or deal with conflicts in their communities, to a wide-range of international peace operations and support programmes. At ‘home’ in Cluj-Kolozsvar and more broadly in Romania, the Institute is actively involved in working to promote peace education in schools, strengthen government and civil society capacities for peacebuilding, address and overcome hate speech, and much, much more.”

PATRIR was founded in 2001 as a non-governmental, non-profit, politically independent organization in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. The institute has as basic principles non-violence, conflict transformation, the promotion of human rights through information and awareness raising by solutions oriented, social, political and economic analysis. PATRIR was created as a result of numerous dialogues with representatives from various social sectors, as a response to the need of change within the local communities. In its strive to support the local communities in their development and meeting everyday challenges, the Institute lays its activity on to the following pillars: action, training, research, advocacy and awareness raising. It joins together diagnosis, necessary to identify problems and challenges with prognosis and therapy, disseminating information and making sure that the promoted message reaches across communities. PATRIR is the joint effort of hard working people believing in its values. These people coordinate, work or volunteer for the existing departments and programmes or in the administrative division of the Institute.

Through patience, dedication, hard work, and a commitment to professionalism and passion, the Institute is working to enable both immediate results and long-term contributions to building an architecture, culture, and practice of peacebuilding. It is working with practitioners, policy makers and the public to deepen our knowledge, skills and understanding, and to make visible an important choice. The choice of whether we continue policies and practices which escalate violence, insecurity and instability for billions of people world-wide, or whether we find alternatives, and commit our social, economic, political, scientific, cultural and human resources and capacities to transforming conflicts by peaceful, determined means. The choice of overcoming all forms of structural, cultural and direct violence is up to us; every single one of us.

PATRIR consists of 3 departments implementing the organisational vision and mission nationally and internationally.

The Department of Peace Operations (DPO) works upon request from conflict parties and local, national and international organisations and agencies to support violence prevention, peacebuilding, mediation and post-war recovery. The mission of the DPO is to strengthen capacities and infrastructures for peace operations, to gather best-practices and lessons-learnt, to improve the quality and effectiveness of peacebuilding programmes in conflict affected countries and support on-going mediation and peace processes. DPO experts include practitioners, analysts, diplomats and current and former military.

The International Peace and Development Training Center (IPDTC) was established in 2003 as one of the main centers of PATRIR. The role assigned to it is to pioneer and develop training & capacity building programmes for those working in conflict affected, war and post-war environments. IPDTC works towards the vision of improved quality, impact and effectiveness of peacebuilding, conflict transformation, violence prevention and post-war recovery , where individuals, communities and organisations are empowered with skills, tools, knowledge and commitment to address conflicts constructively through peaceful and effective means. Thus, IPDTC holds the mission to provide high-quality practical skills and knowledge-based training programmes for conflict party leadership, government and decision makers, practitioners and those working with conflicts in the field.

The Department for Peace Education and Development (DEPD) was formed in 2010 from the initial Youth Peacebuilding Center. The mission of DEPD is to work for a world in which people share the belief that their attitudes and behaviours are decisive in resolving conflicts and waging peace, a world in which they can and do act upon that belief. The major programme lines of DEPD are (i) participatory democracy and civic engagement, (ii) development education and awareness raising and (iii) promotion of multiculturalism and combatting discrimination.

We welcome you to Cluj-Napoca to join us in the Global Youth Rising gathering to build peace and meet our wonderful trainers, Andra Tanase, Kai F. Brand-Jacobsen and Sabin Muresan.