The participants were very mixed, representing different countries, cultures and religions, which made the whole training and meeting very enriching. The training lasted the whole day at the UPF office. There were presentations abut the universal principles and the attendees were free to comment or share about their viewpoints. Throughout the presentations, passages from different religions and philosophies were shown, expressing similar values. Solutions to conflicts in the world, as in families were suggested. At the end of the Training program, a video of UPF and the five principles of Ambassadors for Peace were shown.
The Ambassadors for Peace Meeting was then held in the evening on the topic “Which contributions can bring sustainable effects on countries in crisis?” Chantal introduced the presentation, sharing about her experience living in Japan with her family and then going to Bolivia for one year as a missionary. Missing her family so much, she could feel the suffering of God, being far from his children, but on the same time, she could also feel a great happiness, feeling God’s love for his children. Back to Japan, Chantal felt that the year of missionary was a little change she could bring to Bolivia but a big change in her life. When we sacrifice for people without waiting anything back in return, it is a great blessing. After many years, Chantal went back to Bolivia with one of her daughters. The people in Bolivia told her that her stay there was actually a big contribution to many people there and many were touched by what she did during her mission.
Then, the participants shared about their thoughts. A new Ambassador for Peace from Kashmir told his story, being born in a different country, having lived in different continents, including half of his life in Europe. In Pakistan, people, especially youth, are begging in the streets and people are not happy. We have to think from the basics to know how to change society. But we can start from ourselves, from our communities. Parents have to teach their children for example to clean the streets. That’s what he wants to do with his family. Switzerland is well organized, also the churches. In Pakistan, there are mosques in almost every street. As a Muslim, we’re not allowed to kill anybody. The terrorists, whatever religion they pretend to represent, don’t have any religion! There are many stereotypes in the society that create war. We have to hope that we can fight against that. It is also important that each person has the right to choose his/her religion.
An Ambassador for peace also shared that education is an important means to avoid war. But first, it has to start in the family. Second, education must be connected to the spirituality. Human values or virtues have to be learnt at home, for example, not to hurt other human beings or animals. We also have to learn to be humble. Those values are the basis of religions. For 60 years, Europe has been living in Peace. What changed was the democracy. The people can change the laws in a democracy but not in a dictatorship.
A new participant originally from Togo first shared a proverb: “The one who planted one tree before dying lived in a useful way.” He then said that basic education, health and agriculture are the important keys we have to transmit. We have to be careful of what we can transmit. He also shared that in his family, they were 9 children. 5 of them joined different religious community. In this kind of situation, it can quickly become chaotic when each person wants to affirm his/her religious beliefs. As the older brother, he told his siblings that they have to leave their religious beliefs outside of the house before entering it.
A young participant, originally from Gabon and studying to become a forest engineer in Biel, attended the training and meeting also for the first time. He said that in his county, he created an association to help people in need. It’s a shock to see somebody in need for the first time. There are people dying of hunger even though the country has enough food for all. Religion is often blinding the people. They think that they will be saved by God and don’t do anything. The best contribution for a country is education and people have to be willing to help. Also the conscience has to be developed and be connected to divine principles. When he goes back to Gabon, he wants to launch the industry of wood to satisfy people’s needs. He also wants to let people know that equatorial wood is a contribution from Gabon to the world and manage the woods in a sustainable way, by taking care of the lungs of the world.
Another participant from Gabon, studying as well in wood, said that it is also the parents that have to be educated for their children. Family is not promoted enough nowadays. Parents are influenced to work more and more and they spend less and less time with their children. Television becomes the educator for the children. Living in Switzerland, she realized that Swiss people are patriotic. This kind of love for one’s country/nation has to be developed in her country, like here. If people love their nation, maybe there will be fewer wars within the country.
Chantal added that children have to learn about the values but more important, they have to learn them with the heart, question them, refute them and understand them, so that it’s not indoctrination. Also, the time that the parents spend with their children is important but more in quality than in quantity.
Nicolas Komagata said that transportation is important. In Switzerland, we can easily travel with public transport and the roads are well built. It is easy to visit friends for example, which can move people’s hearts.
A Syrian refugee shared that the situation in his country is terrible, many things and cities destroyed, many people have been killed and there are many refugees. The new generation is losing their love for the nation and their identity. He, of course, hopes to be able to go back to Syria and live there again.
An Ambassador for Peace from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) explained the situation of his country. Under the colonization of Belgium and after it became independent, DRC had less robbers, less problems and the country was pretty calm. But some years later, Congolese people took the lead of the country and everything fell down in crisis. Police became thieves, starving children started to steal, roads became impracticable because nobody was caring about their maintenance, people were dying of hunger, etc. It became corrupted! Moreover, the problem is that everybody in DRC is getting a doctorate or license and there are no more people learning the basic work, for example building roads or producing food. People are praying the whole day instead of going to work, thinking that God will bless them. People have to go back to the reality, to be reasonable. There needs to be a harmony between religion and science. Human responsibility has to be taught as well.
At the end of the interactive and interesting talk, 6 new Ambassador for Peace certificates were handed out to Mokpokpo Adzo Olivia, Mokpokpo Mawuli Alphonse, Mba Nyangone Arcene Primaël, Ozoumet Tiffana, Khan Shahid and Yousef Zinar.
Written by Noëmie Komagata-Nguyen