Advocacy, Awareness & Educational Activities for the Minorities Community & Cultural Tour for Foreign Youth, Jan-Apr, 2017

 

GPF India organized service and awareness program for the homeless people living at Rain Basera of Safdarjung in which told them about the proper hand washing technique and aware them about the dengue and malaria, how to prevent the deadliest disease and its precaution. Distributed soaps to them.

 

 

Project Activity Report Final GPF-India

 

 

 

Advocacy, Awareness, Education Program on Identity Based Conflict, Gender Equality & Volunteerism and Service, Sep-Dec16

GPF India coordination with Bal Sahyog organized “Play for Peace: Peace awareness and education” program at Karol Bagh, A District of Delhi on 16th September, 2016. There were 30 children from marginalized family and their parents were daily labor. The program was highlighted the important of peace, the cause of violence.  The program was conducted with Presentation, interaction and fun activities. During the program the youth who have become volunteers to educate children were recognized.

Pooja and Surbhi participants of the program were reflected:

It was learning through fun and to know peace and violence cause by ourselves, happy to know that small our own efforts we can make peace in our community.

The volunteers of GPF-India were happy to learn and interact with those youth and children, about their creativity and culture.

 

Project Activity Report GPF-India

The Inside Story by Shivali H K

All the characters, places, incidents in this narrative are factual. Resemblance to a person living/dead/to any incident/place is purely incidental.

Episode 1

Once upon a time in Bangalore, in the year 2009 as I sat in my study room feeling  emotionally numb my younger brother withhis eyes fixed on the computer screen typed  karresults.nic.in

Sadness had befallen me as the most dreaded PUC examination results 2009!was just a click away. 6 digits and pop my name was out in bold

Name: Shivali Hemanth Kumar

Subjects: Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Computer Science

Result: 1st class

IQ: NIL! In a generation when a 95% is considered a mediocrity what would be of me! A shameful 1stclass held no future prospects not the least in the highly regarded engineeringnor medical field. I was arranged married to law which eventually turned out to be a good match for me.

Episode 2

At present,February 2015,Delhi

After an eventful 5 day trip to Oslo, I sat in the office of Global Peace Foundation (the organization through which I am going on a youth exchange to Nepal) I was shown that my name Shivali H K on Google gave the below

fk shivali

This reminded me of the vow I had made to myself on the day of my disastrous twelfthresults of having my name on Wikipedia someday. At the least I was being exchanged to another country for a noble cause and these small pleasures of typing in your name on Google to see you being recognized by the search engine is what I term as happiness.

‘I want to be  something in life’ the line I often said as a young girl I realize today  is much needed to be at peace with oneself .A humanin order  to be happy and contended has to positively contribute to the upliftment of the society.

Episode 3                                                                                         

My decision to travel up north to Haryana to pursue a Masters in International Relations at Jindal School of International Affairs to being selected and tagged as a Youth for Peace was a blessingwhich has givenme andmy career a fresh lease of life.As part of the exchange it was necessary for me to travel to Nepal for a training session in December, 2014.

I have herewith attached pages from my diary which I had written after having come back from Nepal

My thoughts

  • Shivali H K

First and foremost I wish to take this opportunity to convey my deep sense of gratitude to the President of Global Peace Foundation (GPF) India, the programme coordinator, my University (Jindal School of International Affairs) and last but not the least the Almighty for having proffered me with this opportunity. The belief that “When you want something the whole universe conspires in helping you to achieve it” has been ascertained in my case.

The name Global Peace Foundation triggers in my mind its motto ‘One family under god’ and this is what drew me to the organization .From my first visit , to the GPF India office for the interview process till date I  hold valuable experiences which is  personally worth penning down.

I left for Nepal on 10 November to be received by a group of warm and enthusiastic youth from Nepal who welcomed me with a khadda (shawl) considered to be a good luck charm. This was my first brush with life in a foreign land and that sense of being recognized as an individual away from the merged   identity of my parents was frightening. I truly felt like a responsible adult that day and was reminisced of the fourth principle of GPF i.e. People develop their innate potential through their choices and actions. Freedom and responsibility are intrinsically linked. This freedom as well as responsibility I was thrust with has laid out a path to build my own sense of identity and destiny which had been ignited that very day.

On the very first day I was taken to Dhulikel – a tourist’s paradise with its panoramic view of the spectacular snow fed mountains considered to be the finest in the world, where I was required to station for a period of 4 days.

My learnings and understanding of this training session is multitude. The shared accommodation with a complete stranger who was a Nepali participant helped me become more accommodative and tolerant. I realized how a few days of togetherness could lead to lifetime of memories and long-lasting bonds of friendship traversing geographical and socially constructed boundaries.

The session by the president of GPF India and GPYC Nepal about the organization was highly informative and very insightful about the organizations activities.

‘Youth exchange-facts and discovery’ by Ms.Ganga Ban who has been an exchange student and an awardee by the US President Mr.Obama was highly inspirational. Her personal narratives of the struggles and horrific experiences which she underwent during the exchange programme in the US was heartwarming and motivating. I learnt and understood the significance of volunteerism and overcoming struggles to turn them into ones strengths from the persona she carried.

Good governance by Retd Gen.Ratindra Khatri Ksetri was a session which made me analyze and realize the pillars of good governance. I understood the intricacies involved in building a robust and good government varied with the nature of each country. He highlighted the 3 pillars of good governance to be accountability, responsibility and rule of law. Later a brainstorming session and presentation on good governance helped me get a better grasp of the topic and its practicality.

The paper presentation on the significance of peace advocator for peace building had a deep and profound effect on me as it laid the foundation for my journey as a peace advocate which I believe I am destined to be and shall carry forth till my last breath. During the presentation and as I faced questions from the audience, my understanding of the topic became coherent and connected.

The role of youth in peace building by Dr.Kishor Kumar Raj Bhandari was aimed at building leadership skills and a holistic approach to be an able peace advocate. I understood the true spirit of being a leader, the difference between general people and a leader and a few important facts about humanity like  1.human activities influence the whole universal  2.The fortune and blessings I hold to be the chosen one out of the 7.5 trillion sperms which proceed  to be being born as me.

I understood the difficulties I should overcome to be able to be a good leader. The principles of knowledge, maturity, priority and freedom was well explained.

The seminar on ‘Interfaith, family and service’ by the President of GPF India Mr.Dhruba Lamichhane is a topic very close to my heart as I can relate to all of the above three pillars of the organisation and wish to adapt and pursue in my future. The above three pillars are the building block and the basis for a healthy society and world.

The seminar on life abroad laid out the challenges I would face during the posting period and mentally prepared me for the struggles and realities of surviving in a foreign land. The various barriers in terms of language, food habits, technology and culture was explained as well the four phases I would undergo during my posting period abroad were told to be the Honeymoon phase wherein a person would try to understand the differences between home and host country, the others being Frustration phase, Adjustment phase and finally the Mastery phase.

‘Celebrating youth hood’ was a seminar through which I realized the significance and potentiality this stage of youth hood carries with It and also what it means when we are told youth hood must be celebrated. This stage of 18-25 years of age is a very promising one as one can dream about doing anything and can strive towards it with no hinderances.There are no barriers in terms of any personal or professional commitments. A stage with no baggage’s but plainly living life for betterment and development of oneself and setting the stage for a life ahead to be able to shoulder the multiple commitments.

My experiences can’t be explained in words. When we were asked to reflect on our experiences of the past 10 days, all I wanted to say was I am speechless. The experience was life defining and surreal. The snow peaked Himalayan ranges standing majestically which I could fortunately view from the window of my plane seat to the freezing cold I experienced while sipping the piping hot black tea to the marvelous temples including the much acclaimed Pashupathi Nath temple I visited, are all etched on my memory forever. During the cultural night all of us danced and sang along in tandem thus creating a synthesis of both Nepal and Indian cultures while sitting around a campfire.

Holding all this experiences is not a light thing to carry as with prestige of being called a peace advocate comes huge responsibility. Shouldering these experiences, learnings and expectations I have a huge onus which starts with accepting my weakness and overcoming them. I have learnt a lot from every individual I have come across during the 10 day tenure and wish to adopt all the learnings to my daily existence and define the new me.My area of interest is human rights, that being said I intend to pursue a career in an International NGO advocating for gender rights and also peace through the medium of writing and research. I wish to stand by to the values I have been raised with yet be open minded to accept other viewpoints and not be judgmental to what I conceive as incorrect. Lastly I shall continue to dream and dream big and try to realize a few which I can in this lifetime.

Thank you.

 

Episode 4

 shivali blog

The Indian saying “Bhagwan jab deta hai to chappar phaad ke deta hai” translated in English, When God gives you he decides to rip off the roof and bless you with everything” turned true.  After Nepal now it was a 5 day trip to Oslo, Norway!!! for freeee!

On a serious note , this  fully funded trip was part of the youth exchange which aimed at bringing together all the exchange participants from around the world(Africa, Latin America,Norway,Asia) scheduled to go on  their posting period .This was  to understand the significance of  exchange and provide a platform for International networking.

Norway is undoubtedly an amazing country. It seemed like I was in different world, a made up one which was simply perfect. I was stunned to see that at 4 pmin the evening it turned dark. Norwegians on the street remained unperturbed with all the snowing and drizzling as they progressed alongdoing their routine tasks.

The organisers (Fredskorpset team) greeted us at the airport warmly. The next day a team member courteously showed us around the opera house,Fjord,Nobelpeace centre, malls,Royalpalace, and the Parliament which are all located at a walkable distance from each other.

The conference was held at a distance in a hotel named Sormarka located at a distance of 20 minutes away from the city centre.It feltlike the sightly hotel was a makeshift built solely for the conference with not many people in and around. Upon arrival we were segregated into teams and presented as goodies a bag and a shirt.

On the first day a gala dinner was arranged with everyone at the table seated together .The next three daysI was active with workshops,group activities and seminars. I did a workshop on Audio-visual communication and Capital flight and tax havens which was informative. There was a session on development issues and challenges by Dan Banik and intercultural communication by Pellegrino Riccardi.Both of which were educative and enjoyable to the brink. A cultural night and party on the 3rd day was fun filled asall of us practised together and put up a show for the night.

I put an end to mynarrative by attaching a piece of what I wrote to my hostorganisation,conveying my gratitude.

 shivali blog 1

Respected Mam/Sir,

            Thank you for giving me an opportunity which shall be cherished for a lifetime. I am aware that this opportunity is not easy to have come by and has involved lot of effort and sacrifices by many people. This mail is to thank you from the bottom of my heart to have put together this youth exchange which has been a surreal. There have been moments wherein I have felt very small and vulnerable but this has made me stronger and brought in a passion to be better and a strongerhuman. The way I view Life and people around me haschanged, I feel all grown up and responsible not only for my own life but that of mankind. I am trying to evolve and hopefully by the end of this youth exchange should have started contributing to bring about a change. Looking forward for the posting period.

Thank you

Yours sincerely

Shivali

Episode 5

As I sit in front of my laptop reminiscing all the happenings, getting my vocabulary and phrasing sentences, I feel astrange sense of excitement. All these wonderful trips has sure wiped off all the mental blocks I had and has aided me to become an able peaceadvocate.

The first step in the process of making this youth for peace exchange programme a success is by bettering myself and then choosing a path through which I can bring about a change in the community and the places I travel to.

As I gear up for the posting period all I can thinkof to end thisreport is with these quotes

Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.

shivali blog 2

Reflections on being a Peace Advocate (Esha Saha)

Esha

Preparatory Seminar- Nepal

I was the last one to join this group. Maybe it was fate, divine providence or destiny that brought me to Nepal. After jumping through quite a few hoops, I reached this beautiful land and was mesmerized by its tremendous biodiversity, variety of exotic locales and eerily similar yet distinct culture. The country is blessed by nature in every respect; it has gorgeous flora, fauna, lakes and mountains. For a country that continues to face serious developmental and governmental challenges, I am amazed to see the resilience of Nepali citizens and their commitment towards peace. After wading through a long period of conflict, Nepal continues to face several challenges in its path to achieving democracy yet the proud citizens of the country remain optimistic and refuse to succumb to chaos. The realization that national interests prevail over individual or communal interests reveals the maturity of Nepali citizens.

Many notable presentations were made during the course of this preparatory seminar. The one by David Shakya was quite captivating. The aim of his presentation was to make us realize the importance of having goals in life. The fulcrum of his argument was that one should not be an aimless wanderer in life and that it is important to have goals whether tangible or intangible, materialistic or unmaterialistic. The point that one should not fret over how long it takes to achieve his or her goals rather pursue them relentlessly has struck a chord with me. We live in a world of instant gratification; long gestation periods and fear of failure makes us give up things we cherish, way too easily.

Shakya’s presentation was followed by Lydia’s talk on ‘Character and Personality Development’ wherein she explained the all important concept of self-actualization. She outlined the importance of developing personal potentials. Life as we know it is about continuous search for personal fulfillment. One must strive to live life creatively by utilizing his or her full potential. This indeed was a beautiful talk on self-independence and being expressive about your feelings.

The day after Lydia’s talk, Kripa and Sahaj performed a play based on the theme of ‘Domestic violence and gender-based violence’. Coming from a country that has been witnessing sharp increase in violence against women, it was reassuring to see the commitment of the Nepalese civil society to end violence against women. At the end of the play, we pledged our support to end gender based violence. It also made me realize that performing arts are by far the most effective and creative way of spreading social awareness.

However, it was our visit to Maiti Nepal that I will cherish the most. Maiti Nepal is a non-governmental organization that works for all around development of the victims of human trafficking. It is a multi functional organization that provides for rescue and rehabilitation of trafficked women and children. What is striking about this organization is that apart from providing medical and legal aid, it also provides for skill and human development which not only helps trafficked victims to become self-independent but also integrate better into the society. This organization was set up under the visionary leadership of Ms. Anuradha Koirala, recipient of 2011 CNN Hero award. Her work inspires us all to show compassion towards human suffering and contribute in our own little way to make this society a better place.

 In the final stretch of the preparatory seminar, we outlined the plan for our three months posting period on Nepal. Our project proposal is based on the broad themes of Education, Awareness and Service. Given that, the three issue areas that we have chosen to work on are Anti-Human Trafficking, Anti-Corruption and Peace & Conflict Resolution in post-conflict Nepal.

Besides all the educational trips and presentations, we also got the opportunity to explore Kathmandu a little bit. We visited places like Thommel, Patan Durbar Square at Lalitpur to Pashupatinath Temple. We were also introduced to sumptuous Newari food. All in all, it was an amazing visit which not only helped us warm up to Nepal but also make friends across borders.

Youth Camp- Oslo, Norway

As we set our foot in Oslo, I couldn’t help but question about my chances of survival in a land characterized by such harsh weather conditions. However, our trip to Norway was so fulfilling that never once we complained about the chill. All we could care about was the brilliant sunlight that reflected from parts of snow covered landscape. Norway is a land of exquisite beauty, flanked by medieval and modern architecture it blends into modernity without comprising its traditions and culture.

At the airport, we were received by beautiful FK representative Marianne. From there, we took the metro train to reach Oslo which was about 20-25 minutes away from the airport. We stayed the first night at Pee Hotel, Oslo and later in the evening, our gracious hosts Kasper and Marriane took us out for dinner. We visited an Indian restaurant where we ate Biryani and discussed religion and politics of the two countries. Next Day, we were united with our Nepalese friends and were introduced to two other participants from Kenya. Together, we were shown around the beautiful city of Oslo by another FK representative called Joe who took us to the City Hall Museum, Opera House, Parliament, City Palace, and the Oslo fjord.

Our conference was organized at Hotel Sormaka which was around 40- 45 minutes away from the main city of Oslo. So the next evening, we boarded the bus that consisted of participants from other countries and reached the venue late evening. Upon reaching the Hotel, we were given our rooms and were asked to report at the Dinner hall by 8.30 in the evening. While we were served dinner, we interacted with participants from other countries such as Africa, Norway and Brazil. Post dinner, we were divided into three groups represented by the colors Blue, Red and Yellow. I was part of the yellow team and was made to participate in various group activities that helped me know my other team member personally.

The next day, we were given a brief presentation on FK’s goals and objectives. The presentation also outlined our roles as volunteers in other countries. Later, we were given another presentation on ‘How to communicate effectively’. In the afternoon, I chose to participate in the Audio Visual Communication seminar which helped me learn the little known techniques of shooting a documentary. My group shot a 5 minute short film which was very well received by the instructor.

The next day, we were given a presentation by Prof Dan Banik on ‘Development Challenges facing the Global South’. Prof Banik introduced us to scholarly debates on the issue of income inequality and helped us understand the development challenges facing the Global south from variety of perspectives. He also discussed the positive impact of governmental actions in certain countries of Global South.

After the presentation, I decided to participate in a seminar called ‘Capital Flight and Tax Havens’. This was a hard hitting presentation which constructively criticized the existence of Tax havens and dismantling of tax havens can increase our tax collection which can be used to improve the lives of the common people living in all countries. We also participated in a group activity in which we were asked to think like a tax evader and create a model tax evasion structure. Saurabh’s group and mine tied for the best model title. This was followed by cultural night event. My group performed on an Indian number which was choreographed by me. The event was fun and we danced till late in the night. The event helped us to shed our inhibitions and interact more freely with the other participants.

The next day, Mr. Pellegrino gave an excellent seminar on ‘Intercultural Communication’. It helped us to appreciate the subtle differences in various cultures and just because one’s culture is different than the others, it does not necessarily make them antagonistic or adversaries. As we came to the end of our visit in Norway, we decided to see each other off by clicking pictures, exchanging numbers and adding each other on Facebook. The time spent at Norway is an experience of lifetime. Learning about a new place, meeting new people, learning about new cultures and eating new cuisines gave a new meaning to this mundane life.

On the last day of our visit, we visited the Nobel Peace Museum and the Royal Palace with Marianne and Kasper. This short visit helped us a lot to learn about last year’s Nobel Prize winners. As we prepared to leave for India, my heart was full of joy and glory. I was actually looking forward to sharing my wonderful experience at Norway with my beloved friends and family. However, I must thank FK, GPF and GPYC for giving me this fantastic opportunity. I am really looking forward to our three month exchange at Nepal and  would sincerely work towards achieving the goals of our organization.

Reflections on being a Peace Advocate (Saurabh Kaushik)

Saurabh

Preparatory Seminar- Nepal

As we set foot on the New Delhi airport, I had an unreal feeling of accomplishment, innocent pride and untold joy. I was probably beginning a new journey through the trials and tribulation that life would certainly have in store for me assuming as big a responsibility as that of representing the whole nation of India for this Youth Exchange Program. The journey was relatively short and tireless and the breathtaking view of the Himalayas as we entered Nepali airspace mesmerized each of our senses. The azure skyline sprinkled with foam-shaped clouds floating beneath us and the imposing brightness of the sun shedding its sparkle on bare bodies of snow-capped peaks was as delightful a sight that one could hope to be treated with.

After reaching the Kathmandu airport, which to be honest breathes a quaint familiar air of calm poise that one feels on a trip to the countryside, we were greeted by the participants from GPYC-Nepal and our Program Coordinator Sunika with warmth and grace. The hospitality showered on us on this first meeting was just a harbinger of things to come by. Although the journey to the resort that we were staying in was halted frequently by abrupt cavalcades of security checkpoints and traffic lights due to the imminent SAARC Summit which was to be held in Kathmandu, we nevertheless enjoyed gazing at the peculiar and the familiar about the country that we had landed in. The cops wore an assured look, like that of a batsman in complete control of his innings, and they had dressed up in neat attires hardly resembling the ones our cops wear. I had thought they must be the Army but to my surprise, the camouflage rig reserved for the Army here in India, was no alien to the internal security keepers in Nepal. They exuded confidence in us of our safety and well being, bemusedly unaware of the fact that our well-being was being cared for by a remarkable team of GPYC at Dhulikhel-the place where the resort we stayed in was.

During the journey, we saw the largest bronze statue of Shiva in the world at Sanga, which was on the way to Dhulikhel. Dhulikhel was nestled in green bustling hills just outside of the Kathmandu valley. The air was remarkably pleasant and comforting. Surrounded by hills terraced across by paddy fields and flowering trees, with a view of the Himalayas basking in the glory of the evening Sun, waning in size and intensity, as it got consumed below the horizon, I had felt the feeling one gets when you’re like: “This must be the stuff of my dreams!” We had a hearty meal as we reached the resort, settled in our rooms, introduced each other, broke the ice and had an introductory session in the evening which was led by Sunika and Alisha. We made name boards for each other, exchanged our feelings for each other as to how we perceived the other, and spoke about how we felt and what we expected from the rest of our stay during the Preparatory Seminar in Nepal. While at dinner, following this first session, we had a bonfire in the restaurant. Accompanying the bonfire after we were done with the dinner was a formal gift-exchange ceremony in which we got to exchange the gifts that we carried from home with each other. I was extremely pleased by what I got- a traditional Nepali Dhaka topi- something I’m going to treasure for the rest of my life.

Another day, another challenge lay ahead. It was now the official beginning of our preparatory seminar. We were presented seminars about GPF and GPYC and got to hear the experiences of Arpana being a part of the GPYC family. Later on during the day, we had fun and interesting activities to take part in. As all these were group games and activities, it was thrilling to be a part of them. One of the activities required us to dress one member of each group into a mummy using waste newspapers. Another one named ‘Best out of Waste’ required us to make a piece of art or something creative using garbage and organic waste. My group managed to make a lookalike (albeit in a limited sense) Taj Mahal while the other group made something called ‘Dreamland’. There we other fascinating activities that we took part in throughput the course of the seminar. One involved us to pick any object from nature that represented us and defined our personality. This was engaging indeed and quite a novel idea. These activities made us bond with each other better and also managed to remove any sort of monotony that might have set in by attending many presentation and seminar session throughout the course of our ten days stay in Nepal. On our fourth day, we had gone for a trek to the Buddha statue near Dhulikhel, on the way to which we undertook another group activity called ‘A to Z’ in which we had to collect items from the environment around us which signified each alphabet from A to Z in the English language. We managed all but three letters and had an interesting piece of art to show for the letter U which drew bursts of laughter from one and all sitting in the conference room. The trip to the statue granted us a peace of mind, body and soul as it was early morning and the sun was just beginning to rise. While on the way back, following the lead of Dhruba Sir (who is the head of GPF-India) all of us began collecting plastic waste and garbage from the sides of the pathway that led back to the resort. It was a fulfilling activity and I savored my breakfast that morning a lot more than usual.

Apart from all the group activities that we carried out throughout the course of the preparatory seminar, there were some notable presentations that I’m reminded of. The one on ‘Youth Exchange’ by Ms Ganga stood out for its authenticity and energy. I must say most of us were awed by the exuberance of this young lady who had conquered her worst fears staying in a land far away from her own and in the company of complete strangers. She moved us, excited us, tickled our funny bone and took us through a journey. It was truly inspiring to hear her talk. So was the presentation by Kripa Sidgel, who shared her experience of being an exchange student. Sunika gave a very enlightening talk on ‘Intercultural Communication and Cultural Shock’; her advice would stay with me for life. The talk by a retired Army General of the Nepali Army on ‘Leadership’ was thoroughly enjoyable as he shared some of his own experiences in dealing with human challenges and how to overcome them. Sir motivated us to look ahead and beyond each challenge by constantly testing ourselves and facing each difficulty with will power and determination. The talk by David Shakya on ‘Goals in our life and how to achieve them’ was quite interesting as was the one by Lydia on ‘Character and Personality Development’ wherein she outlined some virtues on a board and highlighted Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. There was a play on the day after Lydia’s talk on the theme of ‘Domestic violence and gender-based violence’ which was indeed very well played out. The performances by the actors and especially Kripa were scintillating as was the nonchalant assuredness of Ben who carried the entire session through with not a single dull moment. At the end of the play, we pledged our support to end Violence against Women and had group photographs together.

Another event of notable importance was our visit to Maiti Nepal and the meeting with CNN Hero Anuradha Koirala who is the founder of the organization. Under her able and sagacious leadership, Maiti Nepal has come a long way in the rescue, rehabilitation and integration of trafficked women and young girls in Nepal with the help of authorities, bureaucrats and policemen across both countries India and Nepal. On the last two days of the preparatory seminar, we outlined the plan for our three months posting period on Nepal which centered around three themes i.e., Education, Awareness and Service and three issue areas i.e., Anti-Human Trafficking, Anti-Corruption and Peace & Conflict Resolution in post-conflict Nepal. We also gave group presentations on the theme of Good Governance and created model republics embodying our vision of good governance. We also gave individual presentations on ‘Role of Youth in Peace Advocacy’ which were all interesting. All in all, it was a fruitful and a really enjoyable stay in Nepal where we got to experience nature at its spectacular best, got to have traditional Nepali/ Newari food, and visited several unique places from the Patan Durbar Square at Lalitpur to Pashupatinath Temple which was resplendent during the evening.

Youth Camp- Oslo, Norway

The Youth Camp organized at Sormarka Conference Hotel, around 45 minutes away from Oslo in the midst of Norwegian woods and lakes, was once-in-a-lifetime experience. Perhaps, I’ve never felt as joyous and fortunate throughout my life yet. Upon arrival, I was struck by the appealing and unfamiliar view of the horizon around the airport. It looked like a deserted place with few or no people around, sparse settlements here and there, and exotic scenery with conical deciduous trees, bluish green hills and a crystal clear navy blue sky surrounding us. The houses were big, spacious and colorful. The ever so wonderful Marianne picked us up from outside the airport. We travelled in the metro train to the City Central Station in the heart of Oslo which took us about 20-25 minutes. We were taken to the hotel that we were staying in at Oslo, given some rest to cope with the jet lag that we had experienced on the 16 hour journey and taken out for dinner later during the evening. Kasper and Marianne, the organizers of the Camp who worked for Fredskorpset, accompanied us for dinner to Indian House- an Indian restaurant round the corner from our hotel. We had a hearty meal of biryanis and curry, conversed about the Youth Camp and Preparatory Seminar, took a stroll down the Parliament Street and headed back for some rest to our hotel rooms. The next, our friends from Nepal and Kenya met us at the FK office post which we went for a city tour accompanied by Joe (who was a Zambian national working for the outreach department at FK). We saw the Opera House, City Hall Museum, Parliament, City Palace (the Royals’ House), and the Oslo fjord. By evening, we departed for Sormarka where our Camp was to be held. There, upon boarding the bus to Sormarka, we discovered, to our pleasant surprise, participants from many other countries and continents already seated in the bus. The bus ride was a journey in familiarizing ourselves to each other. After reaching the Conference Hotel at Sormarka, we took a trip to our respective rooms and gathered for dinner at the restaurant. It was a very enjoyable meal as we got a chance to interact with our African and Norwegian and Latin American friends apart from enjoying the mouth-watering taste of salmon with cream. We were divided into three groups represented by the colors Blue, Red and Yellow. After dinner, we gathered in groups according to colors, were assigned as group leader, and did a group activity together in order to get to know each other.

The next day is when the real activities began. We were given a presentation on FK, what it does, why is does what it does and what, we, as volunteers of FK are expected to do by Henrik (FK representative) first up. Later, another presentation on ‘How to communicate effectively’ was given after which we had some group activities. There were four groups that we were divided into based on the preference that we highlighted. I took Audio Visual Communication as I wanted to learn techniques of shooting a documentary and as it appealed to me the most. I thoroughly enjoyed the activity as we got an opportunity to display our own film making skills towards the end when we were divided into groups of four and five and were told to make a short film on any theme of our liking. After this activity, we had some group activities organized by our team leaders post dinner. We played some games as well in order to know each member of the group better.

On the following day, we were given a presentation by Prof Dan Banik on ‘Development Challenges facing the Global South’. Prof Banik is a Guest Speaker for FK and teaches Politics and International Development courses at The University of Oslo. This particular presentation was of acute importance to me and I found every second of it engaging and enlightening. It was intellectually stimulating, informative and really helpful in understanding the various problems and challenges that the world that we live in faces each day. Prof Banik highlighted some success stories of development around the world in third world developing countries as a result of civil society action and development aid. After the presentation, we were again divided into four groups according to the activity that we preferred to take up. I chose ‘Capital Flight and Tax Havens’ as I’m very much interested in the field of International Political Economy and how it affects everyday life of a person staying in poorer nations in the world. The impact, fallouts, consequences and methodologies of tax evasion were highlighted and a direct link to the lives of common people in all countries and especially in third world countries was established through the course of the presentation. We also did a group activity in which we were told to present a model of tax evasion using the different methods that we were taught during the seminar. Esha’s group and mine shared the spoils of best model as did we share the chocolates that were awarded to us. After the completion of activities for the day and after having our dinner, we had a cultural and social night. This probably was the best time that we had together as one large family, a human family under God. We learnt songs, dance forms and expressions of each others’ cultures. We shared joy, celebrated unity in diversity and shed the barriers of inhibition and unfamiliarity. The insular masqueraded in gregarious company shedding some of their hidden fears, the convivial danced and made merry, the in-betweens didn’t remain one anymore and stepped into the world of unconditional embrace- an embrace of cultures, of people, of languages, of traditions, and of humanity. We danced till late in the night and I went to bed with a wide grin on my face because to the unreal happiness that I felt being there and being a witness to such camaraderie and warmth that extended beyond national borders and more.

The last day of our stay at the hotel was short and sweet. We were treated to an exquisite richness of taste in humor by Mr. Pellegrino who ensured that the smiles on our faces stayed fixated for the rest of the day. He gave a seminar on ‘Intercultural Communication’ using personal anecdotes, widely held and believed stereotypes, practical instances and situations. I thoroughly enjoyed the seminar and was laughing almost uninterruptedly throughout. At the end of his seminar, we were given our participation certificates and a vote of thanks. We serenaded over the frozen lake for a while after that and had plenty of time to click some last pictures of us together. Finally, by evening it was time for us to depart. Nostalgia had set in already. It was quite awkward that a mere stay of three days with all the people who were a part of this Youth Camp had left deep impressions on each one of us and we realized that some of them are going to be in touch with us and will be our friends for the rest of our lives. It was poignant to part with them, to part with those beautiful memories that we had weaved together staying in Norway. I was never going to forget either this trip or the one to Nepal. I never will. Not in this life, not ever.

I was overwhelmed, as I’m sure were others who stayed back for another day at Oslo, by the wonderful hospitality extended to us by FK. We had a trip to the Nobel Peace Museum and the Royal Palace on the last day of our stay in Oslo with Marianne and Kasper. Those are going to be precious memories to preserve. I can’t thank FK, GPF and GPYC enough for this amazing opportunity that was provided to us. During the three month exchange at Nepal scheduled for March, we hope to learn and experience much more and participate whole-heartedly in building a more peaceful, prosperous and happy sub-continent and world.

Reflection of the International Youth Exchange Programme- Preparatory Seminar by CHETAN.D.PATIL

YOUTH FOR PEACEChetan Patil

INTERNATIONAL YOUTH EXCHANGE PROGRAMME

PREPERATORY SEMINAR

(GPYC, NEPAL)

CHETAN.D.PATIL

Reflections:

DAY 1:- WELCOMING,REGISTRATION,ACCOMODATION & INTRO

As it was my first flight and that was even international flight experience, I was never been so excited, but I was oblivious about the imminent tensions because when  I reached the airport the airline officials were not letting me board on the plane as I didn’t have my voter ID proof, I was not aware about these things as it was first flight experience so we met the higher officials but even they were reluctant to let me board on the plane so I urged them and I explained them why this trip is important for me and fortunately they got convinced and they gave me the permission and my journey started. I was so scared so I hold shivali’s hand till the plane took off. In between the journey when we were near to Kathmandu we got the first glimpse of magnanimous Himalayas, the view was ultimate I don’t have the words to describe it, it was an indelible experience. I will never ever forget that view in my life. As we landed on Tribhuvan international airport we could feel the fresh air, the weather was so pleasant. Our counterparts were waiting for us at the exit as we went there they welcomed us with traditional khada cloth, we were so pleased by their warm welcome and from there we went to dhulikhel resort which was so beautiful, even we could see the Himalayan range from there. We were divided into two, the rooms were small but were beautifully decorated, adorned with various colors. Prabin was my room partner, he was so simple, humble  and down to earth person, in just one day he became very good friend of mine. Other companions like Arpana, Arjun, Pratibha were also had a great persona. Sunika and Alisha were coordinator of the program who were so young but dynamic, overall it was a very good group we formed.

We were introduced to GPF and GPYC. We signed the code of conduct for ten day preparatory seminar, and then we filled some forms about our goals, expectations, hobbies and we also had to make nameplate of our room partner as a present to them. It was a very memorable day from morning till night.

 DAY 2:- Second day of the preparatory seminar. The presentation given by necelyn mam was truly amazing. When arpana shared her experience I could see the transformation in her after joining GPYC. Then dhruba sir gave the presentation about GPF work. The video which he showed took me in different world as if like it was telling me something that yes this is the thing ,you are here in this world for this only. Then arrived Ms Ganga ban, enchanting personality which is bestowed upon her, anyone could predict that this lady is going to create a magic in her presentation. From the very first sentence it was so touching, she gave us such beautiful insights about travel and exchange and she also explained the principle of living for the sake of others, lots of things were there to learn from her, especially her enthusiastic approach towards her life.Then there was a presentation on good governance- to provide common understanding on good governance as the theme of the project. I felt like he is among those persons to whom I wanted to meet. He has already worked for united nations for so many years, the conflict cases which we are studying in our academics this person was there on ground zero during the conflict. We had a team building activity which was really great, it was challenging. As we will work as a peace advocator after the completion of our placement in Nepal so there was a group discussion activity to facilitate brainstorming and create more idea about good governance, we had discuss about different activities under good governance and how it create positive impact to community level then we had a presentation competition in which we had to give presentation on what kind of policies we can implement if we were given a chance to establish a new state.

DAY 3:- Again a very beautiful morning, we had to present a topic on the significance of peace advocator for peace building. For this activity I had gone through internet and when I read about Mahatma Gandhi, His holiness Dalai Lama I got to know about them more deeply and it really influenced me a lot and their teachings got entrenched on my mind. Before giving a presentation I was literally shivering as it was my first time to speak in front of the people but as soon as I uttered my first sentence I felt like someone has injected me with a confidence booster. Then there was a lecture on role of youth in peace building. Then came the most interesting part of the day, the BEST OUT OF WASTE activity, for this activity we were assigned a task in which we had to go outside and collect the waste from surroundings to make something beautiful out of it. For this team building activity we were divided in two teams. As we went outside we were looking for the waste things, but we were perplexed as we didn’t have an idea what precisely we can make out of it, then mother nature as always came to help us, the answer was in front of us ‘THE BEAUTIFUL VALLEY’ the magnanimous mountains, clear blue sky so we decide to depict the valley so we started making valley and we collected materials accordingly. We made a river flowing through the mountains, beautiful Nepali style homes and fortunately we found the perfect shape materials. I learn how to divide work, how to manage activities when you are working in a team, how to motivate your teammates to achieve best results. So we finally made our best thing out of waste, we depicted ‘SAGARMATHA’ which is a Nepali word for Mt Everest. Our opponent team made a fabulous thing out of waste, hats off to their creativity, they did a fantastic job. Then there was a lecture by Dhruba sir about interfaith, family and service, the complete lecture was astonishing I didn’t even blink my eye during the lecture.

 DAY 4:- We woke up early in the morning as the most enchanting part of our stay in Kathmandu was waiting for us. We were supposed to go the famous Buddha statue. We started our trekking for the Buddha statue as it was located on high altitude and we also had one team building activity in which we had to collect materials ranging from A to Z, so we started collecting things from the beginning. After half an hour walking we got a glimpse of Buddha statueit was so huge. The view of the valley from the top was so beautiful. We prayed before the statue of Buddha and then dhruba sir asked us to express our views on what if Buddha was never been born, fortunately I have read about it in 12th std so I told the history and principles of Gautama Buddha. While getting down from that place we came across deluge of garbage in our way and suddenly dhruba sir started collecting that garbage in a plastic bag and we were just criticizing people then I understand why sir is true leader, he is a man of action, that incident taught me that actions speak louder than words, a leader should be always proactive and then we started following him, while coming back from there we collected the remaining things as a part of our game, the activity was so funny that we picked some unwanted things which we shouldn’t have picked for the sake of completion of task.

After coming back to hotel we played one more game of making the line first according to initial letter of our name and then according to the month we were born but there was one condition you cant open your mouth to arrange the line, you can only use sign language. This activity was designed to show the importance of sign language. Sunika explained the dilemmas in life abroad and how to deal with cultural shock. Then came kripa a true energetic personality, she was like spreading energy with each and every word. Then we played the game of making the line but this time they put on cloth on our eyes this was real challenge ,it was nice exercise for brain as we had to think about different techniques. Then there was a cultural night and campfire. I sang one nepali song which was a very good experience and from the outfits of my nepali friends I got to know the rich, vivacious culture and traditions of this beautiful country.

 DAY 5:- Today was the last day of our stay at dhulikhel resort. I really couldn’t prepare myself to leave that magical place, suddenly all the moments came before my eyes like a flashback and I left promising that I will come back here again in future and then we went for lunch outside. First time I talk to Necelyn mam, she reminded me of my mother it was like even if I am far away from my mother but god listen to my prayer and I met a woman who was like my mother.

So this stay at dhulikhel gave me a mother, best friends, new vision and the memories that I will cherish throughout my life. Thank you very much.

 DAY 6:- Another beautiful morning in Kathmandu. New hotel, new place, new area, new view. Today we visited our GPYC office at hattigauda. We started our day by an interesting game, there were so many participants with us which who were GPYC volunteers making that moment more enjoyable. A game in which we have to give ourselves a particular name, we were given a ball which we would throw at others by calling their name, I was so entertaining at the same time it was difficult because each time you would throw the ball you have to recollect his or her name that game was designed to test our memory capacity. Then there was a lecture by David shakya sir on importance of having a specific goal in your life, he explained us in a very simple language by giving interesting examples then I realize If you don’t have any goal in life you can easily get distract in life, with definite goals you can easily stick to your path because then you are completely aware of the path you are heading. Then Lidia from US embassy gave a speech about virtues in life that were really important, we can’t call any person successful if he lacks moral values in his character then we played so many games after that so it was an awesome day.

 DAY 7:- In the morning we got up to yet another cold morning. The first activity of today was to visit ‘MAITI NEPAL’ which is an organization that prevents, rescues and rehabilitates women and children who have been a victims of human trafficking for the purpose of either sexual or physical slavery. We were truly inspired by the kind of impact that Maiti Nepal has been able to create and particularly the struggle undertaken by organization founder Ms Anuradha Koirala. I read about her in local Marathi newspaper, she herself was a victim of physical violence then she quit her own family life and decided to work for women and children who are going through the same situation, to alleviate their sufferings she gave up her own family life, the sacrifice that only great souls like her can do. Then we were taken to in-home shelter homes for girls, women and children. I was stunned by the atmosphere there as it was full of joy, happiness despite having gone through hideous, horrific situations they were enjoying their new birth here and all the credit goes to Respected Anuradha Koirala mam and her devoted team, the kind of patronage these people are providing them and the way they are nurturing them is simply unparalleled. I could see the new hope in their eyes. MAITI NEPAL not only nurtures them but it also provides them a source of income through small scale businesses so that they become independent and they can survive on their own. Especially I like the room in which babies were kept it was so touching moment.

So it was a very fruitful day indeed. We came to know the problems faced by Nepal and we got some directions about how can we work on the issue of human trafficking.

DAY 8:- Today we had a special guest from cultural department of US embassy Mr. Ben Atherton, who was a multitalented person an actor, director, puppet show presenter. There was a script play based on violence against women, it was originally an English play but they decided to play in Nepali language. I was just looking and trying to understand when they were rehearsing, it seemed very interesting their dialogue delivery, expressions were really awesome so I decided to join them even if it was a nepali script. Initially I was not part of it but later they took me for the role of brother of girl who was tortured. Even if I had only one dialogue but I was so excited, so I mugged up my dialogue. While mugging up many guys encouraged me saying that you are doing great job, somehow I delivered my dialogue and I felt very great being part of that script. I learn so many things from that script like respecting the women, treating them equally. Even women have priorities, men think that they should dominate and always keep woman in his control but this shouldn’t be the case.

Faith Leaders Agree to Work Together to Mitigate Identity-Based Conflict at India Leadership Conference

On December 9th and 10th, 2014, the Global Peace Foundation-India, in collaboration with the Interfaith Foundation India and Institute of Advanced Studies in Education  Deemed University held a two-day Global Peace Leadership Conference at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi, India. The conference theme was “Peace and Harmony through Interfaith Partnerships.”

 

Over 330 participants from many regions across India as well as from Iran, Indonesia, Turkey, Thailand, U.S.A., and Nepal were invited to work together around the vision of “One Family Under God” to mitigate identity-based conflict at the Global Peace Leadership Conference 2014 in New Delhi, India.

According to the GPLC – India, 2014 Coordinator Mr. Druba Prasad Lamichhane who is the national representative of Global Peace Foundation India this year, the conference convened over 330 participants from many of the different regions across India as well as from Iran, Indonesia, Turkey, Thailand, U.S.A., and Nepal. Faith leaders and scholars were invited to work together around the vision of “One Family Under God” to mitigate identity-based conflict that would to lead to shared agreements, cooperation and lasting peace. This vision is particularly appropriate to India, the home of so many of the world’s wisdom traditions, which has long honored the idea of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam or  “One world family.”

Dr. Karan Singh, a world-renowned spiritual leader and a senior member of India’s Upper House of Parliament, “Truth is one, the wise call it by many names.”

The Chief Guest of the conference was Dr. Karan Singh, a world-renowned spiritual leader and one of India’s most distinguished political and social leaders, a senior member of India’s Upper House of Parliament, the Rajya Sabha. Dr. Singh spoke on the history of the interfaith movement and the contributions it could make to the world today, if each faith were to move beyond its narrow confines and interests. He quoted the Vedic saying that “truth is one, the wise call it by many names” and suggested that this could be the centerpiece of interfaith dialogue and relations. Noting the many conflicts and challenges the world today, he urged interfaith movement to do more and work more effectively together. Mr. James Flynn, the International President of the Global Peace Foundation from the United States of America, delivered the Keynote address. Mr. Flynn acknowledged the leading spiritual role that India could play in the world, as the birthplace of so much of the world’s spiritual wisdom. He noted, “India’s rich heritage of philosophy and spirituality, coupled with its growing leadership roles in governance, economics, and technology, make it ideally poised to lead the discussion on a global vision and framework for peace.”

Global Peace Foundation International President Mr. James Flynn, “Interafaith Leaders are a key ingredient to peacebuilding.”

To this end, he suggested the establishment of a working group of organizational and individual partners that would build on the past work of a “global ethic” and create new initiatives to advance its development. He invited those gathered to be a part of re-invigorating these efforts as, “India’s diverse and broad base of religious and spiritual traditions make it ideally suited to be a global model of faith in action. “  Mr. Flynn concluded that the ideal of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam or One Family Under God could be developed as a lived reality in India through collaborative action. Over the two day conference, there were six technical sessions covering a variety of topics, including ways to address identity-based conflicts, articulating a global ethical framework and engaging women and youth in the peace-building process. Over 100 multi-sector speakers including the high commission of Canada spoke and engaged in formal and informal discussions on peace-building and the unique perspectives that Indian spirituality and wisdom has to offer the world community. Delegates included academics, scholars, young research students, educational administrators and corporate leaders from around the country. The conference concluded with the signing of a declaration of “A Vision and Global Framework for One Family Under God”. The declaration called the participants of the conference to “work together to articulate universal ethical principles and values that can form the basis for social cohesion, shared agreements and lasting peace.” The pledge included fourteen points that outlined ways covered over the course of the conference in which faith and beliefs could be expressed and made more effective through collaborative partnerships. Students from the Ahlcon International School held cultural programs on both days of the conference. The first day Samayee  Gupte  the granddaughter of the General PK Saighal  a world record holder for his work in addressing children’s education in India, offered a song  by Ahlcon International School students performed a dance on the first day and the Global Peace Foundation anthem “We are One Family” at the closing. (left to right) Students from the Ahlcon International School held cultural programs during the Global Peace Leadership Conference. granddaughter of the General PK Saighal  offers a song. The 2014 Global Peace Leadership Conference was hosted in New Delhi, India by the Global Peace Foundation India. For more information on the conference, contact Global Peace India atindia@globalpeace.org.

Global Peace Leadership Conference New Delhi Declaration

The following declaration was made at the close of the pivotal Global Peace Leadership Conference held in New Delhi, India focusing on “Peace and Harmony through Interfaith Partnerships.”


 

Preamble

 

The world today faces a spiritual crisis, as evidenced by the continuous rise of identity-based conflicts. These conflicts over nationality, ethnicity, religion and tribal affiliations threaten social relations on every level, especially with globalization expanding the significance and reach of previously localized challenges. While tremendous advances have been achieved in every sector of human society, they have failed to keep apace with our moral and ethical capacities – to the detriment of all life on earth. It is thus imperative that moral and spiritual leaders of the world work together to articulate universal ethical principles and values that can form the basis for social cohesion, shared agreements and lasting peace.

 

Whereas human ingenuity, intellect and creativity have through the past millennia built civilizations that have inspired human hearts and minds to pursue creative endeavors; at the same time the world has been plagued by intolerance, ignorance, hatred, mistrust, discrimination and ravaged by ethnic, racial, religious, economic, social and political conflicts

 

Whereas religions and faiths have been fountain-springs of spiritually inspired ethics; at the same time religious rivalries and ethnic conflicts have spread intolerance and violence, thus obscuring the unifying vision of humanity as one family under God.

 

Whereas tremendous advances in science and technology have created unprecedented material wealth, technological and medical advances; at the same time, they have been misused for producing nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction and rampant armament race with tremendous allocation of resources that could be directed to overcome poverty, inequality, disease, ignorance, illiteracy and hunger.

 

Whereas different religions have promulgated the idea of the world as one family under God, we have not carried it out in practice, into this vacuum; the possessive, exploitative, abusive and discriminatory instincts of humanity have divided our world.

 

Whereas in modern times leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Honorable nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr . have courageously and effectively used non-violence strategies for gaining political independence, ending apartheid, championing compassion in action, fighting racial discrimination, and tirelessly advocating multiculturalism. At the same time, the world has drifted towards escalating violence and terrorism. The world has lost hold of our common human identity and the unifying shared values that can bring about a cohesive society.

 

The Pledge

 

On the occasion of the Global Peace Leadership Conference held in New Delhi, India on the 9ths and 10th of December, 2014, we the participants from all over the region, solemnly pledge:

1. To commit ourselves with courage and resolve to forge vibrant and meaningful interfaith partnerships and programs for promoting universal social cohesion based on our common identity, universal principles, and share values to overcome ethnic, religious, gender, social and cultural barriers

2. To inspire a spirit of unity and conciliation in place of conflict and confrontation, equity and fair play in place of iniquity and exploitation towards all human beings irrespective of color, gender, creed, religion, ethnicity or geographical location.

3. To engage faith leaders and academics in the task of articulating a global ethical framework based on universal principles and values, found in the world’s religions. This framework could then be applied to the private and public spheres.

Meeting with Dr. Karan Singh

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On 13 September 2014 Mr. Aya Goto Vice President of Global Peace Foundation (GPF) International and his team met Dr. Karan Singh, member of the Upper House of Parliament of India (Rajya Sabha), at his residence to discuss about the promotion of the culture of peace, harmony and service. Mr. Aya Goto explained the objective of Global Peace Foundation and the activities that are being carried out by GPF to achieve peace in the society. Dr. Karan Singh appreciated the vision of (GPF) One Family Under God i.e Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. He emphasized the importance of peace and said that, unity amongst people of all faith is necessary in order to achieve long-lasting peace and harmony. Furthermore he stressed that feeling of love and unity is something we should strive to maintain forever, throughout our lives.

Meeting with Prof. Talat Ahmad, Vice Chancellor, Jamia Millia Islamia University:

1. Prof.Talat Ahmad.VC Jamila Milia Islamia University
On 10 September 2014 Mr. Aya Goto Vice President of Global Peace Foundation (GPF) International along with Mr. Dhruba Pd. Lamichhane National Representative of GPF India met Prof. Talat Ahmad Vice Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia University. The matters regarding the importance of peace and methods to achieve the same were discussed. Further discussions were held to sort out how GPF India and Jamila Milia Islamia University work together to achieve common visions & objectives.