Seven hundred youth participants from different religions and cultures held meaningful discussions about securing peace during the Global Peace Youth Interfaith Assembly (GPYIA) held in Surabaya, Indonesia on March 8, 2016.
The event theme, “Raising Moral and Innovative Young Leaders: the Key to Lasting Peace,” aimed to inspire youth to become ethical leaders with a goal of creating sustainable peace. Speakers focused on social entrepreneurship, culture, media and nationalism as a way of promoting peace in the region and world.
Indonesia, a vast archipelago made up of more than 17,000 islands and the fourth most populous country in the world, offers much insight into peacebuilding and creating harmonious societies with its thriving cultural, ethnic, religious and linguistic diversity. Indonesia has a national motto, Bhinekka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity), which refers to the variety in the country’s internal composition and that despite all differences in its multicultural society, there is a genuine sense of unity (Indonesianness) among the people of Indonesia.
At the assembly, speaker, H. Dedi Mulyadi, SH., Regent of Purwakarta, said people around the world need to look at our common heritage as human beings. He said, “I suspect that a lot of the issues in this nation developed because we are too busy sticking our nose in other people’s principles and customs of life that we often forget our essence as a human being.”
Speakers touched upon the importance of social entrepreneurship in the twenty-first century as a creative means of building robust societies and solving social and economic issues.
The program also highlighted the important role media can play in promoting peace through framing issues in a more balanced way. “Independent media has much more freedom to convey aspirations for the purpose of pursuing a lasting peace,” said Zacharias Wuragil, Bureau Head of Tempo Surabaya.
Participants expressed hopes that events like the Global Peace Youth Interfaith Assembly could be held more regularly to promote peace and harmony among people of different faiths and inspire youth to take positive action in their communities. “Perform as much good deeds as you are able to, as good deeds never differentiate between religions,” said an inspired participant, Izza Lutfiyah, on social media.
The Global Peace Youth Interfaith Assembly 2016 was a 5-day program held from March 7-11, 2016 hosted by the Global Peace Foundation and partners.