Salam Peace Shalom
We are in the beginning of 2017! We enter this year with many hopes for a better year. There were a lot of things happened in 2016 that we have to be grateful for. One of them was the growing initiatives of peace among the young generation. That is why we still have hope for the future instead of the growing numbers of young people that got involved in terrorism and religious extremism.
Jonathan Sacks, the Chief Rabbi of England, says about the significance of young people for peace building: “The message of peace really has to speak to young people and we have to use the same social networking, the same technology as the extremists and we’ve got to do it as well and better than they do.” The same message also given by Susan Hayward from the US Institute of Peace (USIP), “Women and youth are important shapers of religious narratives and motivations that support violence and peace. Youth is particularly important, youth must also be mainstreamed into religious peacebuilding initiatives.”
We believe that God of Peace will enable us to grow the initiative in our respective countries and even to the whole world. The year 2017 should be a year of youth movement for peace if we do not want to be youth movement for violence and extremism. It is a great challenge for us. YIPC in this year continue to be involved in some international peace movement such as World Interfaith Harmony Week February 2017 and International Day of Peace September 2017 as well as organizing the second International Peace Camp in July 2017. YIPC in partnership with MasterPeace International will have some projects in Indonesia to get the young people involve in peacebuilding initiatives.
Next month a team of 14 youth of YIPC Indonesia will be going to Kuala Lumpur on 1-4 Feb and to Singapore on 5-11 Feb to have some dialogues and visitations to the religious communities in both cities. This is the opportunity to learn more about religious diversity since we will visit some religious communities that hardly found in Indonesia, as well as to spread the peace values and A Common Word message to the young people in both cities.
“Love of God and Love of Neighbors” are two sides of a coin that written in both Holy Books but many people are not aware about it. Therefore religious conflicts and violence many times still take place. As Mahmoud Ayoub says, “The main obstacle to true Christian-Muslim dialogue on both sides is, I believe, their unwillingness to truly admit that God’s love and providence extend equally to all human beings, regardless of religious identity.”
Once again, let us hope and pray that all the peacebuilding initiatives will give some significant impact to the world. And many young people, including us, to be ready to be peacemakers wherever God calls us.
Praise the LORD!
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