Paris, France - A conference on "Eurasia and Europe: Cooperating for a Culture of Peace and Human Development" took place in Paris, France, Dec. 3-4, 2013, calling attention to the new "Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures" that was inaugurated in August 2013 at the instigation of Kazakhstan and being spearheaded by UNESCO.
Consisting of young people as well as a professional working with youth, the Youth Panel aimed to explore the role that youth volunteering can have in enhancing a culture of peace between Europe and Eurasia. The opportunities and challenges of organising joint Europe and Eurasia youth volunteering projects as a way of enhancing peace between the regions was looked at through discussing existing projects, the impact these have, and through proposing possible new initiatives.
I want to start with a practical example of volunteering. This summer I was part of the Religious Youth Service (RYS). It took place in Estonia, Johvi, from the 1st to 10th of August, 2013. The project was supported by the Lutheran church of St. Michael, which provided us with accommodation, food and work support. 20 representatives from 13 different countries participated at this RYS projects, such as Germany, France, Austria, UK, Japan, USA, Canada, Italy, Greece, Estonia, and Philippines.
Distinguished Guests, Ambassadors of Peace, Ladies & Gentlemen, on behalf of the Founder, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, and the members of the Board of Directors and the Presiding Council of UPF International, it is my privilege to address you today here in Paris for this conference on Cooperating for a Culture of Peace and Human Development.
Through my work with the Family Forum and also being a partner in the Austrian Family Network, I feel that family is the key factor for human development to create a culture of peace. Having visited different countries in Europe and beyond, I learned that family is of great importance in the life of people in the East and in the West, and so, I maintain, that family is the primary vehicle of rapprochement.
The global agendas for the 21st century are marked by an enhanced focus on the human being, on the citizen and on societies in addition to the traditional addressing of issues related to governments and states. Peace is not any more the achievement of governmental armament, defended borders and related policies but, as the title of our meeting indicates, the result of value structures of societal cultures carried by the human being and by societies.