GWPN selects 12 youth ambassadors to further message of peace
By Jude Toyat
PEACE BEGINS WITHIN SOCIETY’S most elemental level – the family. From family, it expands to the community, nation and the world.
In a continuous effort to create a culture of peace in Malaysia, the Global Women’s Peace Network (GWPN) Malaysia chapter in cooperation with Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development organised a peace-loving convention on October 18 at Hilton Hotel Kuching.
Themed ‘Family Nurturing Culture of Peace’, the convention saw about 300 participants of those from government organisations, religious institutions, community leaders, academicians, and peace-loving Sarawakians showing their support in spreading peace and love.
In her opening address at the convention, Datin Patinggi Datuk Jamilah Anu said that world peace can be realised with a solid family institution at its core and seeds of love must be sown among those around the families.
“In educating our children, what the children see and learn in the family are of utmost importance. The parents must show a good example. Family can be said to be a school – a school of peace and love where people can learn how to love each other and live together in peace.
“Young people need to be empowered so that they can eventually create strong and successful marriages that will become the foundation for creating stable and peaceful families. The prospects of everlasting peace and harmony at larger levels may be achieved only when we as individuals have achieved personal fulfillment through loving relationships and stable families.”
Happiness and peace can also come from living to helping others. By building a culture of serving others, we can help to transform the community and nation. This includes volunteering our services and assistance around the world.
To promote the spirit of volunteerism, 12 ‘Youth Ambassadors for Peace’ were appointed to represent GWPN to promote peace and harmony in their respective universities and colleges. They are outstanding student leaders in their respective campuses.
When asked what spreading peace meant to him, John-Paul Davis, 23, from Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus, opined that peace was an intrinsic desire to strive for harmony regardless of the circumstances that may hamper its cultivation.
He had been approached by members of GWPN two weeks ago: “I was asked whether I was interested to be their ambassador and did an interview with them. Their questions were about me and the things that I do for peace, and based on the social work that I did, they felt that I could contribute to their work as well.”
His social and community work include being part of the Empowered Ministry (St Joseph’s Parish Youth Ministry) as well as The Champions, a non-governmental organisation that carries out a lot of social work and helping those in need.
Most recently, John was involved in the ‘Truly Malaysia: Sarawak Harmony’ conference organised by the 1Malaysia Foundation and Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak in Kuala Lumpur last month, whereby his organisation, The Champions, was invited to conduct one of the streaming sessions.
Referring to his further plan to spread peace, John said, “I will definitely strive to ensure that the seeds of peace will be sown in all that is planned. I definitely look forward to assist GWPN as their Youth Ambassador for Peace in any of their future programmes.”
Meanwhile, for 18-year-old student from St. Thomas’ Secondary School, Jessica Robert, she was informed by one of her father’s friends about the programme and immediately became interested in being a part of it.
“One of the members from GWPN came to talk to me about it and I became eager to contribute more towards spreading love and peace, so I instantly filled in the form and that was how I was selected as one of their ambassadors,” she said.
Among Jessica’s contributions to society that make her eligible as an ambassador of peace include being actively involved in her church activities as well as being the leader of the youth ministry at Borneo Evangelical Mission (SIB) Olive Garden, Kuching.
Currently she is still furthering her secondary school studies, but Jessica will continue to spread peace through her prefect duties and be part of the Inter-School Christian Fellowship (ISCF) club at her school. She strives to also be actively involved in all the programmes to be organised by GWPN in the near future.
For Audrey Devung, peace is when our hearts are filled with love and where everyone lives among each other without hatred and prejudice and feel freedom from conflict, war, cruelty and brutality. “There is no act of inhumanity in peace.”
This 18-year-old student from St. Thomas’ Secondary School said, “I am very active in my Inter-School Christian Fellowship (ISCF) club at my school and what I usually do is share the word of God, set prayers to the ones who need it, and also, share our problems and solve them together.”
Her plan to spread peace in the future include helping the poor and unfortunate, as well as broken families around the globe. “I will help them in terms of spiritual and the importance of moral values, as well as spreading love all around the world,” she said.
Therefore, it is hoped that peace messages can be spread rapidly among the younger generation through the volunteering services given by these ‘Youth Ambassadors for Peace’ so everyone will then benefit from their efforts in the organization including their friends, colleagues, and themselves.
From this convention, it is noted that peace is undeniably the highest value of our time, especially which is fraught with religious and racial tensions, terrorism, ethnic cleansing, civil wars and wars between nations.
President of GWPN Senator Datuk Doris Sophia Brodie said that ideal families and a world of peace cannot be achieved without making constant effort. They are not gifts that someone can just hand to us.
“We reap what we sow. If, we sowed peace and love, we will reap and enjoy peace and love. It will continue to flourish if we continuously nourished it with affection, care, understanding, acceptance and blind to color, gender and religion,” she said in her welcoming remarks.
Everybody plays an important role in constructing a ‘world of peace with humanity as one family’, a world of co-existence, common prosperity, and universally shared values.
The convention held on October 18 was part of the Peace Loving Project launched in Miri on December 7 last year by GWPN aimed at educating, supporting and inspiring women leaders to lead and serve together for peace.
It will continue to be carried out throughout Malaysia starting with this very event here in Kuching and thereafter to various divisions in Sarawak. After Kuching, they will move to Sibu, Bintulu and so forth before moving on to Peninsular Malaysia.
It includes several talks sessions and presentations which allows for an exchange of opinions and dialogue to enrich participants views.
The Malaysia chapter of Global Women Peace Network (GWPN) was incorporated on November 16, 2012 to strengthen and enhance cooperation among women organisations beyond political, racial, cultural and religious backgrounds, and provide a platform for women to advance the peace movement in the nation and in the world.
GWPN is affiliated to the Women Federation for World Peace Malaysia whose patron is Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor