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'Promoting Peace through Inter-religious Dialogue' (Aug. 2014)

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 Between the 17th and 24th of August, CAWU's former Outreach Officer and Intern Coordinator, Farah de Haan, took part in the 10th Annual Forum for Development, Culture and Dialogue (FCDC) in Beirut entitled 'Promoting Peace through Inter-religious Dialogue'.
Along with 30 other youths, she worked on a Message to the World that bares a message that is fully supported by the Center for Arab-West Understanding.

Seeds of Peace, A Message to the World
30 September 2014
2014 has been one of the worst years in recent times. We have seen conflicts and wars in Syria, Ukraine, Palestine and Iraq among other countries and we have witnessed the loss of human lives, the millions of children and women turned into orphans and widows and the massive destruction of lives and countries. This devastation makes you think that a wall of endless fear is building up. For 10 days, we, 30 young people from different countries, religions, and cultures, met in Lebanon to discuss dialogue and promotion for peace. During these days, we realized that this wall of fear could be broken down with peace and this message is our discovery of how such a peace can be achieved.
Peace does not magically happen. It is a time-consuming and hard process, which demands human attention and involvement.A process that begins when we start acting on and believing in our hopes for a better future. A process that begins when we turn a new page and try to leave behind the coldness of our violent history. When we start listening to each other and open our minds.
This requires effort and dedication. Let us be ambitious and dedicated and keep trying to reach our goals, no matter the obstacles. Let us keep believing in ourselves and in our power as humans to make the change we want to see in the world.
The efforts of each of us  need to be joined together because cooperation is the way to move forward.  It is essential for us together  to promote team cohesion and the importance of working in unity. Creating a culture of dialogue is therefore important for groups to share their common concerns and find ways to transform them together. Let us not generalize or judge people and groups, nor characterize them as “good” or “bad” but approach and treat all people as humans and focus on the common interests and values that we share.
Let us focus on unity and not on division. Let us create spaces where respectful human communication and the opportunity of appealing to the humanity in others is possible. Let us interact with people and embrace their diversities. We may be different in identities, cultural backgrounds and religious points of views, yet we all flourish when we are loved.  Similarly at the same time, we all feel the bitter taste of pain. We are all still human. When we think out of the box and expand our knowledge of our diversities, we create hope for the future.
Knowledge is the road to understanding and with understanding comes acceptance, respect and trust. It will teach us to live in harmony, that the language of love and humanity is stronger than war and hatred. Trust needs to be planted in the youth and the new generations since their beliefs and hopes are the future of peace promotion.
With, we can insist on accomplishing our mission; believe and promote the richness of diversity through mutual understanding and respect. Trust is not a privilege but a necessity that needs to be built on. One step from me and one step from you. Together we can share a love that unites us as one big diverse family.
Let us plant the seeds of peace since peace is priceless. Approaching it with a heart of forgiveness.