New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation is pleased to announce the hosting of the 7th International Conference on Youth and Interfaith Dialogue, from October 23-24, 2015, in Abuja, Nigeria. The theme of this year's conference is: "The Role of Religions to Build Peace & Security and Transcend Violent Extremism in Africa",
The conference will engage participants in a dynamic experience of faith development as well as challenge them to positively respond to the universal call to holiness. Our world today more than ever before is faced with the challenge of overcoming the "faith divide" and the global citizenship divide in order to build the bridge of all bridges, the interreligious and international bridge that connects all humanity to God. The conference will create and promote interfaith collaboration and build bridges of trust, friendship and partnership among religiously diverse youth and provide a platform for local, national, regional and international collaboration. Conference participants will include Community leaders and activists, NGO representatives, Political leaders, Religious/Spiritual leaders, Peace activists, Government representatives, Students, Cultural/Ethnic and Spiritual Community representatives, Human Service providers, Academics, Social Science researchers, Key participants from current or recent regions of turmoil in Nigeria, Visionaries and front-line thinkers in social-political principles, psycho-social-spiritual dynamics, and human consciousness and members of the interested public from Nigeria and around the world.
Conference objectives include to:
Ø Raise the level, depth, and breadth of public dialogue and awareness on core issues. The conference examines dimensions and dynamics of "The OTHER" on individual and group levels, and considers how enemy identity is formed, perpetuated, and manipulated.
Ø Identify and compile fundamental questions, dilemmas, and implications for further deep inquiry and examination in an expanding public dialogue, and to challenge embedded negative belief systems that promote adversarial perceptions of the "The Other."
Ø Formulate findings and products to make available to all - through publications, media, the Internet, educational curriculum, networks, community based dialogue groups, etc.
Ø Create Networking Opportunities to promote collaboration, action planning, and next steps following the conference.
Ø Tap our shared wisdom, compassion, and responsibility as a community - from the local to the global - in developing practical applications. Participants are encouraged to develop and share practical recommendations and strategies for applying results to the current state of local and world relationships to promote increased understanding, sensitivity, and compassion as a means of countering and neutralizing hostility, particularly inter-group hostility.
Through this Conference, we will continue and sustain our modest efforts to promote an inclusive, compassionate community dialogue process that honours different personal experiences, perspectives, and narratives, while allowing for better expressing and listening to each other as we work together toward understanding and harmony.
On Saturday, November 29, 2014, New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation and Universal Peace Federation- Nigeria, in partnership with United Religions Initiative (URI-AFRICA) and the Bege Foundation, Jos, successfully hosted the 6th International Conference on Youth and Interfaith Dialogue and the Religious Youth Assembly, at the National Merit House, Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Maitama, Abuja, Nigeria.
The Conference was attended by 120 religious youth leaders and adult mentors from Islam, Pentecostals, Eckankar, Rosicrucian Order, Catholics, Brotherhood of Cross and Star, the Unification Movement, Deeper Life and other faith based and interfaith civil society organizations, political and community leaders, etc.
The Theme of the 6th International Conference on Youth and Interfaith Dialogue was: “The Role of Religions to Build Peace, Security and Counter Violent Extremism in Africa”. The conference engaged the participants in a dynamic experience of faith development, challenged them to positively respond to the universal call to holiness as well as created and promoted interfaith collaboration, built bridges of trust, friendship and partnership among religiously diverse youth and provided a platform for local, national, regional and international collaboration. The 6th Conference on Youth and Interfaith Dialogue and the Religious Youth Assembly (RYA) ended with the resolution by religious youth leaders making a determination and commitment to work together beyond their religious denominations for the sake of national peace and unification.
After thorough deliberations on the presentations at the 6th International Conference on Youth and Interfaith Dialogue and the Religious Youth Assembly in Abuja, participants offered the following proposals:
At the Conference, three (3) individuals were recognized and honored with the PEACE HEROES AWARDS, for their outstanding efforts, work and commitment to peacebuilding, social justice and positive change in Nigeria. The Individuals were:
Dear Friends,Greetings, peace and blessings to you. I hope this update finds you well. Thank you most sincerely. I am very pleased to report to you that from August 13-23, 2014, I was in New York, at the invitation of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), as Resource Person/co-facilitator at the 2014 UNAOC-EF Summer School. Participants were hosted at the Education First (EF) historic 25-acre American campus in Tarrytown, New York, which boasts on site residences, student lounges, a fitness center and swimming pool.
The UNAOC-EF Summer School is based on the conviction that youth are a driving force for positive social change. The week-long Summer School brought together Seventy (75) young intercultural leaders, selected from 73 countries, to address pressing global challenges, within the context of cultural and religious diversity. Lasting global change comes from collaboration across borders. By attracting youth from a multitude of backgrounds, the UNAOC – EF Summer School advances the search for shared solutions to the next level. The highly interactive program immersed participants in the essentials of global citizenship. Seminars, workshops, and roundtable discussions challenged participants and increased their impact as leaders in their fields.
I joined other Resource Persons from the UNAOC Intercultural Leaders Network, facilitated the daily Discussion Sessions and also led the “Building Alliances Session”. During this Session, facilitators, working as a team, gave participants an overview of their own experience of “Building Alliances” in their communities/countries. Resource Persons facilitated group-work exercises that gave participants the opportunity to:
1. Integrate the notions and practice the skills discussed; and2. Reflect on how they can apply them or not to their own contextsPresentations exposed best practices and lessons learned in the following areas: 1. Peacebuilding; negotiation; mediation; reconciliation and forgiveness; promoting social justice and opportunities for minorities, migrants, or other marginalized groups; and2. Examples of building trust and mutual respect between different groups.
Among the major highlight of the Summer School included a guided tour of the United Nations headquarters in New York City. Participants toured the General Assembly Hall, the ECOSOC and explored a variety of exhibits detailing the history of the UN and learnt about how the UN addresses issues such as disarmament, peace and security. Participants also had the priviledge of an audience with the United Nations Deputy Secretary General, Jan Kenneth Eliasson. Participants also had a picnic at the Central Park in New York and a Boat Ride to the Statue of Liberty.
We are very pleased to report to you that from June 1-6, 2014, Executive Director of New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation, Emmanuel Ande Ivorgba, was in New York City at the invitation of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) to participate in a workshop aimed at developing operational guidance and guidelines on young peoples’ participation in peacebuilding. The workshop, organized by the Sub-Working Group on Youth Participation in Peacebuilding of the United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD) which is composed of United Nations (UN) entities such as the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), non-governmental Organizations, academics and young adults, was conducted at the Girls Scouts Office, 420 Fifth Avenue, New York City, USA.
This guidance is intended to be concrete and evidence-based, as well support the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of successful youth programs on the ground, and to turn the recently launched Guiding Principles on Young People’s Participation in Peacebuilding into concrete measureable actions. Key objectives of the workshop included:
United Nations Agencies, Donors Organizations, International and local youth-based, youth focused Organizations represented at the workshop included: Office of the Secretary-General Envoy on Youth, Office of SRSG CAAC, UN Alliance of Civilizations, UN DESA Youth, UNDP, UNFPA, UN-HABITAT, UNICEF, UNIDO, UN PBSO, UN WOMEN, Search for Common Ground, Baha’i International Community, Communities Without Boundaries, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP), World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scout, World Vision International, Center for Youth Work (Serbia), Open Society Foundation, USAID, Association Nigérienne pour La Promotion des Jeunes, Chanan Development Association (Pakistan), Youth in Action for development (Sierra Leone), New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation (Nigeria), Peace Spiral Project – Culture of Peace, Interculturality and Human Rights, N, ational Council of Educational Promotion – CONAFE (Mexico), New England Conservatory, etc. The workshop also provided an opportunity for New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation’s Executive Director to make presentation on the peacebuilding and programs with young people to the UN Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD).
The UN Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD) is co-chaired by Cecile Mazzacurati, Policy Officer, Youth and Gender at the UN Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO)/UNFPA and Lakshitha Saji Prelis, Director, Children and Youth Programmes at the Search for Common Ground.
New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation also attended a preparatory meeting with Isabelle Legare, United Alliance of Civilization’s Programming Coordinator at the UNAOC Office located at 405 Lexington Avenue, New York, USA.
On behalf of the Board and Staff at New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation, I am very pleased to report to you that your generous support and goodwill, which have made it possible for us to do the work we do, has been recognized internationally and honored by no other individual but His Holiness the Dalai Lama. From February 21-23, 2014, we were invited to San Francisco to receive the Unsung Heroes Award for service to humanity.
The event, called Unsung Heroes of Compassion 2014, was held at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco before a jam-packed ballroom with 700 guests, and broadcast through a live webcast to more than 900 screens around the world. Nominees were gathered by Dick and Ann Grace of Grace Family Vineyards and the Grace Foundation, and organized by a new nonprofit called Wisdom in Action. It was the fourth Unsung Heroes of Compassion celebration; previous ceremonies were held in 2001, 2005 and 2009. The Unsung Heroes of Compassion Award is not about celebrity but about humanity and the compassion. It is about service to our fellow human beings and the millions of people in the world without resources that struggle day-in and day-out just to survive. The event was co-hosted by Dick Grace, actor Peter Coyote, Father Greg Boyle, American Indian Elder Grandmother Agnes Baker Pilgrim and Zen priest Furyu Schroeder. “The joy in the room was iridescent,” Grace said.
The Dalai Lama spoke for approximately 20 minutes before greeting each honouree. He spoke about the progress and the challenges that he sees in the world, and praised Grace for creating an organization that brings such dedicated individuals to wider attention. “The reality is,” he said, “that we are social animals and each of us depends on the community within which we live. It’s as if we are all part of one body, so what happens to others affects us, too. We have to take care of each other.”
We dedicate this Award to each one of you. We appreciate and honour you for trusting us with your resources to help make a positive difference in our country. You are the real Heroes.
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