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.
From 25th -26th October, 2013, 156 delegates from three continents gathered at the Treasures Inn & Suites, Jos, Nigeria for the 5th annual Conference on Youth and Interfaith Dialogue in Jos, Nigeria. This year’s them was “The Role of Free and Responsible Media Toward a Peaceful Society Imbued with Dignity and Mutual Respect”. The conference is produced annually by New Era Educational and Support Foundation and this year included the additional partnership of the United Religions Initiative who had previously been involved in 2011.
The format of this conference includes a round table discussion which brings an interfaith group of youth together from Europe, North America and Africa to engage in a dialogue with political, social and faith leaders on a variety of topics from the media’s role in creating and promoting a peaceful society, what role can young people take in promoting world peace and Christian/Islam peace building efforts in Nigeria.
By the end of the two-day event, participants resolved to do the following:
1. Establish the Golden Rule Chapter in Nigeria to serve as a platform for the entrenchment of mutual respect, tolerance and upholding of human dignity. A National Steering Committee was constituted to that effect and the first meeting was conducted. The Committee will meet again on 7th December to marshal the way forward and plan towards the celebration of the Golden Rule Day on April 5th, 2014.
2. The citizenry and mass media should have an attitudinal and behavioral change on the taste of content.3. The mass media and people working in the area of peace should give voice to younger people and involved them in peace building activities4. The mass media and people working in the area of peace should create an inclusive and divergent platform5. The media should promote responsible citizenship so as to cultivate the culture of non violence through reports that promote human dignity and patriotism.6. We should all be committed to peace building process and not leave it in the hands of few individuals or groups.7. All citizens must show practical commitments to peace building in their respective communities by encouraging and getting involved in activities that promote peace8. Create and promote an ideal vision of a peaceful society irrespective of our diversity in ethnicity, religion, and abilities and otherwise.9. Translation of the golden rule in various Nigerian languages and working with teachers and schools to enshrine it in school curriculum10. The Golden Rule and the URI Talking Back to Hate Campaign should be introduced as a community development service (CDS) group in the NYSC Scheme and in schools in Colleges.11. Wherever there is violence of any nature, we should come out openly to challenge and condemn it, because it is not culturally, religiously or otherwise accepted.12. Irrespective of our religious affiliations, we ought to teach young religious leaders to teach the truth and the right thing and to avoid inflammatory sermons that could incite the citizens.13. We should all work towards ensuring a strong and fair judicial system.
Dear Friends and Supporters,
Greetings, Peace and blessings to you. We are very pleased to send you report of our Ongoing Youth Solidarity Fund Project, supported by the UNAOC. The Project, “Building Youth Capacity for Peace and Good Governance in Nigeria” is a 6-month project implemented by New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation and supported by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Initiative through its Youth Solidarity Fund, 2013 Edition. The project aims at diminishing gaps, healing wounds, and leading participants to experience face-to-face forgiveness, and thereby changing the fabric of Nigeria person-to-person, as familiarity and trust increases. The project will support young Nigerians in their healing process with three components:
(1) moving toward forgiveness by giving voice to carefully-listened-to personal life narratives, with the experience that "an enemy is one whose story we have not heard," (2) an educational, intellectual framework of sound psychological, biological and spiritual principles of a life-lived that leads toward healing, and reconciliation, and (3) Responsible outreach with grass-roots initiatives that includes vastly more citizens awakening to build authentic Nigerian community, beyond war, living united as one. The project will help Nigerian youth to build strong cross-cultural relationships. It will provide youth meaningful purpose and active roles in their communities. The training will provide life skills of dignifying one another through communication excellence in peacebuilding.
The project will help the participants to socialize across boundaries of culture and faith and experience volunteerism from a faith-based community of youth and educators. Participants will visit religious sites to draw from the rich spiritual and cultural heritage of humanity to become Young Peace Ambassadors. Target groups for the project include 150 male and female representatives of youth groups and associations, community leaders including religious leaders and teachers in Jos North and South. The participants will learn about each other face-to-face, in a culturally neutral environment of fun and cooperative creativity. They will learn to deconstruct stereotypes that fuel fear and ignorance of the “other” in order to build respect and trust.
From 8th – 9th August, 2013, the project hosted 20 teachers drawn from Nine secondary schools in Jos North and Jos South Local Government Areas of Plateau State, for a 2-Day Teacher Training on Peace Education, Negotiation Skills, Advocacy and Conflict Transformation utilizing Non-Violence Approaches. The 2-Day Training was conducted at the Assembly Hall of Creative Minds International Academy, Jos, Nigeria. The Participants were drawn from Creative Minds International Academy, Jos, Ziebok Private School, Jos, United Baptist Model School, Jos, Yedi Private School, Jos, Liberty Comprehensive College, Jos, Remus Private School, Fed Lowcost, Jos, St. Bucknor Peculiar Academy, Kufang, Jos, Christ Arrival College and Zang Commercial, Bukuru, Jos.
The Facilitators were experienced trainers from the USA, Japan and Nigeria. Ema Miroslava Billings hold a Masters Degree in Conflict Transformation with a focus on Psychosocial Trauma Healing at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP) at the Eastern Mennonite University (EMU), Harrisonburg, VA USA, and is very passionately dedicated to peace and psychosocial trauma and well being theory and practice, has great analytical and strategic thinking skills. Ema demonstrates even greater awareness and deep care for people in conflict situations. Akiko Ishihara, MA MPH from Tokyo, Japan is an associate professor of conflict transformation and peacebuilding at Kumamoto University, Japan. She is passionate about sharing conflict transformation and peacebuilding ideas with youth and adults, and working in the affected areas by the nuclear disaster in Japan. Dr. Emmanuel Ande Ivorgba is an Educator, a success-driven visionary, Community Builder, Peace activist and Conflict Resolution Practitioner with several years experience conducting mediation, training and facilitation, especially in West Africa. He is the Executive Director of New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation. Peter Ijigue Monkom is the Project Coordinator for the “Building Youth Capacity for Peace and Good Governance in Nigeria”.
Training modules included: Advocacy, Understanding Conflict, Introduction to Communication, Communication Techniques, Creating a Culture of Peace, Peace Education & Negotiation. The Participants were 20 Secondary School teachers, both male and female in gender along with representing both the Muslim and Christian faiths. The participants’ knowledge base of conflict and building a culture of peace ranged from little awareness to well informed. Many viewed conflict as an unnecessary evil when asked to share their views of conflict though later learned that conflict is a natural aspect of life.
Friday, 16th August 2013, Four (4) members of the Project Advocacy and Community Mobilization Team, led by NEEDCSI Executive Director and the Project Coordinator, conducted a Project Advocacy Meeting with the Special Adviser on Peacebuilding to the Plateau State Governor, Hon. Barrister Timothy Baba Parlong, at his office in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria. During the Advocacy Meeting, the Project Team said they were at the office of the Special Adviser on Peacebuilding to the State Governor to formally inform the Government about the project and to seek official support and collaboration towards the overall success of the project. The Project Team also presented copies of Advocacy and IEC including Car Stickers and T-Shirts developed and produced by the project to the Special Adviser on Peacebuilding. The Special Adviser expressed delight and congratulated the Project Team for being selected as finalists and eventual Winners of the UNOAC Youth Solidarity Fund, 2013 Edition, as pledged the support and collaboration of the State Governance, through his office, towards ensuring that the projects succeeds. Seven (7) were present and actively participated in the meeting.
Further details of project implementation are also available at our project website: http://needcsi-unoacysf2013edition.webs.com/
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