It was an interacting and interesting meeting in The Hague when a group of over twenty school students visited the United Network of Young Peace builders (UNOY) July 12th, 2011. This was the same period the Nigerian national Director of World Faith visited the Netherlands to present the results of the research carried out on the crisis in Niger Delta to the EU Parliament.
The International coordinator of UNOY, explained that UNOY Peace builders is a vibrant youth global network of 42 youth led peace organizations and 300 affiliates. The organizations are strongly committed to addressing emotional, physical, and structural forms of violence. The organization works in different ways through awareness raising campaigns, lobby and advocacy work, setting up a peace club, reintegrating programs for ex- combatants, and using the arts to transform conflicts into peaceful activities.
This event provided a climax opportunity for World Faith YOUPEDA in Nigeria (on advocacy visit to Hague and Brussels) to make the students understand the work and mission of UNOY. The advocacy visit showed the EU representatives that World Faith Nigeria builds peaceful co-existence, religious tolerance and peace in society. The central activities include dialogue and mutual understanding between different and diverse religious groups. During the last few months, building bridges of understanding and unity through dialogue has fostered joint togetherness, particularly between Muslims and Christian youths in Abuja. Despite the post-election violence that took place during the year, emphasis has been made on the continued dialogue, networking building, and cooperation with deeds of commitment that draws different religious groups together. Additionally, efforts have been made to involving more faiths groups, including the traditional native believers.
Improving the conflict transformation process, World Faith Nigeria is continuing to improve and engage more interfaith leaders on different levels of consultations. These include understanding the true teachings of Christianity and Islam, including their peculiarities and personal mannerisms through dialogue discussions, work-shops, seminars, conferences, and pamphleteering, creating channels of communication and interaction to promoting dialogue between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria so that the members of both faiths may have mutual understanding of each other’s religious position, and fostering co-existence among all the people of Nigeria irrespective of their religious or ethnic affiliations .
Others include: boost a mutual co-operation and promotion of the welfare of all citizens in the nation, serving as an avenue for articulating a cordial relationship amongst the various religious groups and the Government, serving as a forum to achieve national goals, economic growth, national unity and promotion of political stability and economic strength, creating an alliance and network with organizations of similar aims at home and internationally, for the furtherance of the objectives of the organization, conducting inclusive discourse for African development and make situational analysis- reports to African governments, private sector, interested individuals, professional bodies and other related institutions, encouraging women to seek, participate and contribute to leadership development and growth in Africa, and engaging in international exchange programs in peace issues, education and capacity development, trainings and voluntary supports.
We have decided to continue in our interfaith pursuits despite the socio-political challenges in the time of the work we do. As a result of World Faith YOUPEDA Nigeria’s accomplishments, students have indicated interest to come to Nigeria next summer and to volunteer for World Faith YOUPEDA.