Delegates from over 30 countries guided into a deep meditation by Phra Parsura


Pawan Kumar Bansal with International participants.

Chandigarh, September 28, 2014:  A tranquil silence enveloped the auditorium as 9th International Youth Peace Festival (IYPF2014) delegates from over 30 countries were guided into a deep meditation by Phra Parsura, a senior monk from World Peace Initiative Foundation, Thailand. “We cannot give inner peace to others if we don’t have it within ourselves,” Parsura said, addressing the audience at SD College in Sector 32 here today.
Monk Parsura’s wisdom set the tone for the Inaugural day of the 9th International Youth Peace Festival – a day of music, connections and honoring those who are working to create a more peaceful world. The message that starts with the individual, and daily actions, was powerfully communicated during the first full day of the week-long program, hosted by NGO Yuvsatta along with RGNIYD, GGD SD College, Oxfam India, Svayam and State cell - NSS, Chandigarh.
The tools to promote peace were as diverse on Sunday as the participants themselves, from games to music. After the meditation, participants danced with traditional Punjabi Bhangra artists from Malwa on the tunes of ‘Malwai Giddha’ on stage, and it was clear that music transcends languages and nationalities.
Many powerful leaders addressed the auditorium during the course of the day. Dr Hasmukh Purshottam Dawda, ambassador for Peace and Visionary of Uganda, addressed the youth at the conference about the barriers that need to be crossed to achieve peace. “We want peace in the community but we don’t even talk to our neighbors,” Dawda said adding that “Charity begins from home.”
Another speaker,  Sminu Jindal also pushed people to think beyond their usual comfort zones. Sitting in her wheelchair on the stage, the MD of Jindal Saw Limited and Founder of ‘Svayam’, an organisation that works to make the country more accessible for disabled citizens, reminded participants that peace requires inclusion and thinking of people who face difficult situations. “Life is too beautiful to sit in one room,” she said.
Her talk inspired people to ask questions about how to create a better world for disabled people, and how to change attitudes toward this issue.  Later in the day the participants were able to try simulated exercises and visualizations to understand the reality of accessibility for disabled people.
Sminu Jindal was honored along with Gandhian youth peace leader Indra Udayana, from Ashram Gandhi Puri in Indonesia with ‘Global Youth ICON Awards’ constituted by Yuvsatta to recognize the services of young people who are real role model for others to follow suit.
Addressing the participants on the occasion Dr Latha Pillai, Director of the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development, urged youth to build networks that change policy for a more peaceful world. Former Union Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal also addressed the international gathering of young people and appreciating the efforts of Yuvsatta, he said that it’s an honour for all of us that now every year the number of young people from across the world is increasing in this annual International Youth Peace Fest and he promised his full support to further strengthen the initiative.
After a delicious Indian lunch, speakers from various countries had the opportunity to speak about their work. Anthony, who works in Taiwan, spoke about Garden of Hope Foundation, an organisation that empowers women, and Russian young ladies Irina and Daria spoke about the power of active citizens in their country. Also on the stage was Nageswery  from International Youth Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and  Nepal’s human rights activist Tilottam Paudel. “I’m hoping to come out of this conference with an action plan,” Anthony said. “I want to connect with people and see how our work is relevant to Asia.”
Participants in the crowd were inspired and focused throughout the sessions. Whether from Pakistan, Iran or Afghanistan, everyone found common ground for conversations and bonded over the issues that brought them to Chandigarh.
Elvis Kotey, a young peace ambassador from Ghana, came to the festival to connect with other global youth to support issues of women’s empowerment. He said he was very impressed with the first part of the program and had already made friends that shared his passion for making sure girls were treated equally. “We need to make a change, we need to make this world a better place,” he said.
Readers may send their news/views/feedback to us:

Sunday, September 28, 2014