Irene Incerti, Youth UPF representative, introducing the Universal Peace Federation at the European Leadership Conference in Oslo, 21st – 22nd September 2012:
Hello. My name is Irene Incerti. I’m studying history of religions at the University of Oslo and I do work voluntary in UPF and in UngDialog, an organization for youth interested in faith and life-stances. I will start by talking about UPF views on education for global citizenship and how we can work for sustainable peace through education. Then I will give some practical examples from my experiences in UngDialog of how education (read non-formal education for youth) contributes to sustainable peace.
Education for Global Citizenship
Education is essential for raising up the world; youth and adults. It is a natural process in our life. Good citizens create a good society, which again creates a good world. Depending on our view of what a human being is the education varies. Formal education is secured in most countries, in different ways. The EU has acknowledged that professional education is essential but not sufficient. We need education of character as well, which embraces the whole human being.
I will talk about two points in relation to “Education for Global Citizenship and Sustainable Peace”. 1) Taking responsibility for your actions 2) “The other”.
1) Taking responsibility for your actions
UPF Peace Principles (reflect our view on human being)
- We are beings of rights and freedom, and of responsibility.
- “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” ~ Article 1, The Universal Declaration of human rights.
- Human beings are spiritual in nature.
- Religious and life-stance traditions
- American declaration of independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”
UPF therefore works with religions. Religions empower the individual to become a global citizen. How can we define global citizenship?
According to Oxfam, a Global Citizen takes responsibility for his/her actions.
UPF wants to empower and inspire youth to take responsibility of their actions, and live a life as global citizens.
2) The other “Live as a global citizen”
- Live a life for the other – live a life that fosters peace – gives sustainable peace
Why is “the other” so important? It is because it is by helping and serving others and reaching a common goal with others we feel the greatest joy. Not in unselfish actions and a self-centered life. It is an other-centered life that brings us joy and also peace to society!
Through our responsibility (taking responsibility) we can choose how to form our life and how to relate to others. We can create peaceful relations with others and thereafter a peaceful world. It is also through “the other” that we grow. The education we get in relation to “the other” is essential for our growth. The education in the family, between parents & children, siblings, and partners (husband & wife) and also the education we get in relation to our friends, school/work mates and even the man on the street. This is all non-formal education, it is education of the hearth and character. The non-formal education is needed to learn to live in harmony with our fellow man, it is then that we can create a world of sustainable peace.
So what do we (UPF) want to promote?
We want to empower individuals to create their life with conscious actions and take responsibility living as global citizens. Education is key! Formal and career-oriented education is necessary but not the only type of education we need to raise and become global citizens. Education of character and heart is needed as well.
In our work for peace taking responsibility for our actions and establishing good relations to “the other” is important. A practical example of how we can live this out is UngDialog (continued in part 2)