YMCA Europe Roots for Peace project played a pivotal role in the recent YMCA Europe 50th Anniversary event. It took place in Berlin under the motto Y2Gether. One of the key components of the event was the Just World Pillar on July 1st, prepared and led by the Roots staff and expert team.
First Roots Comms Assistant Lika Zakaryan delivered a compelling plenary keynote. As part of the intro to Lika’s keynote a trailer of her documentary “Invisible Republic” was shown. The trailer provided a glimpse into the complexities and challenges faced by communities in Nagorno Karabakh, highlighting the struggles for peace and justice. Drawing from her own experiences in the unjust reality besieging Nagorno-Karabakh, Lika highlighted the indispensable need for just peace in her personal life and beyond. Her speech captivated the audience, evoking a range of emotions as she shared deep personal stories and reflections.
The panel delved into the aspirations and ideas of creating a more just world. It was composed of:
- Peter Nasir, the CEO of East Jerusalem YMCA,
- Wolfgang Henrich, external expert in conflict sensitivity and transformation, author of Roots Peacework Guidebook,
- Arnold Etsoh, Volunteer Services Officer at YMCA Germany (originally from Togo).
The central question posed to the panelists was, “Imagine you had a magic wand and could change one thing in the world to make it more just, what would you change?” The responses from the panelists were both creative and profound. Suggestions included:
- fostering empathy and understanding among people,
- transforming the hearts of individuals and “place” there more love,
- eradicating the knowledge of weapons from the minds of humankind.
Following the panel discussion, Roots Context Analysis focus group session was held, facilitated by Wolfgang Henrich. More than 50 participants enthusiastically joined the session, eager to learn and share their knowledge and opinion on how to carry out peacework in this challenging context Europe is facing nowadays. The learning and the observations from this session will key to the findings and recommendations of the Roots Context Analysis Report to be published later on this year.
Through the entire Just World Pillar, the Roots for Peace team spirit and quality know-how showcased how a YMCA Europe flagship programme can enrich and empower our Global Movement in the pursuit of its Vision 2030.