When one turns on the TV, opens the newspaper or listens to the radio one of the first things you will probably recognize is headings about war, terrorist attacks or hate speech against minorities. India Peace Centre is concerned about keeping the global peace, which is why the IPC organized a Program called “Interfaith School of Peace”. Around 50 students from Orissa were invited to participate in the program, which took place at CYSD in Bhubaneswar, Odisha between the 10th and 14th of October 2019. The program was all about peace, it’s importance in today’s contexts and how to keep it. In a total of three full days of deliberation the participants as well as speakers held discussions on different topics, shared their own experiences and figured out new ways of handling issues, seeming to threaten peace.
The topic peace is so complex, multiple speakers emblazed it from different perspectives. Sudhansu Naik, General Secretary, Bhubaneswar YMCA, talked about the general understanding and context of peace and reiterated that the “Absence of war is not peace”. Furthermore many other speakers shared their inputs. They include Jyotsna Rani Patro, Secretary of Utkal Christian Council, expressed her opinion on the role of gender in context of peace, Angelious Micheal, Coordinator for Partnership Desk at Jeypore Evangelical Lutheran Church, informed about how the youth is dealing with issues these days and Ajaya Singh, Director of Excellence Academy, talked about different perspectives of peace. In relation to the title “Interfaith” Dhirendra Panda, convener for Civil Society on Human Rights, shared his concerns on dealing with peace between different religions. In between the speeches the participants discussed questions such as: “Is peace present today? “, “What are the factors of peace building? “, “What are the factors of conflicts?”. Kasta Dip, the Director of India Peace Centre, led the program and gave some input himself on the caste system and what we talk about, when we talk about neighbourhood. To give some examples on the power of peace, Leonie Kühl and Leona Moldenhauer, two German volunteers, presented examples on global peace movements.
On the last day the participants got the opportunity to experience their gained knowledge on respecting each other and different religions practically. Exposure Visits made it possible to visit places of historical and religious importance: Dhauli Shanti Stupa, a Buddhist temple followed by a Christian Church and the Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves.
Meanwhile these three days friendships were built, knowledge was gained and mindsets were changed. All the participants got new impressions on peace and took one step further to being a peace maker themselves in their local contexts and situations.