Discussion on “Role of Children in Peacebuilding” with Fr. Joseph Kalathil and Fr. John Chathanatt from India
On 18 March, Aaghaz-e-Dosti Lahore chapter conducted a peace discussion with honorable guests from India, Mr. Joseph Kalathil and Mr. John Chathanatt. The discussion was a gathering of about 15 people who were members and supporters of Aaghaz-e-Dosti.
The objective of this discussion was to share thoughts, ideas and visions for peace between India and Pakistan as both the Indian guests and the organisers and audience were actively involved in peacebuilding. Infact, the working style of the guest speakers and Aaghaz-e-Dosti was same as both are actively involved in peace education in schools and had initiated letter exchange programs. The guest speakers had brought with them a bunch of letters from Indian students that they were to share with Pakistani students. There was a discussion around these letters, the thoughts, dreams and visions that the young minds had shared. This paved the way for a discussion on the role that children and youths can play in peacebuilding between India and Pakistan.
Through the interaction, it was discussed how the mindsets need to be changed from an early age. The children of both countries needs to be heavily involved in the peace projects. This is not just because they are the future but also because they are not aloof from the conflict. The children in both countries grow up in an environment of hatred. They grow up hating each other. Besides other forces, the textbooks have been a fundamental cause for this hatred. It is, thus, important that we work in schools.
The discussion also highlighted the link between Indo-Pak peace building and inter-religious harmony. In South Asia, there is not just aggressive nationalism but religious fundamentalism and communalism and they are also linked closely. It is, thus, important to keep this aspect in mind and work to address both of them.
Rev. Fr. Joseph Kalathil also stated an important aspect to this project which is the need to be patient and understand that peace is a process. He said, “70 years’ rivalry cannot be diminished in one day. It needs a startup and could lead from less time to 25 years or more. But never give up.”
He and Rev. Fr. John Chathanatt emphasized on the need to initiate. They said that individual effort is crucial. We all have to think about what we can do at an individual level.
The discussion ended with ideas to move ahead together in the path towards peace for a better tomorrow.
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Posted on March 28, 2017, in Events and tagged discussion on peacebuilding, Indopak peace discussion, role of children in peacebuilding, role of youth in peacebuilding. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.