Denmark: New Year Meeting with Ambassadors for Peace
By Nobuhiro Igarashi, UPF Denmark
On January 20th, 2018, we held a New Year meeting with Ambassadors for Peace in our UPF Peace Center in Copenhagen. Among the 14 participants were MP Ulla Sandbæk , Laura Valesin from We Make Peace, a NGO who raises peace awareness and implement peace education in schools, a young politician, a consultant for integration and founder of Nurse Gambia Project. Only three male representatives (from UPF) were present.
During the nicely prepared lunch everybody introduced themselves. All listened so attentively that they almost forgot to eat their lunch and all guests expressed gratitude to be invited.
Our meeting started with a short introduction to UPF and our peace principles, followed by a report of UPF activities in 2017, background and motivation behind our activities and our plan for 2018.
MP Ulla Sandbæk shared about the IAPP events she attended in London, New York, Seoul and Ramallah.
The video “What is an Ambassador for Peace?” showed participants the impact UPF has on the grassroot level all over the world and how individuals can make a difference.
The last part of our program was brainstorming about how we can step up and make better activities in the coming year. Already in our invitation we asked the participants to contribute with their ideas and proposals of how our UPF activities can be best possible as well as suggestions for new initiatives. Laura Valesin showed copies of We Make Peace textbooks for peace education in schools, where they have learning programs, workshops and campaigns to build sustainable, non-violent cultures and communities. Their aim is to reinvent the concept of peace as an ideal for young people to aspire to, to build strong foundations for peace within each individual, in the classroom, and in society. Since 2009 their program has also been piloted in the UK and in the US prior to its official US release in 2013.
Everybody agreed it is important to educate children and youth about peace, tolerance, respect, coexistence etc. and a small group was formed to find ways to enhance this work and raise awareness about this among politicians.
At the end nurse, Mona Nicolaisen, was appointed as our new Ambassador for Peace. She told about how she together with another nurse builds up a charity project in Gambia. Once or twice a year they travel to Gambia with their suitcases and backpacks full of supplies needed in Gambia. They sponsor water drillings for pure water in villages, help children from poor families to attend school, teach especially girls and women about help to self-help, fx how to establish fenced gardens to grow vegetables on their own etc. They make all funding by themselves though selling small homemade things.
The next day during our Sunday Service another guest rang the doorbell, she mistook the date! She attended our UN Day of Peace event last year and wanted to know more about UPF. Again, over lunch we shared about UPFs vision and also about our religious background. She is an author and coach and strongly believes we are living in the age of women with great changes and a paradigm shift.
We look very much forward to develop UPF activities during the coming year.