Peace Starts With Me – International Youth Assembly
By Joshua McGuigan (April 28th 2018, Wiener Stadhalle)
Over 800 young people from over 50 nations gather centering on the theme of “Peace Starts With Me”, while celebrating creativity and diversity through the arts and music.
In the heart of Vienna, capital of Austria, young individuals gathered from across Europe to participate in an assembly which aimed to both empower and inspire them to bring about positive change. In troublesome times, the need for young people to stand up and take responsibility is needed more than ever, which makes this assembly greatly appreciated.
Once the doors opened, the young people poured into the Wiener Stabhalle, creating a buzz of positive energy as friends reunited and people made new acquaintances. MC, Jonathan Makkonen, warmly welcomed participates before giving an overview of the packed schedule ahead.
The first of three entertainment acts planned for the event, Victor Yugire – from the UK – performed an emotional rendition of his own song, titled “Amen”. The performance raised the bar high for performances to come and set a warm tone for the proceedings to follow.
Next on the agenda: three distinguished young individuals gave speeches on their experiences in striving for peace. Mr. Ali Can, author and activist, spoke first on the importance of breaking down cultural barriers. “If you want peace, listen for the sake of listening. Everyone has a voice to be heard,” he said. “Respect is the main aspect of peace.”
“Peace starts with me means to reflect on your attitude.”
The second speaker, Dr. Alma Zadic, Austrian lawyer and member of Parliament, spoke about her challenges while growing up as a refugee and how she overcome these difficulties.
“I wanted to show to everyone, no matter where you come from, you can reach wherever you want to.” she said.
The third speaker, Matteo Bergamini, founder of Shout Out UK, provided valuable insight on the importance of young people discussing and sharing their views and opinions. “You can be peaceful and still discuss, debate. And for me it’s very important do to that,” he said. “For me, peace means dialogue and courage.” These words echoed through the grand hall, which invigorated listeners as Matteo’s words deeply resonated with many of the participants.
The next activity – titled “World Café” – allowed participants to mingle with follow attendees and discuss topics such as “Peace and Education”, “Peace and family” and “Arts and Culture”.
A coffee break allowed the participants to continue with their discussions and catch-up with friends.
The second part of the assembly began with Aeso Friesacher – accomplish musician – who performed a moving performance of Michael Jackson’s “Heal The World”.
Dr. Robert Kittel, International President Of YSP was invited on stage to introduce the launch of “YSP – Youth And Students For Peace.” He said: “The essence of who we are comes from strong, irrefutable love relationships.”
The keynote speech came next, delivered by International FFWPU Chair – Sun Jin Moon. “We seek peace and fulfillment but often search for it in the wrong places.”
“Where is the love? Where is the peace?”
“We must raise the bar. We must live for love, peace and prosperity.”
“We must march and join together as one family under God.”
She recited Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s famous “Crown Of Glory” poem with sincerity, deeply stirring the hearts of attendees.
“Only practice makes perfect. We need a growth process.”
Mrs. Sun Jin Moon proceeded to lead a “Crown Of Glory Mediation” session.
The musical talent continued to amaze as Victor Yugire once again took to the stage before Laureen Mobo, from Germany, performed two songs titled “Unity” and “Lord Forgive Us”.
The next performers – WAIT UK – were younger than those who proceeded them, yet they still managed to impress with their elaboration dance routine.
An ensemble of performing artists from across Eastern Europe came next to offer a variety of entertaining acts.
To close the assembly, WAIT UK once again graced the main stage, to sing “This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman”, ending the event in a tremendous fashion.