12 scouts from different regions of WOSM are participating in the International Youth Conference on “Youth Volunteering and Dialogue”, which is currently being held in Saudi Arabia, Jeddah, from the 3rd to the 5th of December. The first day of the conference has just finished. It was full of intensive sessions and intercultural experiences. Firstly, all the participants were greeted by Minister of Education of Saudi Arabia, His Highness Prince Faisal bin Abdullah who outlined the importance of learning to live together, moving from a culture of dialogue to culture of peace. Mr. Faisal bin Abdurrahman bin Muammar also spoke, and Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, inspired us by sharing the thought that “peace doesn’t happen automatically”. Every person’s commitment is needed for creating peace, working on sustainable development and creating world a better place by spreading the message of peace.
There were three sessions held today. In “International Youth Volunteering Background: Dialogue in Action”, the Director of the World Scout Foundation Mr. John Geoghegan was one of the speakers. In the context of United Nations Volunteers, ISESCO, ALESCO and UNESCO giving an input to volunteering, and the spice of scouting and understanding in a practical way, the idea that “every other is my brother” was really appreciated. Young people need opportunity to be trusted. Scouting values of being tolerant, open-minded, prepared to learn were also shared with all present.
The second session “Youth Volunteering and Promoting a Culture of Dialogue” was moderated by Mr. Esben Holager, Youth advisor for WOSM. There were concrete personal experiences and ideas shared and spread. Ms. May Almutairy (Saudi Arabia) presented an idea of implemented project of "Dialogue caravan". Ms. Sarah Mohammad Al Ghazou (Jordan) talked about her volunteering experiences in Unated Nations, and Mr. Mohamed Mesic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) shared his experiences in volunteering which has started when he was a teenager. He spoke of war, and creating playgrounds for children, deepening their commitment to the society, and strengthening their sense of community. According to him, “dialogue is idea behind the action”. Ms. Tatjana (Latvia) shared her experience of taking part in World Heritage volunteer programme. It started less than 5 years ago: work in summer camps brought her to China, which allowed her to fulfil her dream and passion of travelling and being useful to society at the same time.
During the third session “Youth Volunteering, Peace- Building and Humanitarian Assistance” we saw some examples from Sierra Leone, Zembabwe, Kuwait, Bangladesh given. Mr. Munir Ahmed Bhuiyan (one of the scout representatives of WOSM) presented the troubles and issues which Bangladesh, his country, faces because of nature disasters. Volunteers there are needed even for counting and recognizing dead bodies.
Young people, our leaders of today for tomorrow, need to TALK to each other. What we need to understand is that the time for acting and creating the future is now. And as it was said today: “Peace should be not a fairytale, but life. Young people are the old people of tomorrow”. Let’s take these great ideas and work to create a better world!