I’m currently in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, representing World Scouting at the International Youth Conference on Volunteering and Dialogue (3rd – 5th December). One of the keynote speakers in the opening session on Tuesday was John Geoghegan, Director of the World Scout Foundation, who addressed us all with an inspirational speech. Here are some excerpts from his speech:
“My first experience in dialogue was 40 years ago as a young Catholic in Ireland going from the south to meet with the Protestants in the north. I learnt that the other is my brother. That experience changed my life completely. It served me in Bosnia and Herzegovina later when I was in Red Cross and remained with me as a great learning for the 40 years since.”
“I thank Prince Faisal for inspiring the work of millions of Scouts through the Messengers of Peace.”
“What we learnt from Messengers of Peace (and it has value not only for Scouts):
- Training for leadership is vital, helps young people to be prepared for future roles in their lives
- Young people need to be trusted. They need to be given the opportunities to do and learn.
- Training in dialogue is vital for anyone and not just those in situations of conflict
- Connectivity and connections are key in today's world of social media, Internet and Information Communications Technology (ICT). Social media has helped break the digital barrier by people from all backgrounds pushing for access to Internet - through inexpensive smart phones even if one cannot afford a personal computer.”
Here’s to a fantastic opening day, I’m really looking forward to the rest of the conference!