Scouts are Messengers of Peace
Last month, at the 23rd World Scout Jamboree in Japan, I had the privilege of attending the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony with some 150 Scouts. The memorial commemorated the 70th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and reminded us of the horrors of war. Scouts, united by their wish for peace, presented thousands of Paper Cranes as well as prayers for those who lost their lives.
Today, we celebrate the International Day of Peace, a day devoted to the strengthening of the ideals of peace among all nations and people. The UN-chosen theme, “Partnerships for Peace – Dignity for All”, is most timely and aptly suited given the current circumstances people of the world are facing. There is an urgent need for everyone to come together and collaborate for peace.
The good news is, since the day the Scout Movement was founded by Baden-Powell in 1907, Scouts as Messengers of Peace have been empowered with the necessary knowledge and skills to help those in need.
Scouting’s non-formal education approach cultivates positive values in young people and equips them with lifelong skills in leadership, outdoor and disaster survival, first aid and so much more. We have witnessed how Scouts throughout the world have been working towards creating positive change and establishing peace in their communities in many different ways.
They are supporting the refugee relief efforts in Europe, assisting in earthquake recovery efforts in Nepal, preventing bullying in schools in Ethiopia, encouraging interactions between divided communities in Kashmir, leading social mobilisation initiatives in Ebola-stricken Sierra Leone, and planting mangrove trees to help restore a deteriorating coastal ecosystem along Indonesia’s shores, among others.
So far, over 633,000,000 service hours have been registered from over six million local Messengers of Peace community service projects. I am inspired and heartened to see that young people like you are going all out to make a difference.
Through initiatives such as these, Scouts become advocates of peace. These activities connect people, promote dialogue, establish friendships and strengthen understanding between people – important attributes that foster a culture of equality, tolerance and peace.
To further establish our commitment towards promoting world peace as an organisation, WOSM and the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) have formed a long term partnership to promote intercultural and interreligious dialogues among Scouts and other young people.
However, our work does not stop here. We are already partnering and supporting the United Nations (UN) in its Sustainable Development Goals, and we will continue to form similar partnerships with other organisations.
With 40 million young people in 223 countries and territories, I’m confident that Scouts will achieve one billion service hours in community projects by 2020, driving a huge wave of positive change and peace in the world.
Keep that passion and enthusiasm alive. A better world is within our reach.
My name is Scott Teare.
I am a Scout.
I am a Messenger of Peace.
And I am proud to serve as your Secretary General!