Can you introduce Living Peace International?
Living Peace International is an endeavor that contributes to educating children, teens and youths to world citizenship. Starting from themselves, children and young people are opening up to the world, all participating in a network of peace, made up of many small and large cells. This allows giving value to many experiences, initiatives, and ideas of many associations in the world that promote the culture of peace…even in prisons where the project is being launched, it is creating a new culture of peace that brings about new inner freedom! All this has brought out unexpected synergies, the discovery of new goals and horizons, experimental cultural and social methodology, in the perspective of the realization of the common dream of a world where everyone can live in peace, because everyone lives as a brother and sister of others.
How did “Living Peace” start?
This project on peace education had its roots in Egypt in 2011, where I found myself, as a teacher, living the drama of constant wars and conflicts in the Middle East for more than 25 years. I wanted to offer a concrete response to the need for peace.
For this reason, I proposed to 15 children in one of my classes in Cairo to start their day by launching the “Dice of Peace.”
On the six faces of the dice there are no numbers, but only phrases that help build relationships of peace among all. Along with the launch of the dice, “Time Out for Peace” was also proposed, a practice introduced by Chiara Lubich in 1991 during the Gulf War crisis: at 12:00 noon every day, a moment of silence, reflection or prayer for peace was proposed, to give life to and feel oneself part of a “human chain” that binds and embraces the whole world.
After a while, the teachers didn’t make distinctions between the students and sometimes asked for forgiveness for the mistakes they made during the lessons. This favorable climate, consequently, improved the learning level of all.
This obvious change attracted the attention of other teachers and of the headmaster, and soon the whole school had adopted the practice of the “Dice of Peace” and “Time out.” A strong desire to change the way we educate and dialogue among all had literally transformed the school.
Thus the basis of this project began and was later called “Living Peace,” and it soon spread throughout the world, a project developing and expanding more and more, thanks to the creative contribution of all those who, with their commitment, soon became its protagonists.
What makes Living Peace International unique in its purpose and goals?
The simplicity of the basic proposal: a dice of peace, simple phrases to put into practice and remembering regularly to do a prayer or a moment of silence every day at 12 noon for the Time-out for Peace. It is a proposal open to all… involving people of different religion, cultures and social groups. At the same time, it is quite demanding. It requires, first of all, a personal response, of
“getting involved” and going out of oneself, to meet others.
This generates the “creative risk” that brings down the barriers of age, roles, structures, formalisms, because the climate of openness, altruism, mutual respect and solidarity generates new relationships, a new climate, and a new culture, we could say, in which everyone feels free to express himself, to offer his own contribution, and give the best of himself.
Hence, in just 6 years, this project has reached 153 countries and involves more than 600,000 children, youths and children of different cultures and religions. Also, hundreds of films and videos, drawings, poems, theatrical projects, music, games, reflections, experiences, insights, and studies … that have arisen in our brief history, all of these make Living Peace International unique in its purpose and goals.
How do you involve people in your advocacy for world peace?
We propose to all those who adhere to the project the two basic pillars, so that it is always a project of “LIFE” for peace.
- The practice of the Dice of Peace: the school day begins, with students launching the Dice of Peace. On each of the six faces of the dice, there are no numbers, but only some phrases that help build relationships of peace among everyone (love always, love first, love everyone, and know how to listen, forgive each other and love each other). The phrase chosen every day becomes the rule for all to live by: professors, students, and school staff. Then five minutes before the end of the lessons, personal experiences made on the phrases of each Dice of Peace are shared.
- The practice of Time Out for Peace: at 12 noon every day, all schools, universities and groups associated with Living Peace stop for a moment of silence or for a prayer for peace. But we also propose a platform with various peace projects realized in great synergy with the 63 international organizations that have joined Living Peace. They are simple activities planned according to different age groups: peace projects for children, for teenagers and for young university students or workers.
How do you ensure the continuity of your worldwide projects?
Two international events of the year are fundamental for the irradiation of projects and for the commitment to peace: The Run4Unity, a peace event for children and teenagers, as well as the Youth for World Peace Forum, which has already involved more than 10,000 young people in the world (between 17 and 30 years).
During our YWPF last year, for example, with young people from 28 countries, we stayed for 10 days in a Syrian and Iraqi refugee camp in Jordan, living in containers in the same conditions as the refugees, and working with them and for them. It was indeed a great learning experience in an unforgettable peace!
Many Filipino youths attended your Forum for Peace during the Genfest. How do you see the possibility of making them part of this noble endeavor?
During our Youth World Peace Forum, young people from all over the world have given testimonies of how they have committed themselves to create a new culture of peace,sharing their personal experiences and the peace projects that are being carried out with many other young people.
They also presented the Charter of Peace drawn up in Jordan last year at the end of our experience in the refugee camp. The young Filipinos are invited to participate with us in this great project of peace education, to conquer pace in our hearts first and spread it in our everyday environments.
We would like to invite all children, teenagers and young Filipinos to register to Living Peace International, to be part of our large peace network and to receive all the information of the various peace projects that we propose to carry out together. We would like to invite the young Filipinos to be protagonists in the construction of a new culture, the culture of peace, starting with the small gestures of peace of every day and working together locally and globally so that a world of peace and fraternity becomes a reality.
For registration: www.livingpeaceinternational.org
For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Presentation video of Living Peace International: https://youtu.be/oN8mZsv4F3E
Interview by Romeo Pelayo Vital and Roberto Samson
International Prize Awards to Living Peace International
• 2014 Luxembourg Peace Prize by the World Peace Forum, LUXEMBURG
• 2015 Angels of the Culture by the Office of Peace and Inter culture, Augsburg, GERMANY
• 2016 Armonia tra i Popoli, Firenze, ITALY
• 2018 Paloma de la Paz by Mil Milenios de Paz, Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA
• 2018 Unidos por la Paz, Rotary Club International, SPAIN
• 2018 Vigor Award, by the Vigor Awards Int’l Toronto, CANADA
• 2018 Peace – Friendship – Future, by Tianjin Int’l Children’s Culture and Art Festival, CHINA
Among the awards and international nominations to Carlos Palma
- 2013 Ambassador of Peace by the Universal Circle of Peace Ambassadors, FRANCE-SWITZERLAND
- 2014 President of the Youth World Peace Forum, by the WPF, LUXEMBURG
- 2017 Cultural Ambassador Art and Peace by Asorbaex Org. Leganes, SPAIN
- 2018 Peace Leadership Ambassador by the Toronto World Leadership Forum, CANADA