Peacebuilders directors Mario and Marilyn are thrilled to be attending the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Merida, Mexico this week. As part of the PeaceJam delegation, we’re meeting with peacemakers and peace educators from around the world. We’re excited to share what we’re learning! Here are some of the highlights on this first day:
- Opening speakers at the youth conference that is happening in conjunction with the Summit spoke to the theme “Leading by Example.”
- The roll call of delegations introduced us to the many groups who are represented at the youth conference. More than 1000 young people and 180 advisors are here, from five continents.
- The infectious enthusiasm of Chaeli Mycroft set the stage for the next few days. Chaeli is a South African ability activist with cerebral palsy who won the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2011 at age 17. We hope to see more of Chaeli while we’re here!
- Jeremy Courtney, founder of Preemptive Love Coalition, challenged the gathered youth and adults to move beyond fear and create connections with people who do not share our beliefs or perspectives. Living in Iraq for the past 15 years, Jeremy has seen the effects of war firsthand and is committed to building “the largest, most diverse community of peacemakers on the planet.” Only in relationships can we build peace and understanding: “We cannot bomb ideas out of existence.”
- A seminar for educators and advisors introduced us to the work of the Summit to provide resources for peace education.
- 15 busloads of Summit attendees made the 80-km trek to the Mayan ruins at Uxmal. What an extraordinary way to learn about the cultural heritage of this beautiful area! In the heat and humidity, Mario became everyone’s best friend, with his battery-operated fan.
- At an evening reception for the PeaceJam delegation, we ran into Peacebuilders alum Joshua Wortham and his parents. Joshua will be honored later this week with a Billion Acts of Peace Hero award, and we couldn’t be prouder!