Young Activists Lead at Religions for Peace World Assembly on Issues of Climate Change and Social Justice

People participate in the Youth Pre-Assembly of Religions for Peace World Assembly on Aug. 19, 2019, in Lindau, Germany. Photo by Christian Flemming/Religions for Peace

On the eve of the 10th — and the largest and most cosmopolitan yet — Religions for Peace World Assembly, young participants in the forum said they are pushing more senior representatives to be more active in addressing issues such as global warming and terrorism.

The young activists are among  the 1,000 attendees, including representatives from religious groups, governments, multilateral organizations and nongovernmental groups, hailing from more than 100 countries, gathered for an international, interfaith event this week.

Organizers said high-ranking officials from more than a dozen major faiths plus various indigenous groups will make the trip to the historic town of Lindau, nestled on a small island near the shore on the German side of Lake Constance.

The assembly will run Tuesday through Friday (Aug. 20-23). But before its formal launch on Tuesday, organizers hosted two special assemblies: one focused on the events for the youngest participants and one for women.

Afterward, representatives from both events gathered for an informal roundtable to discuss their goals for the coming days. For the youngest, the topics to be discussed in Lindau — peace, terrorism, climate change, sustainable development, migration — will have a direct impact on their lives for decades.

“We are the ones who will live with the consequences of the decision the world will make,” said Meera Santosh, a 25-year-old activist from Myanmar.

Santosh said that while the desire to help foster positive change is common, it is difficult to know how to do it.

“That is what makes a forum like this so valuable,” she said. “I really only know what is happening in my country, in Myanmar. But here I can share experiences and learn and grow and make new contacts. We all come out ahead.”

Santosh said it was helpful that participants from her generation come into the process with “fresh eyes” that can help them see challenging problems in a new way.

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Source: Religion News Service