Monday, October 12, 2020

Bandung Peace Week 2020

The theme for this year’s Peace Day celebration was “Be the light and peace for the world”, which was commemorated through an event called Bandung Peace Week. Peace Generation in collaboration with Initiatives of Change (IofC) Indonesia organized 7 day-webinars to share and connect with people who commit to promote peace especially during this time of crisis. The international day of peace was established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly.

Bandung Peace Week (BPW) is inspired by the spirit of the Bandung Conference or Asian African Conference in 1955, also by the IofC Hub which was conducted virtually by IofC international. The objectives of the event were to create space for sharing about peace and being a light for others, to inspire each other about good practices in cultivating peace from various contexts and communities, and to network and collaborate for a safe, just, and peaceful world.

The webinars were divided into various themes with creating peace as a cultural issue as the highlight. Through the various themes, we learned to create peace in different ways, starting with simple things and the potential we have.

#Day1 To Be the Light and Peace for the World
#Day2 Family in Peace and Reconciliation
#Day3 Peace and Conflict Reconciliation
#Day4 Creative Peace Education towards Compassionate Schools
#Day5 Youth Creating a Culture of Peace
#Day6 Building Trust, Breaking Divides
#Day7 Celebrating Initiatives

In his welcoming remarks, Irfan Amalee, the co-founder of Peace Generation said, “The global pandemic teaches us to be more optimistic and to think further on how to repackage methods of promoting peace globally. We are grateful that we can still be creative in this challenging situation. During the COVID-19 outbreak, we actively run our programs online, and this makes us able to reach more areas in Indonesia.”

Dewi Safitri Wahab, senior advisor to the Foreign Minister on Social Culture & Indonesian Diaspora Empowerment shared peace as one of the traditions in Indonesia which has been in existence since the establishment of Indonesia, our contribution to world peace including our role as an elected member of the UN Security Council 2019-2020, and synergy and collaboration between government sectors and communities to support our contribution in maintaining peace.

Barbara Lawler, a senior of Initiatives of Change (IofC) Australia said, “We can model this collaboration for the whole world because of the enormous diversity in our two countries, Indonesia and Australia.  Just as we can be the change we want to see in the world, so we can be the peace we want to see in the world. Let us listen deeply and act with integrity.”

Habib Chirzin, former member of the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights shared about his involvement in Human Rights and Peace. “Human rights are conducive to peace, and we can create peace with human rights protection. Collaboration in peace and development programs from NGOs such as IofC need to be expanded.”

“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family”, a quote by Mother Teresa. Several steps of reconciliation in the family are learnt to understand that we are also a part of the problem.  We need to learn to confront the problem and deal with it, and learn to repeatedly exercise the above three steps in our lives.  A quote from one of the speakers, “If I want to see peace in the world, I first must see peace in my family. If I want to see peace in my family, I must first see peace in myself. You cannot change others. You can only change yourself.”

We also thank the support and presence of the audience from various cities in Indonesia and international participants, and here are some testimonies from some of the audience:

I am grateful to join the webinars. I learnt to live my life with a more positive and peaceful mind. Thank you and congratulations to the organizing committee!

One of the highlights from the webinar was the session on creative peace education. Just as the speaker did in her school, I also want to apply reflection times with my colleagues at my workplace.

Both Peace Generation and Initiatives of Change (IofC) should continue this collaboration and organize more inspiring sessions.

I was inspired through a session on Trust Building and I want to be an agent of peace, being part of the solution, not the problem.

In his closing remarks, Erick Lincoln, co-founder of Peace Generation said, “One of my favorite sayings in Initiatives of Change is ‘It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.’ Darkness is the absence of light. Let your small candles shine their light.”

We finally thank all inspiring speakers from academics, practitioners, peace advocates, educators, young activists, musicians, friends from the refugee learning centre in Bogor, all faculty members, and the audience of Bandung Peace Week 2020.

To all honorable speakers who came from Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, India, Rwanda, and Australia, please accept our sincere appreciation for the outstanding presentation and inspired sharing you delivered during the celebration of International Day of Peace. Thank you so much for sharing your time & experience with us. Let's continue this collaboration and fellowship so that we may preserve the culture of peace everywhere.


Yofrina Octika Gultom