A long-term collaboration for youth empowerment: The Art of Living Foundation and Peace Child International
The Art of Living Foundation has signed an MoU with Peace Child International to work on many crucial projects, aimed at empowering young people to rise to the challenge of sustainable lifestyles. Peace Child International is a UK-based charity with a mission to “empower young people”. PCI’s immediate goal is to motivate, inspire, engage and support young people to take action on issues of sustainability and the Green Economy and thereby influence the outcome of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012 – also known as Rio+20 as it the 20th Anniversary of the original Earth Summit, held in Rio in 1992.
The key projects for collaboration are:
The Rio+20 UN Summit on Sustainable Development, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
UN Security-General Ban Ki Moon called this ‘One of the most important meetings in the UN’s History.’ The UN Environment Programme calls it ‘The watershed moment when the world moves from the Brown, fossil-fuelled Economy to the Green, sustainable Economy.’ As Fossil Fuels run out, there is a need to change almost every aspect of our lives, in particular our aspirations. Young people have to rise to the challenge of this transition as they are the ones who are going to have to build and operate this Green Economy. Working with Art of Living, PCI will spread this message widely. Whatever the UN’s Member state governments decide in Rio in June 2012, the youth of the world needs to be prepared to rise to the challenges it represents. Founded in 1981 by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, The Art of Living Foundation is a not-for-profit, educational and humanitarian NGO that operates globally in 151 countries. Hence this partnership would be helpful to reach out to a wider global youth audience.
6th World Youth Congress, Rio de Janeiro, June 2012
An important step along the Road to Rio+20 is the 6th World Youth Congress, to be hosted by the City of Rio de Janeiro and the Government of Brazil with the participation of several UN agencies. PCI is the International Licensee and Secretariat of the WYC series whose purpose is to explore and define the most effective role for youth in the delivery of sustainable development. Art of Living will play a crucial role in working with PCI to organize this event. From urging youth to apply to the Congress to delivering workshops on their approaches to personal and community development, Art of Living will be engaged with wide range responsibilities of the Congress. Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has also been invited to give a Plenary Address to inspire the delegates from 140+ nations who will be attending the Congress. His presence, as it did in Bangalore for the South Asian Youth Conference in May, will raise the spirits and give the youth unquestioning hope and faith in the ability of humanity to conserve its future.
PCI recognizes the fact that the foundation of all development and growth activities whether sustainable or otherwise has to be Peace. Therefore this collaboration intent to build linkages through the World Youth Congresses and other mechanisms to lay the foundations of a peaceful future for the youth of today. The first proposed such collaboration will be a World Youth Congress with young people of the SAARC nations coming together to host the youth of the world as one entity. This thirst for collaborative structures that ensure peace and common security are high on all youth priority lists. It is to be hoped that this collaboration, announced by Peace Child International and Art of Living will help deliver them.
Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Founder of the Art of Living Foundation in his message writes “The tremendous energy and enthusiasm that is a characteristic of the youth has great potential to create a positive transformation in this world. Youth Empowerment has always been one of main areas of focus of the Art of Living from the beginning. I am very happy that Peace Child International shares the same focus. This partnership can prepare the youth to take responsibility to make the world a better, happier, friendlier place and to spread more smiles in this planet.”
Mr. David Woollcombe, Co-Founder and President of Peace Child International in his special message writes “I also find myself more than ever committed to empowering the youth to rise to the multiple and threatening challenges that await us in this century. That is what Peace Child International has done since we launched the organization 30 years ago. It is wonderful to discover that the Art of Living Foundation has almost identical goals – and it is a huge privilege to launch this collaboration with them as we re-double our efforts to engage more young people.”
Mr. David recalls the definition of Art of Living that Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar gave him: “It is like a painting: if you just splash a few lines on a piece of paper, that’s all it is – until someone appreciates it. So it is with living: when you appreciate the miracle of being alive, you will learn the Art of Living.” David believes this appreciation is the first step in the process of empowerment. He expresses his hopes that this collaboration with the Art of Living will be the first step in our journey to save the planet for future generations.