Kristina, aged 15

You can contribute to peace: what actions are you taking in your surroundings, your school, your city or at the international level. 

Peace

Jade is a lovely little girl aged fourteen. She goes to school in Canada and loves it very much. She has long brown hair and bright hazel eyes. Jade is a really sweet, original and giving little girl. She is also very generous and loves to help people. Jade really cares about the environment surrounding her and she believes in respect. She thinks it is really important for people to respect each other otherwise there will be no peace in the world.

Every day, she goes to school like everyone else with a positive feeling. When she arrives there, she sees her best friend, Tessa, and they both play together and learn at the same time. When she comes back from school, she walks her dog Buddy to the park. She throws his ball in the air and he comes back with it in his mouth, his tail waving so happily. When she is in the park and sees garbage on the ground she picks it up and throws it in the bin to make her environment cleaner.

Jade is always willing to help people, especially her family because she really appreciates what they do for her. At school, she never lets people fight because she thinks it’s not right. If this does happen at any time, she always solves the conflict because she thinks that is the right thing to do. After her classes, she tutors little children in math; her way of teaching is fun for both her and the child she is tutoring. She also takes part in the debate club and other competitions; this is one of her strongest sides. She is not scared of public speaking; in fact she really enjoys it because then you are able to express yourself in front of many people who listen to what you are saying.

Once a week, Jade goes to help old people in a retirement house not far from the city. She serves them coffee with some cookies in the afternoon and brings Buddy along with her because she knows he makes people really happy. When she comes back home, she has a little bit of homework to do. She enjoys her life but how does she manage all of that work? Jade thinks that if you are forced to do something and you do it because you just have to do it, there is no point, but if you do things that come from your heart and your willingness to help, you will always be successful no matter what.

People think that when there aren’t any wars in the world there will always be peace, but the fact that there is no war does not make the world peaceful. Peace also means to accept differences, to accept other people, other colours, to accept cultures, religions. Peace means to accept different countries, accept the fact that you may have less than other people but you are still the same, differences in rich and poor. Jade is really blessed that she lives in a world without fear and war, but she believes that the world can still use more involvement of people and their contribution to making the world a better place with acceptance of differences.

Jade understands all these things, and it seems to her that as much as she is helping and trying to make peace in the world she is living in, not everyone is aware of the inequalities there are. So, she decides to gather as much people as she can and talk to them about differences and how to make a change. Everyone can make a change in their lives, it doesn’t matter if the change is small or big, every bit counts. If everyone was ready to accept the fact that we are all different, if they were willing to stop and think for the well being of others and of how they could change their ways responsibly, the world could be a better place for everyone. She told the people to spread the word and to think about what they have done for others in the past years. By doing this, she hoped to get the people thinking about these important things that really matter in life. She was proud of the message she brought through and was sure that if every single person was ready to take the initiative to make a change, her goal of making people aware of what peace really is would be achieved!

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Lara, aged 16

From your point of view, who embodies action for peace and how? Inspire yourself with a personality or someone from your entourage.

The Dalai Lama is the temporal and spiritual leader of the Tibetan people; he received the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award, the Raoul Wallenberg Congressional Human Rights Award and the Nobel Peace Prize. He is a man who embodies actions of peace. The Dalai Lama is a Buddhist and a guru; he is thought to be the reincarnation of a series of many spiritual leaders, chosen specifically to enlighten the lives of other humans. I am very inspired by his personality, role in society and actions. “How can we expect to find happiness and meaning in our lives when the modern world seems such an unhappy place?” says the Dalai Lama, in the book ‘the art of happiness in a troubled world’, by Howard C. Cutler. I agree with this statement: how can we embody actions of peace and be peaceful when our surroundings suffer from war all the time? People tend to analyze the negative things in their lives instead of focusing on the positive ones. I have chosen to write my essay about the Dalai Lama, of whom I am greatly inspired by; my reflections and opinions are based on his sayings and teachings.

War: when a human who has no self-control over his behavior does not get what he wishes for or seeks, and reacts with violence. This could be in a one-on-one argument, or one country against another. When humans do not understand each other or have no respect towards one another, it causes problems. The Dalai Lama says ‘the best way to overcome difficulties is to rely on human understanding and respect’. People need to learn how to respect each other. One of the main teachings of Buddhism is to reach inner peace. If everyone reached inner peace, it would be a world with no one needing to hurt each other, and without jealousy, which is a cause of war. War is caused by conflict, which is generally triggered by a simple misunderstanding, and all we need is respect and a determination for peace to overcome this state of anger.

Many people look at life simply, seeing everything as either black or white. Other people look at life from another point of view and see shades of grey. Every peaceful action leads to peace. But what is peace? Is there a state that the world could attain and be one hundred percent peaceful? If people were more open-minded and accepting of each other, this would be an action that embodies peace. ‘The only true guardian of peace lies within: a state of concern and responsibility for your own future and an altruistic concern for the well being of others’, says the Dalai Lama. If everyone reached a state where they felt peaceful within their own definition of peace, and others accepted it, then we would reach our goal.

Humans have basic needs that fulfilled does not lead them to wish for more. These needs and qualities are tolerance, compassion, acceptance, kindness and love. ‘Without basic human qualities such as love, compassion, and kindness, we cannot survive. They are essential to our own peace and mental stability,’ quotes the Dalai Lama. A human who feels loved and is able to love will feel more happy and peaceful than a human who lives without it. If people were more curious about their environment they would feel more relaxed and at peace with it, which would help them feel more understanding of other cultures and environments.

Having peace of mind will help one embody actions of peace. If you learn to be tolerant, and take the time to understand and respect people, you will be on the path leading to peace of mind, meaning you feel comfortable with your mind and body. ‘This peace of mind is central to what we are looking for in life. It determines the attitude we have towards the world, and towards our neighbors and our enemies too.’ Attitude. That is the answer. Everyone needs to adopt a better attitude towards his or her surroundings, and not take anything for granted. Taking things for granted, and not being grateful, leads to unhappiness and disappointment. You never know how much something means to you until you lose it; this is a famous quote and very true. If everyone made a small effort, and took the time to analyze what they truly wanted in life, no one would choose war. But many people do not have the patience to make this decision. People say they have patience, though most do not wish to acknowledge the fact that they don’t. Many people want what they want, and the fastest yet cruelest way to get it is by hurting and killing. It is hard to understand someone’s mind that works like this. Several people will blame this on a lack of education, when it really comes down to the way one feels about him or herself, furthermore a way to take out one’s frustrations. Individuals and cultures are frustrated because they think that they need what other cultures have in order to be happy.

According to Buddhism and the Fourth Nobel Truth, there is an end to suffering, ‘The path to the cessation of suffering’. This path is based on self-improvement, and leads to the end of the cycle of rebirth. It is believed that every time you are reincarnated, it is to undergo karmic conditions. The goal is to be enlightened; then you will have broken the cycle of rebirth. Once you reach this stage you are in Nirvana, where everything is peaceful and perfect. Many Buddhists try to reach this stage my meditation: clearing your mind of thoughts. If everyone tried to embrace the values of tolerance, acceptance and compassion there would be worldwide peace. I am impressed that the Dalai Lama has devoted his life to educating, lecturing and helping humanity throughout the world to come to peace with itself; a life dedicated to attaining peace.

In conclusion, the Dalai Lama represents peace, and I am very inspired by his work and teachings. He has changed many people’s lives, he has helped numerous countries and his beliefs are well-rounded and very interesting to study. Buddhism fascinates me; I find it interesting since it is linked to nature and it’s approach to humans is remarkable. The Dalai Lama believes that everything is connected; we need to be at peace with nature and with our environment, not only with each other. Instead of attacking and destroying our environment we need to respect and listen to it. Too many people see the environment as hostile, which takes away from feelings of peace. If humans worked together cooperatively towards a better world, in love and kindness, acceptance and respect, we would reach a state of peace throughout the world.

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Liv, 13 ans

On ne le réalise peut-être pas,
Mais plein d’actions de paix viennent de toi et de moi.
Dans nos vies de tous les jours,
Quand nous jouons dans la cour,
Quand nous sommes assis derrière un bureau,
Ou quand nous mangeons dans le préau.
D’avoir aidé un enfant qui est tombé,
Ou d’avoir laissé sa place à un handicapé,
D’avoir fait une donation pour une charité,
D’avoir soigné quelqu’un de blessé.
Toutes les petites choses faites par les p’tites gens,
Peuvent changer la face du monde en un instant.
Il faut prendre exemple sur tous ces êtres altruistes,
Qui ont un grand cœur à partager.
Ils ont amélioré notre monde avec leur générosité,
Et on doit les en remercier.
On est tous une grande famille,
Et nous devons nous soutenir même quand nous n’en avons pas envie.
Nous, les humains, sommes les gens qui créent la valeur de la paix,
Unissons-nous pour des actes concrets.
Ensemble nous devons réaliser le vœu,
Que le monde soit paisible pour nous et pour eux.

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Lukas, aged 16

“Our work for peace must begin within the private world of each one of us. To build a world without fear, we must be without fear. To build a world of justice, we must be just.” – Dag Hammarskjöld. 

Peace is important, what were the dangers to peace by 1949? The World War II had ended four years ago, the allies had fallen apart, the superpowers, USSR and USA had actually become enemies, the cold war had started. The times didn’t seem peaceful at all.

The USA and USSR have fallen apart because at the end of WWII, the USSR has taken over the whole Eastern Europe, saying that they need a sphere of influence, a buffer zone in case that Germany rises back and tries attacking the USSR like they did before. USA sees this as a start to the spread of communism, which, if not stopped, might spread all over the world. President Truman proclaims the policy of containment; he starts by sending help and reinforcements to Western Europe, especially to Germany, who was absolutely crippled and broken apart after the WWII , and also was on the border to Soviet sphere of influence, an obvious next target for the spreading Communism.

In 1949, after the Berlin blockade, which was the first test for containment, war was a real possibility. When the matters were at there worst, the western powers met in Washington and signed an agreement to work together, NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) was formed. The world now was more or less divided into to parts, USA and NATO against USSR and the satellite states under Soviet control.

Containment proved to be a successful policy, but there were recurrent tests for it over the period. The first one was the Berlin blockade, later on came the Korean War, where the communist North clashed with the capitalist South. The United Nations decided to push the communists to the 38th parallel and leave the border there, but General MacArthur disobeyed orders and came right to the border of China. The Chinese helped North Koreans to defend themselves and pushed the UN forces back, a stalemate was reached around the 38th parallel.

From 1955, the cold war entered a new phase; N. Khrushchev replaced J. Stalin after the latter passed away in 1953. The new Soviet leader was more keen to talk it out, try to solve it in a peaceful way. However peace talks were to no avail and also Khrushchev’s actions in Eastern Europe were constantly reminding of the evils of communism. Communist forces brutally stopped protests in Poland and Hungary, the Berlin wall was built.

From 1949 the two superpowers were engaged in an arms race, both USA and USSR were inventing new weapons, trying them out and showing of to each other, trying to scare the other away, or waiting for the opponent to run out of money, facilities and other resources. After the Cuban missile crisis, in 1963, USA and USSR signed the nuclear test ban treaty in Moscow, agreeing not to test any more new nuclear weapons. People didn’t feel safe; USA and USSR had so many weapons pointed at each other that they could have destroyed each other many times over and even destroyed the Planet.

Even though no outright armed conflict or bloodshed between the USA and USSR had been experienced, the times after the World War II were not peaceful at all, many people died in Korea, Vietnam and Cuba and other proxy wars, caused by the conflict between the two superpowers. Both USA and USSR lost huge amounts of money and resources in competing each other. The cold war finally ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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Luke, aged 12

“Our work for peace must begin within the private world of each one of us. To build a world without fear, we must be without fear. To build a world of justice, we must be just.” – Dag Hammarskjöld

A fight for Peace

When I was a boy I lived in Pakistan, there was much conflict between the government and the civilians over democracy. My dad was a part of this civil war against the government. At the time I was only seven and I didn’t understand what was going on. When I was nine my dad was shot by one of the soldiers, then about a month after that some soldiers from the UN came to try and help with the situation. There would be the occasional gun fire and sometimes a person would get in the way and be shot, sometimes they would drop a bomb which would kill both the enemy and the civilian’s. One blew my best friends leg off, but a least it didn’t kill him. Sometimes I would think to myself “is this right?”, and then I would think what I could do to stop all this conflict. Sometimes I would think about this for hours other times I would go and play with my friends, but one day I thought what if somebody just try to reason with the government, talk some sense, then it would all be over and there wouldn’t have to be anymore conflict, people would stop dying unnecessarily.

When I was sixteen I started to form a group of people who wanted to stop all this conflict. So we tried to plan a speech to change what the government thought about us and ask why they are killing us. We knew that this would take a lot of planning and thought and we knew it had to be perfect, and then we thought about how and who would present it and it was decided it would be me. By then we had been thinking about it for two years and it was all coming together we just had to figure out how to get in to the government building. This took a long time. At first we tried to reason with the guards unfortunately they threatened to shoot us so we had to think again, this time we sent a letter but they rejected, then we had an idea what if we sent the speech on a letter so we did, and then we were called in to speak.

At this point I am twenty and finally the plan has all come together and we are in the government building, all knowing that we have just one shot. When we walked in there was a man in a chair, he was the president, and we were asked to sit down so we went to sit down. When we sat down there was a lot of tension in the air, then he asked us what we wanted, there was silence for a moment, then I said “we don’t like the conflict, too many innocent people are dying”, then once again there was silence. Then he said “well are you willing to reason with me?”, instantly I said “yes”, so we started discussing the terms and he asked us what we wanted. We said “we just want our say in things”. Then he said “If I accept this you this you will stop killing my men?” And we agreed. So soon enough the fighting stopped. This experience of helping people solve their problems motivated me to start a career into helping other countries solve problems without violence, and help to create world peace.

When I was twenty five I was just starting to work at the UN, and I was well known for stopping the civil war in Pakistan, and right now I am about to fly Korea to help stop the civil war about the farming between the north and the south Korea because the people from north Korea want to take their cows down to south Korea. I knew it would be a long and bumpy flight so I brought a book to read to pass the time, when we got into the air I started to read, but it was hard to read with all the noise. Knowing I could not create peace in the cabin I tried my best to ignore the noise but the turbulence was making it harder to read so I started to talk to the person next to me to pass the time. By the time we landed I was very tired so I went to my hotel room and had a nap, but I knew I could not sleep for too long because I had a very important meeting to attend to.

By the time I woke up I had only had two and a half hours sleep but I still was not as tired as before. So I made my way to the meeting. When I got there I was greeted with kindness. When we were walking through I was very intrigued by all the beautiful paintings and patterns. When we got to the meeting there was the governor of North Korea and the governor of South Korea. I was about five minutes late and they had already started to talk. When I sat down I was offered a drink, so I asked for water, trying not to be too much of a bother. We started discussing about what we could do to stop the conflict, in the end I said that if the two countries become one big country there would not be conflict about farming meaning anyone can farm anywhere, this took a while to take action but in the end it worked out fine, this was my fourth accomplishment and I remember how good it felt.

Now to present date I am thirty two and I still remember the speech/letter I sent that started everything in my life and many other people’s lives. It was what has helped me through the years and when I am about to go into a meeting I think it to myself.

“This war you have created is doing no good for anyone; all you are doing is killing innocent people who just want peace and democracy to create a better life for themselves and generations to come. And if you can’t understand what I am saying then you are killing your own men and the innocent.”

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Marc, aged 13

Projet pour la paix

Nelson Mandela n’a pas reçu le prix Nobel de la paix pour n’importe quelle raison. Il a été emprisonné pour une raison injuste : d’avoir réclamé qu’un homme noir ou blanc ait les mêmes droits dans son pays, l’Afrique du Sud. Il a passé des années entières en prison, a être torturé mais lui, sage et innocent, il a écrit sur la paix. Après toutes ces années affreuses en prison, il devint le président d’Afrique du Sud. Il ne se vengea point contre le gouvernement d’avant qui l’ avait condamné, mais il a été plus proche des Noirs que des Blancs. C’est comme ca qu’il a reçu le Prix Nobel de la Paix.

Dans le monde, la paix n’est encore présente partout. Tout le monde n’est pas traité respectueusement, tout le monde ne respecte pas tous les humains. Par exemple, l’esclavage est encore présent dans les quatre coins du monde Il faudrait que tout le monde dise stop au racisme pour qu’il n’y ait plus de conflits politiques ni de guerres pour des questions de religion. Chaque être humain devrait être respecté dans le monde entier. Tout le monde devrait être libre de s’exprimer et de respecter las avis des autres. La paix est la solution pour tout.

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Matt, aged 13

“You have not done enough, you have never done enough, as long as there is still something to which you can contribute.” – Dag Hammarskjöld

African dawn, no chanting, no death call.
A strange and aery silence has fallen in the presence of the rising sun.
Only the tall yellow elephant grass shushes it’s drying seed heads, in the pollen scented breeze.
On the ground mutilated and torn bodies lie; the old grey father once so proud his ivory tusks still now, the only movement the play of light upon them.
His glorious cow elephant lying next to him with unseeing eyes, her baby torn in two.
All casualties of a war now ended.

Land mines cruel and un-distinguishing.
Matabilie, Shona Tribes or any unlucky species. Some will thrive no matter.
The arms dealer who sells to keep the fragile peace. The poacher to hack the Ivory.
Of you and me my brother of the warrior blood, just silence now.
We must sanitise our land of the unseeing mines that kill even in peace time.
My Africa, never changing yet ever changing. My land so torn apart by tribal bloody civil war, silent and united in grief.

These nations that must live in peace and rest in shame together.
Side by side to beg once more in countries beyond the sea.
The white men who took our people as slaves, our gold for money and our diamonds for ornaments on rich white fingers.
We will come to you for the sake of peace, to keep the hope of peace alive.
Tribal peace, fragile, resentful, anger and old grudges trapped by need.
Peace, a glass bottle left lying in the grass it might ignite into war once more, oh my forefathers spirits protect our peace.

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