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Coimbatore Peace Festival 2013

On the 6th of August, the Coimbatore Peace Festival was held in Coimbatore City gathering 1300 children and youth from 79 institutions. The Festival, which focused on issues such as ending poverty, building peace and transforming the world, was organized and run by the Youth Section of Shanti Ashram with Arigatou International (GNRC) participating as a knowledge partner. The Coimbatore Peace Festival was conducted following the guiding principles of respect for the sacredness of different religions, cultures and civilizations and interfaith cooperation for social cohesion and development; it stressed the need for piloting peace building initiatives at the local, national and international levels and working with youth as active participants in peace building. 
On this occasion, a Learning to Live Together workshop was conducted for more than 200 children. Participants had the opportunity to learn about the four ethical values of respect, empathy, reconciliation and responsibility.  Through activities of the manual, participants reflected on their own lives and identities and acknowledged the unique identities of others.  With the module on Transforming the World Together of the manual, they could also reflect on the crucial role of reconciliation through role-plays and other activities.

Each year, this simple and yet important initiative that is the Coimbatore Peace Festival, helps the youth of Coimbatore to celebrate initiatives of non-violence and peace. This year, 1500 youth came together to observe the 68th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima as a Day of Prayer and Commitment for Peace, and in addition to the ethics education workshop, intergenerational conversations were held on building peace through service. Thematic cultural representations were also organized by children and youth and the Special Initiative on Poverty Solutions Phase II was launched.


Voices of Young People:

“I am very happy to say that, that we attended this Peace Festival in Coimbatore. The peace festival concert was simply superb. The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki video film made us realize about the people who struggled for life. Then the Students of other schools performed many dramas and skits which said all about peace and unity.

In the Ethics workshop, No words to say about this. Session was enjoyable and memorable. So what i learnt from this session is mainly Responsibility, Unity and Respect. I would also like to say that i could meet new friends and I came to understand others and know about their likes and dislikes from this workshop. I would mainly like to thank all the facilitators and volunteers who helped us a lot and they guided us very well.

From this peace festival we got an idea of starting a food bank which would help the orphans in Chennai. So on monthly basis we will provide them dhal, rice and pulses.....”
- V.S.Thejashwini, 15yrs old, Navadhisa Montessori School. Chennai

"I am blessed to attend the Ethics Workshop in Coimbatore Peace Festival 2013. I was one among the five from our school. The program started with ice breaking session and I was separated from my friends and made us in to groups. I got new friends over there. The facilitator used Diminishing Island Method and enlightened us about the values of Life. I was very pleased to know about “Empathy” and I realized that how i was before and how I have to be now onwards. Thank you so much for the opportunity in participating. The afternoon program was very interesting and the video on bombing was very touching……"
 
- Keerthana.S, 13yrs old, Sundakkamuthur, Coimbatore

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