Center for Peace and Justice, Brac University along with UN Women arranged an online ‘Peace Adda’ as part of their commemoration of the International Day of Peace 2021. This year’s theme was “Recovering Better for an Equitable and Sustainable World”. The focal objective of this celebration was to learn the youth aspirations, achievements, challenges and ways forward to making a peaceful and socially more cohesive Bangladesh. This also aimed at showcasing the WPC activities and addressing effective aspects of peace building in our country.
The moderator, Raunak Jahan Moushi, Project Assistant of CPJ started the event welcoming and wishing all a very happy International Peace Day. Briefing shortly on CPJ and its peace building activities in support with UN Women, she then quickly shared the floor with Hon’ble Executive Director of CPJ, Manzoor Hasan OBE to let him deliver his opening remars.
Manzoor Hasan OBE, sharing his own view of what he means by ‘peace’ commenced his main speech. He then quickly mentioned some of the country’s impressive progresses on the issues of Peace and Development like climbing up seven notches in the Global Peace Index of 2021, graduation from LDC to developing countries, etc. After that, he focused on the challenges that impede the guarantee of a peaceful and social cohesive society for example, the current extensive existence of the refugee camps, social safety, security and mobility barrier to the women and the other marginalized communities, the increase in child marriage, national unemployment rate, etc. He concluded his remark section pointing out some significant learning and recommendations from this Peace Café initiative gathered till date.
Gitanjali Singh, Head of Office, UN Women Bangladesh in her opening remarks, noted out the active online engagement of the young peace builders during this whole trying pandemic time. Sharing from the amazing journey of Raunak Jahan Moushi, one of the Women Peace Café members form Begum Rokeya University with UN Women peace-building initiatives, she stressed the immense importance of the youths engaging themselves actively in their own community to ensure the promotion of peace, social cohesion and gender equality in the society. She concluded her speech quoting from the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres’, “Peace is not a naïve dream. It’s a light in the darkness. Guiding us to the only pathway to a better future for humanity. Let’s walk the pathway of peace as if our lives depended on it. Because they do”.
At this part of the program, a short presentation on Women Peace Café and Peace Ambassador Initiatives were delivered by Muhammad Badiuzzaman, Research Coordinator of CPJ, Zia Uddin, Project Manager of CPJ and Muhammad Ubaidul Haque, Project Associate of CPJ in order to familiarize the participants and the viewers on the vision and missions of CPJ and Peace Cafés as active peace building endeavors in the context of Bangladesh.
The panel discussion session was moderated by Mahmuda Sultana Shorna. It was an interactive and enjoyable session as all the young discussants along with the moderator started to share their individual thoughts and ideas on peace in an ‘ask and answer’ mode. Farhana Haque Flora, Sunzida Islam, Sharmin Sultana Medha, Rabeya Akter Sathi who were from different Peace Café initiatives of Dhaka University, Brac University, Begum Rokeya University and Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University. Throughout the discussion, they tried to identify and speculate on the issues related to Peace and Social Cohesion -barriers and challenges for peace at the local, national and international levels; what should be done to promote peace and social cohesion in our societies; Covid-19 and peace building process etc.
Professor Dr. AHM Mustafizur Rahman, Vice-Chancellor of Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University was chief guest of the Peace Adda. In his speech as the Chief Guest, emphasized all the participants on being a good and just human being to help contribute in this continuous process. He appreciated the youth leaders on learning how to be the persons of justice in accordance with the ideals of our Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman with the help of the initiatives from UN Women and CPJ. In his own saying, “In order to build a peaceful Bangladesh and world you need to build a peaceful family with no discrimination between boys and girls. Only then we can make a peaceful Bangladesh and that will lead to the ultimate making of a peaceful and socially cohesive world.” He concluded by expressing his interest and assurance on behalf of the JKKNIU family is always co-operating with this initiative whenever needed.
After this, a photo book named – “THE POWER OF WOMEN”, was officially launched that is soon to be available in hard copies and currently available on the CPJ website and social media. This section was run by Md. Wahidul Islam, Communications Officer of CPJ. This Photo Book displays the top submissions of a Photography, Art and Short Video Contest from all categories, selected from a range of excellent works from very talented youth artists across the country.
Shortly after this, a magazine named “Oikotan’’ by Ahikur Rahman Shoikat was launched. This portion was nicely facilitated by Rahat Ara Risti. This book stems from the experiences and thoughts of the writers, their journeys with vouching for women empowerment and development across the country and abroad.
Tania Sharmin, the Programme Analyst, Women Peace and Security from UN Women concluded the session with the vote of thanks to everyone that has worked hard to make this event a successful one. She congratulated the young leaders on their amazing endeavors all along on this Peace Café initiative and aspired to continue working with them in the future, too with the support of CPJ.
The key objective of the event was to showcase and highlight the Women Peace Café Initiatives and achievements. This virtual Program was broadcast live and got 1.6K views so far, 4.3K people reached with an active engagement through around 181 comments by peace-builders from different parts of the world meaning the event actually crossed many minds and helped to organize and re-organize their own understandings of peace and justice and being able to provide them with some real food for thoughts in this regard. To watch the full recorded session, visit: https://www.facebook.com/cpj.bracu/videos/286051403024516
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