This was the quote that came to mind for me two weeks ago as we completed our latest Gathering, bringing together our young leaders to dream, plan, and collaborate on how to repair a world desperately in need of compassion. This event was a major milestone towards the culmination of the strategy that you’ve helped us create over the past year, and it was a moment when many of those ideas were turned into real possibilities.
In just a couple of months we’ll be taking our next big step forward by launching the Peace First Challenge. A call to action for young people around the world to identify an injustice and find compassionate solutions that break the cycles of violence, hatred, and intolerance that we suffer from. The Challenge will bring together much of our work from the past 20 years, but it also requires that we develop new tools and models for our work.
The recent Gathering was our first large scale test of many of these new elements, and I’m thrilled to say that the results were inspiring. Fifteen of the young peacemakers that we’ve worked with over the past few years came to the Gathering and were invited to be leaders in the community of peacemakers we’ll be building with the Challenge. Their response was amazing as they provided incredible feedback on our launch plans and stepped into their leadership roles with passion and a commitment to help build this community.
We also invited a group of young people from the Boston Area to test out many of the tools that we’ve been developing for the launch of the Challenge. Watching these young people take on complex injustices, work together to develop insights grounded in compassion, and then come up with solutions, made clear that we are on the right track, and their feedback will help shape the tools we deliver later this year.
Much work remains to be done, and this next year will be one of continuous learning for all of us as we launch the Challenge, but one thing is clear to me: an important brick of possibility has been laid on the path to a world where youth peacemaking is the norm. I look forward to continue walking that path together.