News — January 25, 2019

The Next Step on the Path to Peace

Written by Arrey Obenson

The history of the world teaches us that peace can only be achieved when each person makes a conscious effort to achieve it.

So why do we experience war? Why is it so hard to avoid wars or conflicts before they happen?

Every war, every conflict, every dispute—no matter how long it lasts—usually ends with peace.

For every generation that has faced war or conflict, the hopeful has always been for these disputes to conclude in peace, so the generation to come next can live in harmony. Today’s generation of young active citizens still face war and conflict, but they carry the same hope their parents and grandparents had for them—to live a life absent of war and conflict so the next generation can live in peace and harmony.

Peace is not simply the absence of conflict but the prevalence of justice, equality and opportunity for everyone.

If the world could address the root causes of injustice, inequality and poverty—we could build a more peaceful world. The Peace is Possible campaign aims to draw the world together so we can address these root causes and avoid future conflicts, so we and future generations can live in a more peaceful and prosperous world.

This year, JCI will embark on Act for Peace: The 2019 Peace is Possible World Tour covering 100 countries, with activities in 1000 cities, concluding 10,000 commitments to act for peace and engaging over 1 million people. An audacious goal, but we believe this is achievable for young active citizens around the world. The tour will inspire people to take a variety of actions, such as a random act of kindness, a peace walk, a marathon for peace, a symposium, a play, a dance—any activity that mobilizes people to build peace within their community.

In between being advocates for global peace this year, JCI will also be mobilizing the young people of Africa to join another campaign that aims to create a more peaceful and prosperous continent—the I Am Africa campaign. In the same vein, we will play an active role in engaging young people in Europe with the Step Up For Europe Campaign. Along with Peace is Possible, these campaigns create opportunities for young people to lend a powerful voice in shaping the future of not only Africa and Europe but the world as a whole.

We urge young people to use the JCI Active Citizen Framework to develop grassroots projects that address the challenges within their communities so they can build a more peaceful and prosperous world. As an organization that encourages global sustainable development, we hope to see projects and events that address root causes and empower young people to become actors in creating peace and shaping the future of their communities.

“From within the walls of the soul of this organization wherein the foundation of character and good citizenship are laid, I hope a message will come in the sometime of tomorrow that will stir the people towards the establishment of a permanent and everlasting world peace." 

These are the words of the JCI Founder Henry Giessenbier. Over 100 years later, JCI members from around the world continue to pursue his dream. These words are as relevant today as they were 100 years ago. Now, it is your time! It is time for this generation of young citizens to play your part in fulfilling a dream that has stood the test of time. It is time to move the world closer to this dream. In 2019, we will be advocates and work to make peace possible!

What’s your first step? Commit to making peace possible on the Peace is Possible website so you can stay updated with the Act for Peace: The 2019 Peace is Possible World Tour. The second step is doing your part and hosting a local peace event. Download resources and get inspired for the peace event you will host!

We hope that you join us on this journey this year of being an advocate for peace! I believe that this generation can take the steps toward the path that can make peace possible!

Arrey Obenson
JCI Secretary General

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