Young Peace Ambassadors from Wales attended a peace and human rights conference in Colonge from 13-16 April 2023.
EUFOR is an annual event that unites representatives from many European branches of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation. During this event, participants convene to discuss issues, share news, and engage in peace activities. This year’s event focused on amplifying the voices of young people..
Two of these Young Peace Ambassadors gave presentations at the event. They discussed their role as Peace Ambassadors and the work they do, as well as their ideas as to what can be done to further peace and human rights in Wales.
“They took a lively part in all the discussions and were a valuable and much appreciated part of the conference.”Jane Harries, Peace Education Manager, WCIA
These Young Peace Ambassadors said that they had learnt a lot from their time at the event.
“I have learnt a lot over the weekend, and it was really interesting to see what other countries are doing and what the peace environment is like for other people.”Qahira (Age 16 – A Young Peace Ambassador).
Discussions at the event covered various key topics: countering military influence in schools, promoting non-violent training, advocating for conscientious objectors and protesting against nuclear weapons. Participants proposed effective strategies, such as grassroots outreach, lobbying parliamentary representatives and pressuring governments to support UN resolution for nuclear disarmament, as means to campaign for peace-related issues.
Branches expressed concern over the rise in militarism within their societies following the Ukraine war. They attributed this trend to the absence of proactive peacebuilding measures.
This year’s gathering took place at the Tagungs- und Gästehaus St Georg, Cologne. Cologne is a city of historical significance to the movement, as it was where, at the start of World War 1, the pacifists Henry Hodgkin and Friedrich Schultz made a pact to never be enemies. This event marked the beginning of the FOR (meaning) movement, which later evolved into an international organisation (EUFOR)