In an ever-changing and rapidly globalizing world, annual Global Youth Peace Fest-GYPF for the young people aims to highlight the importance of global citizenship, encourage development, an optimistic attitude towards self and society, and propagate a feeling of respect and positive curiosity towards the unfamiliar or misunderstood aspects of our society in an ever-diversifying global context. And in the past 18 year's GYPF- our annual Global Youth Peace Fest, has now become a breeding ground for inspiring new ideas, beyond forging lasting friendships across cultures. GYPF provides participating delegates a global platform to meet likeminded people and youth leaders to network and evolve to build a better world.
We envision a world where all people are respected equally, protected fully and realized universally. Included in this vision is a world where all young people – regardless of nationality, ethnicity, religion, class, gender or other differences – are encouraged and empowered to non- violently claim their own rights and serve as advocates for the rights of others.
We believe there are capable young leaders in every global community, who can become catalysts or 'Agents of Change'. Bringing these leaders together through digital applications and inspire transformative change is the mission of the annual Global Youth Peace Fest-GYPF and Global Peace Bridge platform.
Young people around the world remain optimistic that an inclusive, resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is possible. With creativity and dedication, they are helping develop solutions to make sure communities emerge stronger than before from the pandemic. No doubt, it is the young people who have experienced the brunt of the pandemic's impact worldwide. As Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), said “Young people are at less risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19 but will be the most affected by the long-term consequences of the pandemic, which will shape the world they live and work in for decades to come".
Yet, despite these troublesome trends, young people have also been an energetic force at the forefront of developing creative solutions to an inclusive and sustainable pandemic recovery. At GYPF 2023, the organizers would like young people to play a role in every possible element that exists: advocacy, policymaking, research, environment, gender sensitization — from every possible angle”.
GYPF 2023 will bring together young people from diverse backgrounds, religions and nationalities to discuss their experiences and propose solutions for the youths as they foresee their future. This will provide them a platform for increased cross-fertilization of ideas. So that they become true global citizens in thinking and action as well as volunteers to co-create a future equal to their vast potential. The organizers assume that the continuity of organizing GYPF will prove infectious and deﬁnitely help sprout a similar spirit elsewhere.
It was signiﬁcant that the year 2000 had been designated by the United Nations as the International Year for the Culture of Peace. The euphoria generated during this period and the concerns that were expressed also afﬁrmed growing concern over consumerist culture, dwindling moral values, disregard of human concerns and widespread environmental degradation. At that time various international initiatives were taken to involve youth in emerging as change agents. It was a fact that the young were not being effectively involved in these processes. Mahatma Gandhi, who emphasized the importance of the youth being assigned higher roles, said that a society which doesn't ensure youth involvement will have little chance of growth. And in keeping with this spirit, Yuvsatta ﬁrst organized the World Youth Conference on theme of 'Millennium without Violence' in January 2000,
This attempt by Yuvsatta to organize an international event, in which young students from 15 different countries presided, was a success. Guiding the young, were eminent personalities like Sri R. Venkataraman, former President of India, Prof. BR Nanda, prominent historian and senior Gandhians like Prof. KD Gangrade, Prof. N. Radhakrishnan. Organisations like Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti, based in New Delhi in India also published a book on the proceedings of the Conference, which was released by Prof. Moegiadi, then Director of UNESCO, New Delhi ofﬁce. An event of this scale involves a lot of networking with stakeholders, logistics management and ﬁnancial support, which at that time became very difﬁcult for Yuvsatta volunteers and resultantly they were not able to make such an effort again for the next six years.
But this doesn't mean that Yuvsatta volunteers remained silent in between, on the contrary they started the concept of 'Peace-city Chandigarh' with the opening of Peace Clubs in Schools and Colleges of the city. Under this campaign, over 100 “Peace Clubs' were formed in major educational institutions of tricity i.e. Chandigarh-Mohali-Panchkula. Thus, many Principals and teachers in charge of respective Schools and Colleges are dedicating their time and resources to the task of making these clubs vibrant and result oriented. Education of the peace volunteers on the positive aspect of nonviolence through constructive activities, discussions, interactions and effective dialogue is the main focus of the initiative.
In 2006, Yuvsatta volunteers once again made an attempt at organizing an international event by inviting 100 young people from India and Pakistan. This was quite successful in spreading the message that continuity in relationships is essential for better understanding and removal of misgivings. Next year in 2007 participants doubled with over 200 young people gathering from both the neighboring countries of India and Pakistan. The youths were not willing to be mute witnesses to their futures being written-unwritten and destroyed by governments. They were not hesitant to stand up to be counted and they decided to spread their small network to young people from other countries as well, so that man-made barriers can be diminished, which in later years resulted in participation of young people from many countries around the world.
Progressing well into the last edition of the 14th Global Youth Peace Fest-GYPF 2019, over 250 young people from 23 countries of the world participated. After a brief COVID-break the 15th Global Youth Peace Fest-GYPF2022 was successfully organized for the first-time outside India at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in which over 200 young people from 12 countries of the world participated. The GYPF supports and endorses the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
At the GYPF 2023 the focus will be on SDG 17 (Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development), which aims at reﬂection opportunities to renew and integrate efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Our outdated education system that breeds competition over collaboration, educators should consider Goal 17 as a spark for a shift in the mindset. The young people should learn how to develop partnerships and build collective intelligence within their classroom, local community and even in revitalizing international connections.
HOST COUNTRY-SRI LANKA
Sri Lanka is densely populated. The majority of its people are simple, friendly and peace loving. Tourism has traditionally been the third-largest foreign exchange earner in Sri Lanka because of its natural beauty. Now tourism combined with agriculture has created a new pathway: Agritourism. A physical environment of wide-ranging diversity makes Sri Lanka one of the world's most scenic countries. As the home of several ethnic groups, each with its own cultural heritage, Sri Lanka also has a highly varied cultural landscape.