Today, the main topic of discussion was sustainable development. Dr. Vendley introduced the role of religious communities in creating a shared vision of peace for the sustainable development agenda. He also stated, “Peace is more than the absence of war,” but also a cultivation of virtues. Essentially, Dr. Vendley believes social institutions could not survive without virtuous people and communities. Reverend Ali stressed the importance of engaging children in developing peace, an important factor in sustainable development. To build equality, she emphasized a cultivation of open-mindedness in children, especially those surrounded by conflict and violence. This encourages collaboration among children, from which society benefits.
Ms. Kader shared her opinion about sustainable development and peace by saying, “It is the right of every human being to live in peace and dignity,” no matter their lifestyle or beliefs, as long as “their decisions aren’t inflicted on others and don’t harm others.” Similarly, Mr. Knotts spoke on the importance of having human rights when discussing peace in sustainable development, noting climate change as a current and future source of conflict in countries, especially when dealing with resources. Ms. McGlone revealed the work of the Peace Boat US, an NGO focused on educating others about global conflict resolution and peace building by inviting speakers aboard their cruise ship to discuss relevant world issues.
Ambassador Garcia discussed three pillars of sustainable development: environmental protection, economic development, and social inclusion. He also explained humane sustainable cities through a cultural peace, which, combined with national institutions, leadership, and global partnership development, can lead to civil society and private sector participation. Ms. Jacob represented youth involvement in the creation of a culture of peace. She wanted to improve the present and change conditions for the future by boosting the level of youth impact in sustainable development and spreading relevant information.
Meeting: CoNGO Committee on Sustainable Development: November General Membership Meeting
Date/Location: 13 November 2014; The United Nations Church Center
Speakers: Co-Chairs: Margo LaZaro & Yvonne O’Neal, Dr. William F. Vendley, Secretary General of Religions for Peace; H.E. Ambassador Carlos Garcia, former Permanent Representative of El Salvador to the Un Founder & CEO of CG Global Consultant; Ms. Sally Kader, Founder & President of the World Federation for Middle East Peace; Mr. Bruce Knotts, Director of the Unitarian Universalist Association, UN Office; Mrs. Emilie McGlone, Director of Peace Board US; Reverend Farida Ali, Principal Representative of the All Pakistan Women’s Association to the UN; Ms. Kamila Jacob, Envoy Coordinator & Youth Representative for UUA-UN Office
Written By WIT Representatives: Daniel Cho, Eman Osagie, and Elise Freeman
Edited by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey