Youth can play a vital role in peacemaking, which is a prophetic work, says International Ambassador for Peace M.A. Najeeb in a conversation with S M Fasiullah. He advises youngsters to become peacemakers in everyday life.
- ‘Peace ambassador’ sounds good. But what does a peace ambassador do?
International Ambassador for Peace designation is given by UPF International – Office of the United Nations, a think tank of the UN. This honor is given to high profile personalities such as Presidents, Prime Ministers, Governors, and First Ladies.
Among those who received this honor are: President of Nepal H.E. Bidhya Devi Bhandari, Former President of Nigeria H.E. Dr. Good Luck Jonathen, Former Secretary General of the UN Mr. Kofi Annan, President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, and Minister of State for Prime Minister Narendra Modi Office Dr. Jetindar Singh.
Peace ambassadors support and promote the work of United Nations around the globe. UPF International has a council of peace ambassadors with peace embassies in over 150 countries.
- What type of activities peace ambassadors involve in?
We go on peace missions in countries and regions where there’s unrest. A peace mission is planned and executed at UPF level with peace ambassadors as its front runners. Ours is mission based work. We try to bring two or more nations in conflict on a common platform for dialogue to resolve issues. We listen to both sides and try to bridge the gap.
- Students and youngsters would be interested to know how you became International Peace Ambassador.
Apart from high profile people, this prestigious position is also given to people who have passion for peacemaking and are actively involved in peace activities.
It has always been my passion to serve humanity. This passion took me towards peacemaking. I used to involve in peacemaking efforts. At one point in life, I got the chance to go to Nigeria for peace efforts. After my return from Nigeria, I was chosen as International Peace Ambassador.
- How was your experience working in Nigeria, a conflict zone?
It was a horrible situation in Nigeria two years ago when I went there. Extremists group Bokoharam was killing innocent people without any reason. Bokoharam called itself Islamic, but they were terrorists who terrorized the region with their barbaric acts and blamed Islam.
It was tough and risky endeavor for me to go there in such conditions. I saw suffering of common people. I spoke with them, took note of their situation, and tried for peace in coordination with the local government and people.
- Saudi and Iran recently sever ties over Al Nimr killing. How do you view escalating tensions between two nations?
First of all, Saudi Arabia should not have hanged Shia scholar Al Nirm. Islam teaches that ink of a scholar is holier than the blood of a martyr. This particular incident led to tensions between Saudi and Iran. I would suggest both the countries to start conversations to restore peace among their citizens. Otherwise, the situation may lead to a different direction and pose a serious threat to world peace.
- How far politics interfere in peace making?
We do peace work at international, national and regional levels. It is necessary to take governments and politicians into confidence before brining parties in conflict on a table of talk. It helps in peacemaking process. Otherwise, chances are that peace efforts would become futile.
- What role youth can play in keeping peace in everyday life?
Peace is required everywhere: home, family, workplace, society, region, nation, etc. Youth being integral part of any society can play a much larger role in peacemaking. Through this magazine, I would like to tell our youth that peacemaking is prophetic work. One should feel privileged for doing peacemaking activities.
Nowadays youth are being poisoned with intolerance. There’s no need to hate anybody. Just because somebody follows what you don’t should not provoke you. Without peace and tolerance, there would be no better living. We need to show courtesy towards fellow human beings.