Copenhagen, Denmark—On January 20, 2018, UPF-Denmark held the first meeting of the new year with Ambassadors for Peace.
Among the 14 participants at the meeting in the UPF Peace Center were Ulla Sandbæk, a member of parliament; Laura Valesin from We Make Peace, an NGO that raises peace awareness and implements peace education in schools; a young politician; a consultant for integration; and the founder of the Nurse Gambia Project.
During lunch everybody introduced themselves. All listened so attentively that they almost forgot to eat, and all the guests expressed gratitude for being invited.
The meeting started with a short introduction to UPF and our peace principles, followed by a report of UPF activities in 2017, the background and motivation behind our activities, and our plan for 2018.
MP Ulla Sandbæk spoke about the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP) events she has attended in London, New York, Seoul and Ramallah.
The video “What Is an Ambassador for Peace?” showed the impact UPF has on the grass-roots level all over the world and how individuals can make a difference.
The last part of our program was brainstorming about how we can step up and make better activities in the coming year. Already in our invitation we asked the participants to contribute ideas and proposals of how our UPF activities can be the best possible as well as suggestions for new initiatives.
Laura Valesin showed copies of the We Make Peace textbooks for peace education in schools, where they have learning programs, workshops and campaigns to build sustainable, non-violent cultures and communities. Their aim is to reinvent the concept of peace as an ideal for young people to aspire to, to build strong foundations for peace within each individual, in the classroom, and in society. Since 2009 their program also has been piloted in the United Kingdom and in the United States prior to its official US release in 2013.
Everybody agreed it is important to educate children and youth about peace, tolerance, respect, coexistence, etc., and a small group was formed to find ways to enhance this work and raise awareness about this among politicians.
At the end, nurse Mona Nicolaisen was appointed as a new Ambassador for Peace. She told about how she, together with another nurse, built up a charity project in Gambia. Once or twice a year they travel to Gambia with their suitcases and backpacks full of supplies needed in Gambia. They sponsor drillings for pure water in villages, help children from poor families to attend school, teach especially girls and women about self-help—for example, how to establish fenced gardens to grow vegetables on their own. They raise all necessary funds by themselves though selling small homemade things.
The next day, another guest rang the doorbell after mistaking the date! She had attended our UN Day of Peace event last year and wanted to know more about UPF. Over lunch we spoke with her about the UPF vision. She is an author and coach and strongly believes we are living in the age of women with great changes and a paradigm shift.
We very much look forward to developing UPF activities during the coming year.