LCC International University > News and Events archive > Celebrating International Peace Week: “How do we build Peace”?
LCC celebrated International Peace Day through a series of events that took place from Sept 19 to 23rd At noontime each day this past week groups of students and staff were found stopping for a moment of silence in solidarity around the LCC International campus with the global community as part of a global peace wave around the world. From peace photos to student stories- we were drawn into a week exploring the essence of peace and what living it and building it might entail. On the 21st of September, which is the International Peace Day set up by the United Nations, the LCC International University community gathered for the opening program “Bridging Borders & Journeys of Resilience”. On this day, staff and students shared, and attendees were left with many feelings and emotions changed. Naomi Enns (the director of the Center for Dialogue and Conflict Transformation) welcomed the LCC community with words that “building peace in this time is extremely hard” because many countries are currently going through a tough time. The singing bell was rung, and everyone stood for a moment of silence to show solidarity with the global world where suffering continues from violence, oppression, or war. The focus of the event was on putting “Peace in Practice”; to listen to a group of LCC students and staff who have actively done peacebuilding in Lithuania over the past summer. This group (Ieva Rûké, Assel Ushanova, Farida Alimi, Agapi Keshishyan, Scott Neumann, Aiste Motekaitiené and Douglas Enns) shared about their participation in a 5-day workshop with asylum seekers at Rukla Refugee Camp, located close to the border of Lithuania and Belarus and how it changed them. Telling personal stories, a close interaction with refugees and the impact that the Peace in Practice camp made on them shifted opinions about other groups of people. It changed them- drawing them closer together and creating community. A listening participant said” “what struck me was when Agapi said that her experience in this camp made her realize that we take everything for granted and that we should be thankful for what we have”. Later as a “A legacy for Peace” prayer was read, attendees invited to actively reflect and be part of the Peace Tree vigil by adding their prayers and words for peace on colored ribbons to the peace tree. Thus, recognizing the need for peace in all countries, not only in one conflict-affected county.
On September 22nd , a workshop “Building Bridges: Dealing with Division”, looked at ways we can help others transform conflicts. Led by professor Giedre Norman, she focused on helping students recognize ways to act in the role of mediator in a conflict story through a demonstration role play by two LCC students. “It was very helpful because I learned that we had to listen carefully and it takes a lot of courage to try and understand both sides,” said one of the students that participated in the workshop.
In the closing event on September 23rd, Finlay Kharata from South Sudan’s capital Khartoum, gave his perspective on peace: “Peace is not having the fear of what is going to happen next”. As five students from conflict-affected countries discussed what “Building Belonging in Peace” might be about from their own stories and personal experience coming from Kosovo, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Armenia, and Ukraine. Each one touched on what imagining peace and living in it might look like. Looking at real life we were challenged to recognize with Sose Simavoryan, an LCC Armenian student how “peace is complicated” to the shared belief that “peace is an incredible liberty” identified by Ivan Kovtoniuk (an LCC student from Ukraine). A final poem, read by Olya Morady (LCC student from Afghanistan) let us hear a continued need for solidarity and transformative peace work still in many places. “Human beings are members of a whole, in creation of one essence and soul. If one member is afflicted with pain- other members uneasy will remain. If you have no sympathy for human pain, the name of human you cannot retain”. This closing event's focus allowed the 85 individuals that attended to be more in touch with the need for peace building daily by hearing stories that are not sugar-coated.
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