The Contribution of Youth To World Peace
Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates, we would like to thank you for this opportunity to make a brief statement to assist the work of this Conference. The Baha'i International Community would like to outline a number of ways in which youth can contribute to peace:
by becoming educated
One of the teachings of the Baha'i Faith is that of universal compulsory education - not only the transmission of skills necessary for gainful employment through the practice of a trade or profession, but moral and spiritual education as well. Special emphasis is given in the Baha'i teachings to the often neglected education of young women. Accordingly, Baha'i youth, men and women alike, are committed to obtaining the kind of education and training that will allow them to develop their talents and abilities in such a way that each one will be able to make a contribution to their family, community, nation, and the planet as a whole.
by developing an excellent character
Education, however, is more that the instruction received at schools of learning, it consists of the total environment in which a person lives, the family unit, the peer group and the society at large. The family, as the foundation of society, plays an important role in teaching young people moral and spiritual values. Parents set the examples for their youngsters. Values such as consultation, cooperation, and esteem for all members of humanity, when taught in the family, educate youth for a peaceful world society. Each youth is responsible for improving his or her character through the development of the highest spiritual and moral qualities - qualities taught by the Baha'i Faith, as well as all the previous revealed religions - love, compassion, justice, truthfulness, honesty, courtesy and trustworthiness.
by the systematic eradication of all forms of prejudice or discrimination
Baha'i youth around the world represent all different races, cultures, and social/economic strata of our society. When they gather together for a meeting or conference, which is open to all young people, their diversity is symbolic of their belief in the oneness of mankind and the elimination of all forms of prejudice. Their goal is the harmony of different people working in cooperation towards a common goal -- peace.
This International Youth Conference is an illustration of the rich diversity of humanity and of nourishing those cultural differences that bring us together. Respect for each other's views, and an understanding of the common humanity we share, through the realization that we are all a divine creation, connected by indissoluble bonds, this is essentially what matters. This is at the basis of the motivation and action of Baha'i youth from over 2,000 ethnic backgrounds, working in 170 independent countries to resolve the crucial spiritual, social and economic problems facing humanity.
We are happy to be here, to join you in building a better world.