10 December 2022
International Day of Human Rights

Creating a fairer world for future generations

For the occasion of International Day of Human Rights, Faces of Change foundation and ImpactLeaders international organized an event in Utrecht, The Netherlands. The keynote speaker was Jessica Lockhart, CEO and Founder of the International Institute of Humanology. The title of her presentation was ‘I have a dream too’.

Jessica Lockhart took us on a journey to understand her dream of a fair and peaceful world. She is convinced her dream can be realised, because; peace starts with us, so we can do it. But how can we become peacebuilders? The 'narrative of war' is so mainstream, and we have learned to believe it is justifiable to use violence to resolve a conflict. It all starts with our beliefs. Our beliefs, which we learned through our education and upbringing, somehow teach us that when there is a conflict, the best solution supposedly is to intervene through aggression and retaliation. We can see how well that has worked in the past centuries. If we realise that it all starts with us, we can change this ‘narrative of war’ by changing our beliefs.

If we feel that there is a lot to lose by letting go of a belief, chances are minimal that we will be willing to change. However, when we feel that we will gain from adopting a new belief, we will consider taking the step to change. It is important to understand that this only works if we accept that people will only change if the step they must take is a threshold they can oversee. Otherwise, the insecurity and uncertainty will keep them trapped in their old way of thinking.

Jessica Lockhart set the tone for the event: peace starts with us, and we can change by adopting beliefs for creating a fairer and more peaceful world. Marina Tomova from Macedonia, Samanta Morales from Honduras, Clarisa Ramos from the Philippines and Adam Elhaj from Uganda shared their stories of hope by highlighting their positive actions in these conflict-affected areas.

How can we create a fairer world

During the event, we also worked as a group to answer three questions: (1) What are the things that we see happening in the world that we can leverage? (2) What is our dream concerning human rights for the coming year? (3) What can we do to make our dream come true?

Many things are happening that we can leverage. In a town in Macedonia bordering Greece, a consciousness about the importance of working on environmental care and change is developing. In Uganda a project is running for women who live in a refugee-settlement, to grow their vegetables to sustain their families. In the Philippines, people are becoming aware of the importance of unity and a movement which is carried by the people to ignite change. In Honduras, the first female newly elected president is a beacon of hope for a country and people who have been oppressed for decades and suffer the consequences of narco-trafficking.

Our dream is shared: to create a world where there is peace, justice, equal chances and opportunities for everyone.

Action points to make our dream come true are:

  • Invest in education to develop consciousness among young people that peace is a viable and necessary alternative, and we have to disrupt and replace the industry of war.

  • We have to stop being bystanders and get actively involved in all possible ways to support a process of peace.

  • We have to create target-based action plans in nuclear communities.

  • We want to establish new goals based on the next set of beliefs that we want to see in communities and neighbourhoods to guide behaviour and decision-making.

  • We want to share stories and new perspectives in schools with kids since they are fertile ground to develop new beliefs and values to support a peace process.

  • We will seek collaboration with other groups and organizations to reinforce our message of hope and peace.

  • We have to make an in-depth analysis of the context and situation we are facing. Then we can design a new approach which can address the massive problems we are confronting and place peace at the heart of this new approach.

The message is clear: Peace starts with us. That is what we commit to, and we will walk the talk of peace, by acting upon the values and beliefs that support a peace process.

Peace Starts with Us