It’s no different as when you grandparents used to tell your parents “Think of the starving children in India, or China or Vietnam..” Instead of nagging, the world’s celebrities came dancing, singing, and cajoling. One after another, young people went on stage and spoke of the power to change….Vancouver’s youth loved it. They cheered, danced, applaused, screammed, rocked….
There is no Madonna with an inside out bra, or Britney Spears with hardly anything on…. instead we have a bald, spiritual leader in a red flowing robe, scientists, humanitarians, educators all speaking the same message, and the youths came….. The 2009 Vancouver Peace Summit was a star-studded event with big media coverage. Over 16,000 young people gathered together at the GM Place in Vancouver on Sept. 29, 2009 to meet the Dalai Lama at the We Day Event organized by Toronto youth activist, Marc Kielburger through the Free the Children Foundation. An impressive line up of speakers included actress Mia Farrow, singer Sarah Maclachlan, primatologist Jane Goodall, the Degrassi gang from The Next Generation.
Young people were challenged to the call for a social movement effecting social change and the promotion of world peace. The whole place rocked with cheers and delight. It is hard not to get excited when you have so many famous celebrities gathered together in one place.
Mia Farrow who is a UNICEF goodwill ambassador said to the crowd of young people: “You are the architects of the future, you are the generation I have been waiting for all my life.”
Jane Goodall, a United Nations messenger of peace said “Young people like you understand the problems and are empowered to take action.”
Sarah McLachlan sang the song “Angel” with an inspiring call “We are all here today because we care, to create a better world for us all.”
and the Dalia Lama’s message “So the 21st century should be the century of peace. We have to make first, inner peace, on the basis of compassion… We need infinite compassion, infinite affection.”
Indeed, Canadian youths live privileged lives compared to the rest of the world’s youths. To be told that “you are important, you are they key to the future.” is an inspiring message. I often thought that privileged people have nothing else to fight for, because they already have everything. So, here’s truly a challenge. The problem of the world is yours to solve, young people of Canada. One in six children in the world lives below the poverty line. In war-torn countries, little boys carry guns instead of pencils, little girls go begging for food, scavenge through garbage piles, live without clean water or schooling.
It’s not a bad idea to raise awareness. Yes, Canada’s youth! You can do something to change the world, and how would you do that? What comes next after being inspired and empowered to act?
The event may be a singing and rocking day, but it brought the youths together with one message of peace and compassion. That is a truly encouraging sign. The message repeated over and over, may just sink in the consciousness enough to make a difference.
For once, it might be “COOL” to chant the message of social change.