By Albert Oliva, MUN Impact Press Writer
Sustainable Development Festival 2018
The Salam Centre for Peace in Israel sent a delegation last month to the first ever Uttarakhand Sustainable Development Festival which was held in a small but sceneric city, Champawat. The Festival was promoted as the beginning of a movement for bringing together the people of the Uttarakhand district with the Government and the civil society for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.
Sustainable Development Goals or otherwise known as Global Goals have been established to tackle the most pressing and challenging issues our modernized society is facing. However can these goals be achieved and issues dismissed if only specialized institutions and organizations are fully alarmed of the extent to which they are affecting the society? The answer is fairly simple. No! This is exactly the reason why events such as the Uttarakhand Sustainable Development Festival are organized. The festival was prepared and organized by the Dais Foundation. This foundation has been immensely supporting educational facilities, NGOs, and governmental organizations to cope with the 17 Global Goals and to make a real and vivid IMPACT in the world.
The festival was composed from 8 major events, with the major ones being Uttarakhand Sustainable Development Goals Vision 2030 Launch & Unveiling of Uttarakhand SDGs Wall, Vision 2030 Website Launch, and Uttarakhand Satat Vikas Sankalp - SDG Pledge (#UKforSDGs). The first mentioned event, which in shortcut can be called the Vision 2030, is an online document which is accessible to all participants were information about the actions of stakeholders can be attained during the festival. Throughout the festival these actions were painted on the SDGs wall visible to all students, adults, and staff. The second mentioned event is closely knitted with the first as it is an establishment of social media platform about raising awareness for the vision 2030 goals.
After successfully traveling with students all around the world for prestigious Model United Nations, Salam Kedan, the founder of Salam Centre for Peace, took a totally different initiative and with the delegation of four students travelled all across Asia and later on India to reach this festival which changed their view on life as a whole. “It was such a thrilling experience. It was a totally different concept than MUN conferences but it was as enriching as students met new people and saw that even the poorest group in the society can make an Impact in our world” Salam commented after arriving back to Israel. She and four students arrived back home with a totally new outlook on life and Salam is sure that this experience will Impact their future. “I am glad that all students experienced the generosity of people who are living out from nothing. Moreover they saw that without action, sustainable development will not be dismissed, and with lot of them we have been closely connected while our stay in India: poverty, lack of clean water, hunger.
You might wonder, why Salam Centre for Peace received the support to travel to India and for an answer I have interviewed Mr. Akhil Kumar Pandey, an Advisory Board member.
“I have been involved with the centre for quite some time now. My great passion is to teach kids about my culture and learning from them too. For the past few months I have been trying to teach them, that at the end of the day, we are all human beings and have a collective responsibility towards the world. So, the Salam Centre and I share the same vision which is to ensure that there is peace, love and compassion across the world. The centre has become more of a family for me and I wanted to personally take a group from the centre to get to know more about India which I’ll ultimately help them in formulation of new policies.“
Every MUN conference and festival which is connected with Sustainable Development goals leaves in every single participant loads of memories and values. My last question for Akhil was, if he could depict the main value of the festival for the Salam Centre for Peace.
“It may sound like an exaggeration to some point, but when I first came to Salam’s home town in 2017, I was surprised to find out that I was the first Indian they had seen in real life! Their knowledge about Indians was limited solely to the Bollywood movies they have seen! My main aim was to show the delegation what term India, means culturally and socially. Moreover I also wanted to highlight the commonality we have in terms of our language and cultures too. I really hope the delegation was able to learn about India, its diversity, the pluralistic nature of the country and how hospitable we are as a nation.“
After talking to all students, who participated in the festival, I was left out with a feeling of great appreciation and gratitude as I could clearly see that it really significantly changed their outlook on life. “Regarding the best event during the festival, I liked the camping the most, as spending time with people who you barely know, but becoming friends with them, singing and talking together and playing various games was truly amazing”.
After asking the easiest but at the same time hardiest question, What did you like the most in India, Abed Majadly, part of Salam’s delegation, had to take a minute thinking about the answer. “The best thing in India is the behavior of the society. They are simple people, however their generosity was outstanding. They welcomed us in the best and friendliest way possible”.
Even though many people might claim that such events are just for those that are interested in political affairs and are updated on every news that struck the society, the truth is complete opposite. The purpose of this festival was not to unite people, who are already determined to help and are already part of some initiative, but to raise awareness and globally inform people, especially young students.
“Students were able to witness how all of us can come together and do something for others. Even for the adults, it was a great experience as they saw that the youth wants to do something constructive. The festival made them realize that the youth is all for peace and prosperity for all.” Akhil Kumar added
Many students believe that due to their young age they cannot make an IMPACT and cannot influence their society, nevertheless that is absolutely not true. Students and young adults are the ones that can do the most, and I am glad that organization such as Salam Centre for Peace exist, as through them, one can find his own identity and role in our complex world. We need more events all across the world such as the Uttarakhand Sustainable Development Festival, as the society needs information and requires to see that only real action can create real IMPACT.