Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, a member of the UAE Federal National Council for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and chairman of the Defense Affairs, Interior & Foreign Affairs Committee at the Council, was a keynote speaker at the Emerging Peacemakers Forum, held 5-14 July at the World Council of Churches (WCC) Ecumenical Institute at Bossey.
"One of the areas that I work on is countering extremist narratives on the internet, on social media. And you know that terrorist organizations use it, especially Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Daesh. And unfortunately, they are very proficient in using it, especially Daesh," said Al Nuaimi.
At the forum, 50 young people from Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe, the youngest being 20, are taking in the event hosted by the WCC, the Muslim Council of Elders, and Rose Castle Foundation, just outside Geneva, Switzerland.
"Many countries underestimated that strength," said the UAE legislator referring to the ability of terror groups to use social media. "So I think it's imperative that in each country, we have people—it’s not only the official, officials, organization, or persons," who can be used as "unique public figures. We need role models in each community, society, and nation to promote them.”
Right and wrong
The UAE politician said that "social media is an open source. It's a global platform; you can't control it," so individuals have to enable regeneration, differentiate between right and wrong, and judge and evaluate.
At the same session, WCC general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay spoke of the enormous role of peacemaking in the life of the council, representing almost 600 million Christians worldwide.
"For us, peacemaking is very important because, as I said, we believe that the counsel of God calls us to create a better world election, in the world, must be defined, and kingdom values," said Pillay, a South African theologian.
"And one of the things we believe as Christians is the kingdom of God. And the kingdom of God speaks about the entire world."
Pillay said those attributes` of the WCC are being applied to the war in Ukraine that Russia stepped up in February 2022.
Ukraine and Russia
He said that in Ukraine and Russia, the most significant composition of the population is Orthodox Christians.
"And we are working through those Christians in those given areas to say, how can we work with you? Firstly, to find unity amongst yourselves, because the war has divided you, but also to find unity amongst ourselves?
"How can we find unity and peace in the context of war? So we plan a roundtable that we hope to have in October to bring the different parties together and to have further conversations in working towards a bigger roundtable of peacemaking where we will bring together other religious leaders, politicians, and other people who will work with us towards peace itself."
A third keynote speaker was Rebeca Grynspan of Costa Rica, an economist and secretary-general of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development since September 2021 and the first woman to hold this position in the organization's history.
"I myself am the daughter of immigrants, the first generation. My father left Europe because of the Second World War. And so, I know exactly what it means to be in a country that can integrate the diversity and what it means to create the opportunity for my parents to build a family in dignity, you know, with education," said Grynspan.
She spoke of the need for power-sharing rules in divided societies and "power wellbeing for everybody independent" of election results.
"You need good governance rules to consider the diversity and fragmentation that we see in societies…. we need to think about how we can have better rules of power-sharing in government."