Participants in the forum, organized in partnership between the Muslim Council of Elders, the World Council of Churches, and the Rose Castle Foundation, planted an olive tree, symbolizing the importance of youth making positive contributions in addressing contemporary global challenges and building peace.
Hailing from Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe, forum participants expressed their hope for the COP28 conference to yield results that contribute to mitigating this global humanitarian threat.
Likewise, they emphasized that planting the olive trees is an invitation to foster environmental peace and protect life on this planet. They stressed the need for open discussions between youth, civil society leaders, and religious leaders and for the visions, experiences, initiatives, and proposals of young people to be heard and considered.
The Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Elders Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam stated that he is pleased with the positive spirit demonstrated by the participants in the second edition of the Emerging Peacemakers Forum. He also looks forward to their active role in addressing environmental and societal challenges, highlighting the importance of raising awareness about environmental peace issues and promoting collective action to tackle global challenges for a better future for humanity.
Judge Abdelsalam further explained that the world is eagerly anticipating the COP28 conference being held in the United Arab Emirates and the significant outcomes that can be achieved in countering the negative effects of climate change. He praised the efforts of the UAE in promoting environmental security and finding effective solutions to the issue of climate change.
Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay, general secretary of the World Council of Churches commented, "The olive tree is usually associated with peace. It is appropriate to plant olive trees at the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey to commemorate this special and unique gathering of emerging peacemakers. Of special note, is that the gathering consists of different religions. What a great witness this is to the world when we all show our commitment to the common task of working together for peace in a world suffering with violence, factions, conflicts, and war."
Pillay added, "May the planting of the olive trees symbolically speak of the planting of peace and hope for a blessed future.”
The second edition of the Emerging Peacemakers Forum is aimed at equipping a generation of young people capable of making positive contributions in their communities and building a better future for themselves and humanity, The forum commenced in Geneva on Thursday 6 July 2023.