On 22nd July 2016, AYUDH Europe, the European branch of our youth wing, organized a symposium called “One Humanity” on youth empowerment and cultural understanding. This was part of the 12th AYUDH Europe Youth Summit, which took place in the historic location of Kloster Eberbach in Germany. Through the event, AYUDH supported the Council of Europe’s ‘No Hate Speech Campaign,’ which aims to establish July 22nd, the day of the attacks on a youth camp in Utøya, Norway, in 2011, as the ‘European Action Day for Victims of Hate Crime.’
Bjorn Ihler, survivor of the 2011 attacks, shared his personal story with participants and expressed his gratitude, saying, “It’s great to see the 22nd of July attack and its victims commemorated in such a great way. Five years is a very short time – and at the same time a very long time. While today, and this day will always carry a special significance and be a day of remembrance and grief I’m happy and proud I’ve been spending the day at a summer camp for youth, not so different from what we had on Utøya, speaking to hundreds of peace-loving youth from about 30 countries about how we all can counter hate, terror and violent extremism, and how we must choose a different path than the paths of violence if we are to break the cyclical patterns of hate, grief and infliction of pain.”
In his keynote speech, Amma’s senior disciple, Swami Amritaswarupananda Puri called terrorism a “harvest of hatred.” “The root cause of terrorism is the poison of hatred passed on from generation to generation till it explodes in an orgy of violence. If we have to uproot terrorism, we have to begin from home because of the influence family environment exerts on mental health and growth of children. It shapes their thinking lifelong. A process of purification and commitment to human welfare is necessary in children if we have to save the world from terrorism. The seeds of right understanding and a genuine concern for others have to be sown early.” He also highlighted his firm belief in the potential and power of youth.
“No one, including you, your parents, friends, or your teachers, knows what your true potential is. Nature has impregnated you with certain qualities, skills, and talents. Only by understanding that will you be able to elevate yourself.”Swamiji
The symposium gave participants the chance to directly interact with high-level institutional representatives. Among the speakers and panelists were Swami Amritaswarupananda Puri, Vice-Chairman of Embracing the World; Martine Reicherts, Head of the European Commission’s Directorate-General Education and Culture; Anne Brasseur, the former President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe; Ernesto Marinelli, SAP Vice President for HR in Europe, Middle East and Africa and Björn Ihler. As a highlight of the event, the new German ‘No Hate Speech’ website was publicly launched by Anne Brasseur who serves as their Ambassador for the Council of Europe. The focus of the new website is to fight online hate speech and to promote and protect human rights on the internet.
The event was part of a weeklong youth summit that connected young people from around the world who all share the ambition to contribute to a happier and more peaceful society. The summit provided a unique platform for personal development and cultural dialogue. Talks, workshops and community projects invited participants to strengthen their sense of identity and leadership, while experiencing the joy and empowerment of living and learning together with like-minded youth from around the world.