The 19th Ayudh Europe Forum was held at the M.A. Center, Germany from August 7 to 14, 2023, and was a resounding success. The theme of this year’s forum, ‘Dare to Dream,’ was funded by the Erasmus programme of the European Commission. More than 200 youngsters from 23 countries took part, with joy and enthusiasm.
The forum was inspired by the presence of Swami Amritaswarupananda Puri, Swami Shubamritananda Puri and Swamini Amritajyoti Prana, and the youth gained a lot of wisdom through the talks, workshops, Q-and-A sessions, and wellbeing sessions held during the week.
Swami Amritaswarupanandaji spoke on the topic “Compassion: The Need of the Hour,” which was replete with practical examples and exercises, and a 10-point toolkit that young people can practice to help fill their lives with compassion and happiness. His bhajan sessions enthralled one and all, and as in the previous years, it ended with the soulful rendering of ‘Mata Rani,’ which got the whole hall on its feet. Swamiji also led the seedball campaign, taking part in the making of seedballs and their plantation. Seedballs are an ancient technique for reforestation and soil restoration and are now gaining popularity as a modern method of ecological restoration. They are designed to be thrown or scattered in areas where vegetation is desired, relying on natural rainfall or watering to germinate and grow into mature plants.
Swami Shubamritananda spoke on the topic ‘Dare to Dream,’ taking youngsters through a session of how to convert dreams into reality, stressing the factors of owning the dream, developing the courage to be different, importance of hard work, being resilient while facing failures and the importance of regular evaluation of one’s journey. He also presented a questionnaire to the youngsters for their daily introspection.
Another highlight of the forum was the talk given by Kuany Kiir Kuany, Programme Manager, Education for Peace & Global Citizenship, UNESCO. He shared his life journey from spending his childhood in South Sudan, living in a refugee camp in Kenya, to his journey to India for his higher studies, his stint in Baghdad to rebuild the education system there after it was destroyed by ISIS, to his current position in the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. His message of never giving up and understanding the importance of learning inspired everyone, and the audience greeted him with a standing ovation.
On 11th August, Swami Amritaswarupanandaji gave an overview of the C20 work done under the leadership of our most beloved Amma. Later, there was a panel discussion on the importance of the topics that the C20 working groups under Amma’s organisation had worked on. The youth discussed how they can implement the recommendations from the policy pack in areas of sustainable development, integrated holistic health, education, technology, and gender equality in their communities. The panel was moderated by Joolz Lewis, Executive Coach, and included the presence of Daniel Hurstel, eminent lawyer and author, and Rekha Krings, a lawyer and deputy parliamentary leader in the local government. Enterprising youngsters from Ayudh Europe also participated. Additionally, a video message was shared from Anne Larigauderie, Executive Secretary of the UN International Panel for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.
There were several workshops offered to the youngsters during their weeklong forum, including film making, sustainable living, stress management, project management, traditional Indian music and graphic arts. The youngsters also practiced yoga in the morning before getting into the day’s activities, and various sports events were organised during the week.
The presentation of the projects done by the youngsters during the week attracted more than 250 visitors on the final day. The youngsters left the M.A. Centre with their hearts filled with enthusiasm and love and with a strong feeling of inner commitment to dream big and bring about a positive difference in the state of the world.