Peace 50: Dialogue with Young People
The Peace 50 community held its autumn meeting dedicated to youth cultural diplomacy. The event was unique thanks to the fact that gifted students having an active lifestyle took part in a dialogue with women leaders. Older and younger generations exchanged their views on the topics of preserving peace, establishing intercultural communication, and the main qualities of the people of the future.
Head of the Global Women Media news agency, co-founder of the Peace 50 community, Rector of the Institute for the Humanities and Information Technologies (IGUMO) and the International College for Arts and Communication (MKIK)
CEO of The Alchemist Agency, Director of Research & Development at World Women Foundation, member of the Peace 50 community
Joynicole Martinez, a member of the Peace 50 community from the USA, visited Moscow and delivered a series of lectures at the International College for Arts and Communication (MKIK). For the whole week, the expert talked with the college students, answered their questions, and learned young people’s opinions on topical issues: diplomacy, solution of global problems, and the planet’s future. As emphasized by Joynicole Martinez, she was pleasantly impressed and encouraged by the young generation’s wise words.
The most active students were invited to participate in the dialogue of the Peace 50 community’s members. The meeting was a continuation of the community’s annual Peace Hour in September. In 2021, not only the women themselves but also the students took part in the event.
The Peace Hour timed to coincide with the International Day of Peace had a topic related to young people’s views on the planet’s future. At that time, the P50 members decided to make the involvement of the younger generation in the community’s life one of the key points of its strategy.
“When I think about peace and cultural diplomacy, I think about the younger generation first of all. We will hand over the planet to them in the future. That is why it is vital to make sure that they are actively involved in discussions related to the preservation of peace today”, emphasizes Joynicole Martinez.
Adults often think that they are ‘in charge’ and therefore must ‘teach’ the younger generation what they must do and how. As Joynicole Martinez believes, that’s just an illusion. When shaping a future for young people, we must focus primarily on the opinions of young people themselves. We must discuss what vision of the world today’s children and teenagers have, what they value, and what is important to them.
Times change and people change together with them. The older generation has a rich life and professional experience and serious ‘luggage’ of valuable knowledge and wisdom. However, adults are usually limited by some outdated paradigms in their thinking. It is young people who can help them have a ‘fresher’ look at the world without the influence of the stereotypes of the past, adapt faster to changes, and discover all the opportunities that innovative technologies give.
During the dialogue, the Peace 50 members and invited experts from various fields discussed their views on the strengths and distinctive features of today’s youth. They also expressed their ideas about what adults can learn from the younger generation.
Anna Kurilenko, psychologist and P50 member, told the students about the goals and tasks of the community. As she emphasized, women leaders have come together to preserve peace, to establish intercultural dialogue from heart to heart. The expert believes that each person is a peacemaker with a whole world within him or her. Others can cognise it only through unconditional love and acceptance. Harmony is born, wars stop, and all contradictions disappear when such inner worlds of different people unite.
As highlighted by Anna Kurilenko, the representatives of the younger generation are talented and the modern world is full of amazing opportunities that humanity could not even imagine decades ago. The expert believes that young people can quickly find solutions to even the most complex global problems by using innovation wisely. However, when immersing oneself into the world of new technologies, focusing on the fulfilment of your potential, and discovering your individuality and talents, it is always important to remember about the harmony of the internal world. Only then happiness will come along with success.
Elizaveta Zemlyanova, artist and curator of the Days of Contemporary Art (DOCA) exhibition, continued that topic and compared the internal world and potential of each person to a river. Based on life and professional experience, some people rush forward as a mighty broad stream. Others only pick up speed like small brooks. All people are somehow moving towards the common great goal: maintaining peace and being happy. Sooner or later, all rivers are joined in the ocean. That is how it is extremely important how clean and fresh the water in each individual stream was. A similar metaphor applies to the level of culture in society.
The human body is made up of about 70 percent water. Similarly, the inner world of people is shaped by culture and values.
Oleg Glazunov, corresponding member of the Guild of Marketers and marketing expert, noted: it is young people who create the trends existing in society. The current generation is characterised by its creativity and the ability to approach tasks in an unconventional way. Those important qualities will help shape truly interesting trends. At the same time, the expert advised the students not to spend their potential on things of poor importance. On the opposite, they should direct their talents into more important areas, for example, cultural development, public diplomacy, and the preservation of universal values.
According to Oleg Glazunov, culture is a combination of three key elements: ethics, aesthetics, and the ‘logic of the heart’. The latter presupposes a person’s ability to notice sincerity and truth in everything. The expert wishes each person to develop that quality.
Truth and sincerity are the principles on which people must base their communication to preserve and promote peace.
The MKIK deans shared their conclusions based on communication with the college students. For example, Svetlana Agafonova, Dean of the Photography College of MKIK, noted that the younger generation is always full of new ideas. Its representatives are able to feel very subtly other people and the world around them. Such ability is clearly seen in their creative work. Svetlana Agafonova believes that the older generation can provide the young one with a ‘springboard’. Thanks to their highly developed empathy and emotional intelligence, young people can learn from the experience of adults effectively, notice the mistakes of the past, draw conclusions from them, and move forward freely.
Olga Rumyantseva, Dean of Psychology College of MKIK, is convinced that today’s young people have a special ability to accept the uniqueness of others and maintain their own individuality. At the same time, they remain part of society and their collective. That is a very important human quality that is only available to a person with an open heart and pure soul. In case of the absence of diversity, people would not be able to express themselves and thus bring something valuable to the world. The young people of today are well aware of that fact.
Evgenia Suprutskaya, Dean of the Journalism and Publishing College of MKIK, agreed with the fact about the high level of acceptance and respect for individuality being one of the main distinguishing features of today’s younger generation. At the same time, the expert noticed a trait that unites all students: openness to communication and learning new things. Young people do not feel shy about asking questions, getting to know each other better, and creating unique projects. Thanks to that, the younger generation will certainly be able to bring a lot of important, innovative, and useful things to the world.
The Peace 50 community’s meeting was a ‘dialogue with the future’. The participants talked not only with one another but also with young people present at the event. Their words were not so much advice or guidance but rather a message for the following decades.
Irina Belogortseva, MKIK’s Deputy Rector for Learning and Teaching, is always a linguist and lecturer. She noticed the language used during the Peace-50 international meeting. In the presence of Joynicole Martinez, both students and community members used both Russian and English expressions. Despite that mix of languages, all speakers understood one another perfectly.
In reality, people learn foreign languages to communicate with one another. However, feelings and emotions sometimes come to the fore. In this case, words become less important. When people are ‘tuned’ in the same way, they feel being part of a larger common cultural environment. Such moments give birth to the strongest and most effective communication.
Tatyana Vorozhtsova, journalist and P50 member, paid attention of the listeners to the modern world offering huge opportunities for people to communicate. The Internet, online services, and digital technologies have literally erased borders among people and countries. However, the rapid development of different fields of life has complicated communication among generations. That is why it is so important today to arrange real life meetings to exchange thoughts, ideas, and views among people of different ages, to find common ground, and to try sincerely to understand and hear one another.
Oksana Kurenya, Dean of the Linguistics College of MKIK, always supported the topic of communication. In her opinion, any object or event existing in objective reality may be considered and understood very differently by different people. That difference is particularly noticeable between how older and younger generations perceive reality. The older generation looks at the world through the prism of its experience. Young people, on the opposite, are curious to discover new things.
Communication between people of different ages, interests, and cultures makes it possible to create the fullest possible picture of the world.
The students responded to what the participants said with enthusiasm and appreciation. In their turn, they shared their views on what role culture and cultural diplomacy play in today’s world.
Students were unanimously agreed that, today, there are no borders among people from different countries. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, when travelling was officially restricted, people could freely continue communicating with those from other continents on the Internet. They could find enough information about any culture or history of any nation that interested them.
“It is important for us that people remain human. That is the main thing that brings humanity closer together. If a person has a pure and open heart, no difference can become a barrier for communication. On the contrary, that makes communication even more interesting”, they commented.
Young people also consider culture and art to be the most effective way to establish international communication aimed at the preservation of peace and development of the world. Modern trends in art are increasingly often focused on communicating feelings and emotions rather than specific ideas through artworks. That expands the opportunities for communication greatly.
Art is a language that brings people closer better than words. Looking at a picture or listening to music awakens feelings and emotions. Irrespective of the country and time when and where a work of art was created, it is able to echo in someone’s heart.
Art is a language that awakens feelings and therefore allows people to remain human. Students believe that peace can be preserved only through maintaining humanity.
When reflecting on the qualities that must be developed in people to preserve peace and create a better future, the younger generation paid special attention to sincerity, honesty, openness, skills, and the desire to hear and accept one another. Students also highlighted the importance of developing a social culture based on responsibility and awareness of the individual for all actions, words, and deeds.
At the end of the dialogue, Marina Volynkina, co-founder of the Peace 50 community, thanked the participants for the constructive dialogue. As she noted, discussing the future would not be possible without the involvement of the younger generation. In her opinion, only an open and honest exchange of views, positions, and ideas among leaders from various countries and fields of activity and talented and caring young people with an active lifestyle can show the right path to humanity.
Marina Volynkina proposed to continue the development of youth cultural diplomacy within the Peace 50 community. The event demonstrated the presence of a big number of young people in the world sharing the values of Peace 50. They are interested in addressing issues related to the planet’s future and sincerely want to contribute to solving global problems.
Viktoria Gusakova, Global Women Media news agency
Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov