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What I've Learned from the 2017 Peace Camp in Jakarta


On 12 December 2017, I was one of the 60 delegates arriving from 25 different Asia-Pacific area countries at Jakarta airport. We were there to attend the 2017 Peace Camp of the Religions for Peace Asia-Pacific Youth Network (RFP-APIYN). The camp was organized with the help of the Local Religions for Peace youth group, the Pemuda Muahammadiyah and it was hosted by Seoul Peace Education Center.

The main objective of the camp was to bring future religious leaders together in mutual understanding and focus inter-religious efforts on the 2017 topic: Raising Awareness on Climate Change: Our Earth, Our Responsibility.

The camp began with a welcome dinner hosted by Governor Anies Rasyid Baswedan at the Governor’s Palace in Jakarta. I was excited to meet the other delegates and make friends with them. The night was filled with new friends, good food, and a cultural show.

The next day inspirational speeches were given about working together and the expectations from religious organizations regarding the climate change issue. This was followed by a lunch to formally open the camp. It was hosted by the Vice President of The Republic of Indonesia, Muhammad Jusuf Kalla, in the Vice Presidential Palace in Jakarta. During the afternoon the delegates visited museums, chapels and a mosque to learn how Indonesia, although a very diverse country in terms of culture and religions, achieved its independence and growth as nation through gotong royong or teamwork and cooperation. In other words, "Different Faith, Common Action." Although we belong to different religions, we can all work together for the common good.


In the evening, we were divided into groups. Each group was made up of delegates from different nationalities and different religions. We participated in activities to build unity and harmony within our group. We learned to understand each other, and though we come from different countries and faith systems we share common goals. Caring for one another is a fundamental characteristic of humankind.

On the third day, we left the hotel early in the morning to go to a community on the banks of Ciliwung. This river is 119 km long and many hold it as a sacred river. Ciliwung, during some months of a year, overflows. Causing a regular flooding problem not only for the communities at its banks, but also to the capital city of Indonesia. This flooding was experienced by some of the delegates first hand on the second day.

We had the opportunity to interact with and ask questions of the people living around Ciliwung. The delegates toured the river and key places around the community. At lunch time, the community leaders arranged a meal featuring traditional Indonesian cuisine. All of us enjoyed eating with our hands in the traditional way. In the evening, each of the delegates gave presentations on their takeaways from their immersion experience at the riverbanks. We each shared how this experience has moved us to do more to take care of this earth.

I learned that it is so easy not to care if we don't see what another person is going through. The people by the river are just the recipients of carelessness of people and their garbage from the city. Delegates from Jakarta said that people from the city should really know how their garbage is affecting the people who live by the river. If they know about this I hope they will be more considerate. We can be a little kinder and better if we think of others, not only with the trash we throw out, but in our words, actions and also the judgement that we give.


The final evening, certificates were given to each delegate followed by a wonderful Indonesian dinner, a cultural show and dancing. The delegates expressed their commitment to be an influence for good by sharing what they learned from each other. The camp was closed and everyone is excited for the 2018 Peace Camp.

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