Positive News – December 8, 2006
article by Sam Rawlings
Launched in Cardiff’s Temple of Peace, the first Peace Mala National Awards for Youth brought together an eclectic group of young people, performers and religious figures, united in the common aim of creating peace. The Awards go to schools, colleges or youth groups who have worked towards increasing peace, racial tolerance and understanding within their local communities.
Prizes were given to groups in two age categories. The first prize for 5 to 11 year olds was presented to Pontygof Primary School and the 12 to 18 category was won by Ysgol Gynradd Brynaman. Other entries received special commendations. Throughout the afternoon, a colourful variety of performers entertained all the attendees. These included dances from Sheikh Ahmad Dede and his Haqqani-Mevlevi Dervishes, as well as a Native Canadian Hoop Dance by Rising Eagle.
“Please all remember that the world’s most powerful weapon of destruction is fear,” said Pam Evans, the Peace Mala’s Founder. “Fear is the source of lies and destruction. It builds walls and prisons. As I see it, the future of our world lies in the hearts and minds of our young people who, hopefully, will not be manipulated by fear and ignorance; young people who will speak out for justice and mercy; young people who will say: Stop! That’s enough!”
Created after the events of September 11th, the Peace Mala is a double rainbow-coloured bracelet which is a symbol of peace beyond the barriers of race and religion. It cuts through all forms of prejudice and celebrates what makes us different from each other.
The Awards ceremony was a unique experience and one that highlighted the often unpublicised work done by young people to promote tolerance and acceptance. Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury and Patron of Peace Mala pointed out: “So much in the news seems to be about how tension is mounting and how bitterness is being reinforced between people of different faiths and communities, but the truth is that at the level of local communities and ordinary people, there is probably more contact, understanding and co-operation than ever before in history. Never mind today’s headlines. It is you, young people, who are setting the standards and hopes for the future, and that is a tremendous joy and privilege.”