World Peace Conference in Cairo.

Sheik Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, is organising the World Conference on Peace in Egypt.

The event takes place in Cairo across the 27th and 28th  of April, and Pope Francis will be a featured speaker.

Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb has stated the goal of this conference is to “eliminate the causes of conflict, violence and hate”.

The office of the Grand Imam of al-Azhar has summarised the objectives of the World Conference on Peace as “addressing a message to the whole world” to “call for peace between religious leaders, between societies and between all countries of the world”.

The Conference was proposed back in 2016 when Sheikh Ahemed al-Tayeb was on a visit to the Vatican and Pope Francis announced his intentions to visit Egypt.

With the Conference being confirmed for April 27 – 28 the Vatican have indicated that the Pope will give a speech on Friday the 28th after the Grand Imam upon his arrival in the Egyptian capital and following on from a “courtesy visit” to President al-Sissi.

The speech is highly anticipated as it comes roughly three weeks after two attacks which caused dozens of deaths during the Palm Sunday celebrations in the Egyptian cities of Tanta and Alexandria, attacks for which the terrorist group ISIS claimed responsibility.

Previously Pope Francis has stated he does not “like to speak of Islamic violence” he has also spoken of “war” with respect to terrorism, going on to say “not all Muslims are violent just as not all Catholics are violent”

It is thought that around 300 people have been invited to the World Conference on Peace with a view to ending the religious extremism that is currently threatening the World and in al-Azhars context, “seeking peace by eliminating the causes of poverty, sickness and hate” which is a “human necessity” and “a responsibility” not only for those who share “a particular belief or philosophy” but for the “whole of humanity”.

Previously in front of a crowd of religious and political leaders from around the World, the Grand Imam recognized and stated that “acquitting religions of terrorism”, which had previously been his main motive, “is no longer enough”.

Let’s hope that the Conference will inspire more people to live a more peaceful life and realize that by people coming together, religious or non, will make stop wars and in the main go some way to making the world a better place.

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Ending global famine to bring about world peace

Food causes satisfaction, gratification and sustenance however severe lack of food can cause anger, animosity, and in extreme causes violence and wars.

Ending world hunger is possible, in this day and age one of the most extraordinary and humiliating aspects of living in the modern world is hunger.

Men, women and children around the world are literally starving, with some modern day philosophers pondering the question, what will future generations remember us for?

Over 850 million of the worlds population are hungry, and I’m not talking just a bit peckish here, I am talking famished.

Let me say that figure again, 850 million, that is almost one in eight of the worlds population

Many of these 850 million are children, because of their extreme hunger at a young age, it can go on to leave a lifelong legacy of mental and physical impairments.

However famine is not due to a lack of food globally, far from it, in actual fact there is more then enough to go around, if we all make the right decisions.

Collectively we can all continue to feed the world despite rising population numbers and climate change.

Think how much food you personally waste, and I was one of the worst for it, I have now started taking food to my local food bank, because no longer is hunger an issue “just for third world countries”, it is happening all around us.

It is only when you open your eyes and your heart to it do you start to recognize that this global problem is just exactly that, global.

People are starving in what are considered to be modern “affluent” countries.

Some experts estimate that stopping the waste of food after harvest (due to poor storage for example or a badly thought out transport infrastructure) plus lessening the waste in our own kitchens, could free up half of all food grown. That would have a huge impact.

There are extreme levels of inequality within and between countries when it comes to food, we need to act on this now.

Hunger is both a cause and a symptom of poverty. We should all strive to end the inequality of food distribution, I truly believe that ending world hunger is feasible, and in doing such we can take steps to achieving peace in the world.

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What is peace?

Peace can be defined as a stress-free state of calmness and a feeling of security that comes when there is no violence, fighting or war.

Peace is everything being able to co-exist in harmony and freedom.

However true world peace has not been obtained for centuries, there has always been violence, anger, wars, poverty and famine – just a few examples of the contributing factors that go against peace.

Peace can be both big and small, and can range from peace in an entire country or group of countries or brief, personal moments.

For example after a war between two countries, those countries may sign a peace treaty, but is this treaty truly worth the paper it is signed on? While the main conflict may be over, there are more then likely to be tension and stress and pain.

Conflict and suffering lasts long after the opposing factors have put pen to paper.

Whilst we can all take steps and strive for true and complete peace both personally and in the world, who is to say it will, or indeed can, happen.

We can all take steps to live a more peaceful life as we have discussed in previous articles, the smallest pebble dropped in a pond can cause ripples that stretch across the whole body of water. Humanity, both as individuals and as groups, should strive to be that pebble, to take that step of changing just one small thing in our lives.

When we feel at peace with ourselves, we are content with who we are, including our flaws, as we know, no body is perfect.

But through several small steps we can achieve a level of peace in our lives and this will hopefully “ripple” out to those who surround you.

The journey to all of us living in harmony will be a long and difficult one, we know this, but imagine the beauty of existing in a general harmonious state with one another as a whole, with the absence of stress, anxiety or fear of violence.

This can be achieved, but we all have to make just one small step, by increasing our overall understanding, dropping old barriers and creating and fording new relationships.

Peace is a gradual process that can not and indeed should not be achieved ‘overnight’

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World Peace as Individuals

World peace is something the majority of people strive for yet struggle to attain.

But how can we reach a level of peace on this Earth as individuals, even on a small scale?

To quote Albert Einstein;

“Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding”.

Thankfully the majority of people on this world live in peace, but there are still too many people in the world that are affected by pain and suffering, be it through war, sickness or poverty to name but a few.

But how can those of us not affected (at least not directly) by such large scale suffering achieve peace as individuals in our everyday lives.

First off we can consciously refuse to participate in violent acts against any living being for any reason and not listening to rumors that motivate or involve acts of violence.

Develop your personal surroundings, take a look around you, is there anything you can do for the local community in a charitable fashion?

Once you actually open your eyes to your surroundings you will realize that there is people in need all around, and not just larger scale incidents, those the media deem “newsworthy”.

Are you true to yourself? Are you transparent about your intent with those in your inner and extended circles?

All to often it is too easy to cause hurt or pain (even unintentionally) to those around you, be aware of how you conduct yourself among people in your everyday life.

Don’t be materialistic, of course it doesn’t hurt to strive for success, but at what cost, some of the happiest and most peaceful lives are led by those who shun chasing materialistic pressures.

One of the biggest causes of suffering in the world is natural disasters, do you do your part in preserving the biological ecosystem of the World?

Even what some people consider small and inconsequential can have an impact on a larger scale.

Starting simple things such as recycling, or buying energy efficient light bulbs are a way to develop and conserve the ecosystem, basically ensuring you do all you can to not have a detrimental effect on the environment.

Some of the greatest journey’s start with the smallest steps! And it is never too late to start your journey.

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Ending poverty in war torn areas

Poverty is a major contributing factor in violence and wars.

Tackling poverty in conflict areas is a massive challenge, however the economic model of fair trade that is used in more peaceful countries can also help to alleviate the problems in conflict zones, pioneers of fair trade say.

Imagine being able to offer people decent and fair pricing for their produce, which could in turn help support jobs and improve living conditions for producers, their family and local suppliers and businesses that they purchase from.

This could potentially divert people from joining militia’s and violent propaganda groups and extremists.

By increasing fair trade and developing sustainable, trust-based trading structures in conflict zones we can take steps to restore stability.

Also if the sales of fairly traded products in more peaceful and affluent countries increased we could not only raise awareness of conflict situations in countries but we could help them to achieve peace.

By people working together, as individuals, groups and even countries we can increase co-operation, trust and start taking steps in reducing resentment, anger and violence, creating positivity  and improving standards of living which are key fundamentals in peace.

Of course establishing trade in certain conflict areas can and will be hazardous, so a gentle approach will be required over time, taking small steps to create and nurture the trading relationships required to achieve the end peaceful result.

There are several serious conflict zones globally, but the case for increasing fair trade in these areas will, as mentioned, spread awareness and steps can, and should, be taken in these areas with a view to making a humanitarian difference to the residents on the journey for peace.

So next time you do your shopping, you should consider purchasing fair trade produce and play your part in creating a positive impact in these war torn areas, ending, or at least easing poverty, and take steps in developing a stable social structure.

This overall can help end the violence in conflict areas, increase equality and therefore promote a more peaceful world.

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