In this day and age, when many things we had taken for granted have been put to the test – health, work, access to education, financial stability, safety and above all world peace – young people across the planet are faced with the challenge of an ominous present but also with the need to take action towards creating a better future.
Mindful of the recent war in Europe, and taking into consideration that 2022 has been designated by the European Commission as European Year of Youth, we urge our students to not lose heart in the face of violence but to stand firm and take action in order to preserve peace as the utmost gift.
Europe has come face to face with the consequences of war as incidents of violence in schools or beyond are on the rise. Now more than ever we must provide the new generation with the opportunity but also the responsibility to become actively involved in building fraternity. Our children, young boys and girls, will be required to live with the consequences of today’s animosity for much longer than adults will. Therefore, the youth’s participation in disagreement and conflict resolution – whether within their personal environment or across the wider social and international spectrum – will factor into their future survival and will help establish a lasting peace. Peace, in this sense, stems first and foremost from reconciliation with oneself and secondly from reconciliation with our broader social context and all the peoples of the world. By tackling animosity and nurturing reconciliation today, the new generation paves the way for future peace. Without peace nothing is sustainable except from destruction. Therefore, a foremost life skill that may be cultivated through the children’s participation in this year’s Contest is the acquisition of inner peace as a prelude to sustainable social and international peace.
With all this in mind, we invite students to use their own songs and messages to draw a picture of the world they would like to live in, inspired by the notion of peace as supreme gift.