Social Media for Peace

Peace Education:
Promotion of Peace by all means, by all ways, is my life long mission that I initiated some 25 years before and social media gave it precise shape in 2010 especially on Facebook and Twitter.

Besides some 6 pages and groups on Facebook on peace and understanding, I used to post quotes, poems, pictures, videos, verses of Quran, Bible, Torah, Geeta, Guru Granth sahib and almost all religious texts focusing on peace, kindness, forgiveness, tolerance, non-violence, and co-existence on my timeline, which got unprecedented response, challenges, and appreciations from all sections and Facebook friends from all walks of life.

Currently I have about 5000 friends. And my greatest satisfaction is that I hate none and love and respect all and that is working to build the peace. And the campaign is including peace education in world curricula.

CAMPAIGN OBJECTIVES

The objectives are simply to promote a culture of peace through Peace Education by use of social media and all other means and ways that can bring peace and reduce hunger, poverty and other consequent human sufferings in our world.

HOW THE OBJECTIVES WERE ACHIEVED

The objectives are achieved both formally and informally. Formally, as a teacher, I tried to promote peace by organizing seminars, workshops, symposia, rallies, and numerous other activities that promote peace and understanding between different sections of society.

As National Service Scheme (NSS), India's biggest voluntary organization focusing on students and youth, Programme Officer, Red Cross Co-ordinator at the institution I am currently working, involving students in peace building through various initiatives.

Informally, through my NGO, Attitude Change International and several other NGOs like Red Cross, Amnesty International, Rotary International, Gandhi Global Family etc. I work for peace.

As an online volunteer with 30 development organizations including a dozen UN offices/organizations I have worked on various projects and was volunteer of year in 2005.

And above all applied social media for peace building.

CAMPAIGN INNOVATIONS

- Application of social media where most members of world society are especially present, I tried to engage them in collective thinking for ALL, instead of talking for one and raised human issues based on humanity without any biases.
- Looking at the problem from the other end when the majority were seeing it from the routine end. It gained a balance to the approach.
- Was the first to create a centre for peace education in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, though the activities remained virtual.
- Designed a course of Peace Education
- Delivered extension lectures in various institution on peace education and other related fields.
- Originated a peace newsletter, Co-existence
- Created a group of NSS volunteers on Facebook- first ever.

CAMPAIGN IMPACT

I have no idea how much my little efforts have had an impact but I am getting an average 40-50 likes on every Facebook post of my timeline, and people of high credentials -vice chancellors, bureaucrats, and intellectuals - are liking my ideas of peace.

I am getting huge appreciation from all.

CHALLENGES FACED

-Peace itself is the biggest challenge, yet bridging the gap is the mission. Criticism from orthodox and conservatives groups and people is part of the campaign.
- Convincing the masses, especially the governments, to integrate peace in educational curricula is another challenge.
- Funding for peace education projects is still a new subject.
- Peace professions are less likely to attract job seekers.
- By profession I am a botanist, and in practice I am a peace worker, hardly getting any support for attending conferences, seminars etc.
- I lost many friends, because I could not work as per their inbox aspiration - as my approaches are inclusive for all sections of society.

LESSONS LEARNT

- My writings and approaches have changed with time. Firstly I was thinking for one section of society, for example Muslims, now after years of experience, I work for all, and it is the biggest source of satisfaction for me.
- Kindness and forgiveness are better and more powerful tools than any weapons mankind has ever discovered.
- If we respect, we get respect from ALL- the biggest lesson I have learnt.

COUNTRY

India

CITY

Darhal Malkan, Jammu and Kashmir

WEBSITE

http://www.attitudechange.org

FACEBOOK PAGE

https://www.facebook.com/ashaqraza

TWITTER PAGE

https://twitter.com/ashaqraza