The centenary of the end of the First World War is fast approaching and we all recognise the horror and tragedy that armed conflict has brought, and still brings, to the lives of many around the globe. Commemorating this moment allows us to listen to the voices of the past to reflect on how we use the freedom we have today to create peace, to listen to others and commit to forming radical ways to resolve some of the issues we are facing today, issues like social isolation, bullying, gang culture, racism and extremism.
We are inviting young people to use our INSPIRE peace charter to create shared pledges of action, to collaborate with peers, those in authority and their local communities to create new initiatives that use their entrepreneurism, passion and networks to build peace. Most importantly, using the momentum of these peace initiatives, we will hold simultaneous INSPIRE events in high profile venues across the country on the 9th November 2018. These events will provide young people with a unique opportunity to commemorate Armistice Day 2018, be part of a movement with their peers, collaborate with each other, and celebrate what can be achieved when they commit to being ambassadors for peace to transform their neighbourhoods into places of reconciliation and inclusion.
In November 2014, Oasis worked with 20 South London school, St. George’s Catholic Cathedral in Southwark, the Imperial War Museum and a partnership of other local churches to bring 1000 young people together in an act of collective remembrance on November 11th. The youth-lead event consisted of music, poetry, readings and videos, a two-minute silence culminating in the mass planting of thousands of paper poppies made by the young people forming a giant word ‘PEACE’ as a piece of public art.
Not only did it give those taking part the opportunity to remember all those who died in World War I and in subsequent and present wars, it also and most importantly gave them the chance to be part of a poignant, inspiring and interactive event, creating a moment to commit themselves to working towards peaceful, integrated communities.
In the months leading up to the event, in partnership with the imperial War Museum, Oasis supported these schools with a some specially developed KS3 & 4 teaching resources, around practical peace-making, conflict resolution, management of emotions, listening and negotiation skills.
The 2014 project proved to be such a success that we’ve now committed to ourselves to a national project designed to give every young person in the country an opportunity to participate in a peace initiative in 2018, to mark the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day.
However, INSPIRE 2018, isn’t the end. Rather it is just the beginning. We want INSPIRE to spark a movement of peace makers, ambassadors and change agents led by young people. We want to encourage young people to use their entrepreneurism, networks, creativity and energy to come together and commit to taking steps towards peace; peace that will transform our communities and culture.