일요일, 12월 03, 2017

Acceptance Speech, Dr. Sakena Yacoobi

Afghan educator Dr. Sakena Yacoobi giving her Acceptance Speech during the 2017 Sunhak Peace Prize Award Ceremony.
ⓒ 2017. Sunhak Peace Prize







I am very honored to be chosen as one of the 2017 Sunhak Peace Prize laureates along with Dr. Gino Strada. I thank our host, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, members of the Sunhak Peace Prize Committee and my family and colleagues. Let us not forget, this prize established by Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, honors and represents the peace ideology of the late Reverend Dr. Sun Myung Moon. Reverend Moon believed we are “one global family.” This is true. We are living in a time where peace, love and wisdom needs to be at the forefront. God’s love does not discriminate by race, ethnicity, nationality, or religion. Reverend Moon reminded us of this. We must embrace peace as the road to resolving conflicts, building gender equality, and respect for all human beings. 

I, myself, became a refugee in 1979 after the invasion of my country. My family all became refugees. I know what it feels like to be in a place where all of your rights have been taken away from you. I know how it feels to lose everything you have, including your dignity and self-confidence. 

That is why I founded the Afghan Institute of Learning(AIL), and that is why I have chosen to work with Afghan refugees and the resettlement of Afghan refugees and IDPs in Afghanistan for the last 26 years. I wanted to find a way to help Afghans rebuild their self-respect and self-confidence; I wanted them to be able to trust again, rebuild their communities and reestablish their core values; I wanted them to be able to live in peace and harmony and have a sustainable way of life. 

We are living in a world where people are being judged by religion, ethnicity, race, and gender. People are being labeled wrongly and being targeted by hate groups. We must rise above the hate. We must use our voices for good. We need to remove the injustice and eliminate poverty. War is not the answer to any problem. We must work together collectively to bring peace in this world. In order to do this, we need to share our knowledge and build a support system that provides sustainable results. 

We see all around the world, millions of dollars are poured into countries that create an environment that does not bring peace or sustainability. The money is given to the government or organizations with no system in place to progressively develop the country. And sadly, the countries that need the most critical help are ignored. I truly believe that if we want to make a difference, we must set forth a creative program that involves the people. We must reach out to all community members; women, men and children. We need to give them all the necessary tools in life. We need to address education, health, skills, job opportunities, economics, environment, and above all human rights as it relates to responsibilities, values, compassion, love, and peace. 

As I have shared previously with some of the United Nations and European Union organizations, when we give an opportunity to people and ask them what they know, what are their skills, how much they can give, you would be surprised to see the outcome. People want to feel valued. They want their voice to be heard. When they are heard, people gain confidence and want to take an active role in your program to ensure the success of the community and country. From the beginning you gain an important asset-- the support and trust of the people. The human resources of the community will serve as the foundation that will build up the community and bring the people together. 

When you share love, compassion and wisdom, you provide humanity with an indestructible base for living in peace and harmony that no one can take away. You create an environment where everyone respects each other’s rights and appreciates different cultures, traditions, religions and ideas. With love, compassion and wisdom as your base, then everyone globally can live in harmony and peace.

Thank you all.





t is a great honor to be chosen as a 2017 Sunhak Peace Prize Laureate. This year the Sunhak Peace Prize focuses its attention on the global refugee crisis. It is a privilege to be recognized along with Dr. Gino Strada as someone who has contributed to helping refugees and helping in their resettlement. 

I, myself, became a refugee in 1979 after the invasion of my country. My family all became refugees. I know what it feels like to be in a place where all of your rights have been taken away from you. I know how it feels to lose everything you have, including your dignity and self-confidence. That is why I founded the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), and that is why I have chosen to work with Afghan refugees and the resettlement of Afghan refugees and IDPs in Afghanistan for the last 24 years. I wanted to find a way to help Afghans rebuild their self-respect and self-confidence; I wanted them to be able to trust again, rebuild their communities and reestablish their core values; I wanted them to able to live in peace and harmony and have a sustainable way of life.

When I first went to the refugee camps in Pakistan, I saw courage in the women, men and children, but I also saw despair and hopelessness. I knew that I wanted to do something to transform the minds and spirits of my people. I knew that to build trust, I needed to listen to them; I needed to include them and their ideas in programs that they wanted, and I needed to ask each community to contribute something to their projects. Their contributions would give them self-worth and dignity. In other words, I wanted them to become partners with us. And, because education has changed my life, I decided that the solution to transforming the lives of my people lay in offering them holistic education—education that would empower them, give them health, critical thinking skills, and skills to earn a living so that they could be self-sufficient —education that would help them to be creative and have vision—education that gave them wisdom but also taught them about love and compassion. Most importantly, because I am a spiritual person and I believe that God created all of us as equal human beings, I made up my mind to include universal core values that bring peace and harmony for all in any work that I decided to do with my people.

When you share love, compassion and wisdom, you provide humanity with an indestructible base for living in peace and harmony that no one can take away. You create an environment where everyone respects each other’s rights and appreciates different cultures, traditions, religions and ideas. With love, compassion and wisdom as your base, then everyone globally can live in harmony and peace.

Globally, if all are educated and have equal opportunity for a holistic educational system, you can overcome poverty and disease. Then, there is no war. We live in an era of conflict, mass displacement, growing hatred and great distrust. We need to look at the situation deeply and remember that we are all humans created equally by God. We must share and collaborate with each other to make this world a better place for everyone.

Nov 29, 2016 
Dr. Sakena Yacoobi

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