Religious extremism in its various forms and manifestations is the biggest threat faced by Pakistan and the country continues to face multiple internal and external threats to peace, security and societal harmony. Attacks on educational institutions, perennial episodes of militancy, hate speeches of one community against the other and misinterpretation of religious scripts are some of the factors causing extreme unrest and turbulence in the society.
Considering the dire need of dispelling the distrust found among the communities against each other and creating sustainable peace, FACES Pakistan has continued to introduce peace projects, seminars and community meetings to bring people of different faiths together on a single platform so that the message of tolerance, forgiveness and non-violence could be spread among all the members of society.
FACES Pakistan initiated a youth program ‘Building Bridges over Religious and Cultural Divides’ in 2009. It initially involved University/College students from Pakistan, India and Afghanistan to promote peace, harmony, tolerance and co-existence in South Asia. FACES Pakistan was able to widen its ambit by involving students from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. In 2014, the project has entered into the next phase titled as “Neighbors for Peace”. The program developed a pool of students, motivated them through trainings and strengthened their capacity to carry out peace building activities in their countries. These students are now working as peace makers in their educational institutions and spreading the values of the program among other youth.
In the current phase FACES Pakistan begins the envisioned consolidation of this five year journey of “Neighbour for Peace”. The project established a network of several educational institutions in each country, by promoting the spirit of volunteerism. The youth in this network were provided training on Volunteerism and Volunteer Management Systems (VMS). Moreover, FACES Pakistan involved prominent writers and intellectuals on the subject of the involvement of youth in promoting peace and harmony in the South Asian region and its role in development.
Neighbour for Peace website (www.neighbourforpeace.com) has been designed specifically to keep everyone connected. All pool members can share their thoughts and opinions on the website, enabling peace builders around the world to view and promote ideas, indirectly spreading the message of peace around the world. They can freely interact and engage in dialogue on religion, culture, social and political issues between their countries. Dialogue invariably proves to the most effect tool of influencing and discussing certain issue between people, societies and countries. The interaction can be in the form of sharing of thoughts, opinions, post blogs, reviews, essays and poems on peace and tolerance. This portal also provided a forum to initiate debates and dialogues on interfaith harmony.