The first in-person meeting with the initial group of YAWoN occurred in December in Amsterdam, hosted by Rikko Voorberg, the director of A World of Neighbours:
“I can tell you, they are amazing, they ‘are AWoN’ and there is hope for a future European generation of togetherness across faiths and cultures,” he said.
Living together in harmony
Faiaz Dowlatzai, serving as the project leader, expressed the profound and inspiring nature of the gathering. Reflecting on the event, sharing:
“What a wonderful experience it was! I so wished that you could all be there, to see with your own eyes how we came together to discuss one single topic: how to live together in harmony, to celebrate our common grounds.”
The newly formed team, consisting of Jacco Friedeberg, a student from the Netherlands, Lilian Anazube, originally from Nigeria and currently studying at a university in Germany while collaborating with various European NGOs, and Gulhayat Mirzahmet from East Turkistan, living in Sweden and working with the interreligious project Together for Sweden, is just the first step.
“I believe there’s so much that we can do, so much that is needed, real work, multi-faith work, and we need your help to succeed,” said Faiaz, emphasizing the broader vision of a young A World of Neighbours Network, connecting youth and migration all across Europe – exchanging art, culture, faith and leadership towards a welcoming Europe.
Sharing stories with the world
Regarding the group photo above, Faiaz reflected, “This is not just a picture of four individuals coming together to create something unique. It is more than that. This picture tells four different stories, stories that are worth sharing, worth reading. And the goal is to gather as many more similar stories as possible and share them with the world, together, united.”
The team is currently planning a launch event in the upcoming months, followed by a camping trip and a youth pre-meeting before the AWoN annual meeting in Greece, 16-19 september, 2023.