First Peace Builders Forum was held on 27 November 2016 as part of Communities’ peace advocacy at Doonside Community Centre in Sydney.
This was initiated by the International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG) and International Peace Youth Group (IPYG).
First of its kind, it is an initiative to create an atmosphere of peace between India and Pakistan, two nuclear powers almost at the edge of a war due to the escalation of tension and ongoing turmoil in Indian administrated Kashmir.
The main objectives of the forum is promoting harmony and peace within the culturally and linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities in the Blacktown district where a large population of migrants from India and Pakistan live.
Dr Keith Thompson from Notre Dame University opened the forum by explaining on Australia’s war legacy as well as Australian diversity.
He highlighted the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) and emphasised that international law does not justify the notion of pre-emptive strike, mentioning the war in Iraq by the Coalition of Willing.
Councillor Carol Israel, representing the Mayor of Blacktown City highlighted the importance of safety efforts towards building peace between India and Pakistan. She acknowledged that people from around 177 countries reside in the City of Blacktown makes a very diverse society.
Councillor Moninder Singh, who is of Indian origin, appreciated the initiative of IWPG-IPYG in promoting peace and harmony locally and internationally.
Mr Oniel Adnan, a Pakistani Australian and Ms Marilie Bomediano of Filipino Press Group Sydney also addressed the audience. Both of them focused on the importance of peace, love and harmony.
In an interview, the freelance reporter, Hanif Bismi said that war is not a solution for problems particularly in the current situation in Kashmir.
“People of India and Pakistan have more in common than their differences and both Indians and Pakistanis are from the same culture and they both enjoy cricket and Bollywood movies in a similar way”, he said.
The program was concluded with vote of thanks by Ms Lydia Im, NSW Director, IWPG and Mr Paul Lee, Coordinator IPYG.