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The Summit was the most useful and interesting week of my life. I learned so much about myself and the rest of the world. The atmosphere around the village felt so safe and I was easily able to trust everyone.
Even though the name of the Summit is “Global Youth Peace Summit,” don’t expect to sit all day and talk about peace in the world. This Summit is about much more. It’s about finding peace within yourself so that you can teach others what peace is. I learned that:
– I’m not alone in this world.
– Honesty is what you need to build true friendships and relationships.
– We shouldn’t judge a book from its cover.
– We should never waste our PRECIOUS HUMAN LIFE.
I’m thankful for everyone that helped me participate in this amazing experience. The Summit was HONESTLY the biggest experience of my life. 🙂
During my weeks stay at John Knox Ranch for the Austin Global Youth Peace Summit, I experienced a collective healing for youth, and adults alike.
It was a comfortable and safe environment for all who were willing to share their unique personalities and struggles, without fear of judgement. For some it was a playground to test out being who they actually are, away from the things that make them feel like they couldn’t. For others it was a time to voice what they had held in for their entire lives, because they never felt comfortable using that voice, even to their loved ones. The energy that the Summit creates is unordinary and hard to find, however, what is taught is that this energy is something that is within each of us and can always be cultivated.
From my experience, when it starts in one person, it spreads like wildfire. I’m very thankful to have had the opportunity to share that week with everyone who attended. Despite my lack of funds and procrastination, the Amala Foundation helped me to make it possible and I’m forever grateful. I’m looking forward to volunteering next summer!
United States, 18
Each time I have attended the Global Youth Peace Summit, it has been transformational and an essential ingredient to my personal growth and journey in this world.
I didn’t have an epiphany at the Summit, and I didn’t leave a new person. It was in the subtle, rather than the obvious, that my life has been impacted by this community. This year, I left with the empowered ability to stand in my truth, to listen to my intuition, and perhaps most significantly in my own journey, to be a friend to myself. I believe that to be able to send youth out, to meet the world in this way, is so important to the health of this planet, and Amala’s doing it.
I have never experienced a community such as the Amala family; I have never felt so at home. For some of us, this is an experience like nothing we’ve ever known. It is invaluable and it has shaped who I am and how I live my life.
When it comes to Amala and the Summit, there are really no words to do it justice. All I can say is thank you. We are truly ONE VILLAGE.
United States, 18
The Summit has impacted my life in so many ways that I can describe. It changed my life, it changed my perspectives, and it raised me like I was a baby. No words can describe how amazing the Summit was.
I love explaining things to people. For example, if my friend in school wanted to know about the Summit, I would say that the Summit was amazing for me. If you go there, you will be interested. However, it will change your life.
I just want to say thank you to the leaders of the Summit. It was amazing meeting you this year. It wouldn’t have happened without you guys. I love this Summit, and it loves me. It opened my heart to learn and get knowledge from people. Sharing experiences with others. I love it. And I also wanna say thank you to the youth, for helping build the strongest community in this Summit. I love you all. I know you guys will go far and do great things with your life.
With Love & respect,
Ko Ser Lu
The first Summit I attended was this year in California, it was only a month or so ago and already I feel like a different person. It has shown me everyone is different in physical features, backgrounds, and experiences but regardless we are all One Village. It has shown me who I am without any masks, that change is okay, and that everything that’s ever happened, happened to get you where you are now.
It’s an experience that will open up your emotions and free up your self so that you can feel your self fully and authentically. You will probably make some of your truest friends here. And no matter what, you are gonna be accepted for who you are.
I learned that no one has problems that are insignificant in comparison to someone else’s. That not every thing will always go the way you want, but that’s okay. That people have to trust and love all other people, for their differences and similarities, in order for them to truly get along. That regardless of how you were brought up, it is easier than you would think to connect with someone on an equal soul level.
I have met some of the realest people there. I feel like everyone there is my family, not connected by blood but by love and respect.
United States, 15
The Summit was a magical place. The people I met there were incredible, and each one of them had a story to tell. I also had a lot of things to share, but I was a bit shy. I was told at the Summit that it was a place to open up and share what you had been hiding inside your heart. I spoke and cried at some moments. I met people from diverse backgrounds and their stories shocked me. It was a place for healing and connection. It was the second day of the Summit and we were sitting in a morning circle quietly with closed eyes. I felt like I was sitting there alone and then after that a lot of people did their religious practices.
The Summit brought a huge change in my life, and I started caring about people around me who were affected by society in many ways. I learned a lot of new things from the Summit. Apart from making friends, I tried mediation exercises, yoga games and singing. I stayed a couple of days with the One Village Music Project and recorded a song with different languages in it. I did a rap in Urdu. As a whole, this event changed my thoughts, gave me some new perspectives to look at people’s lives, taught me to heal my community and just be myself. I want to thank Amala, for it gave me a chance to be a part of its loving community and I am looking forward to coming back again.
Amala is my second big family that is always there for me and for everyone that needs support. I love being with them, it makes me feel peaceful, safe, loved and happy. They’ve always been a big inspiration to me since my first year of the Global Youth Peace Summit. All of them were very nice and kind to each other, no matter what skin color, religion or where they came from. I’ve learned to be more open minded and accept people that are different than me. I’ve had the chance to meet a lot of friends from different countries and different beliefs and learned about their beautiful cultures.
Amala always say that, “Everything happens for you, not to you.” This sentence helped me a lot to get through the tough times, and I started to use it with my friends as a positive thing to say for support. I am so glad that I got to spend time and be with them, It’s like they opened my eyes to a bigger world and helped me know how to understand it. Big thanks and gratitude to all my Amala family.
What is Amala? If I were to try to explain what Amala means to me and how it has helped me open up and forget the worries of judgment, it would take a really long time. It’s a place to truly let go and open up to a whole new world of love, acceptance and support. When you show up you automatically feel the good energy from the people around you.
It’s a safe haven for young adults to be able to be themselves or to open up to their true feelings and feel different emotions, such as love, fear, happiness, uncertainty and many more; without the fear of being judged. It’s a village, where everyone has their own role, to be authentic, in other words, to be themselves. It’s a community where one belongs, where one is loved, accepted and understood. It’s home, away from home.
United States, 18
What is amazing about Amala is the immediate support that is given to anyone who walks through its doors. These people (adults and youth alike) opened their hearts to me and gave me love and acceptance, making my fears meaningless and obsolete. More than that, they trusted me, coming to me for advice, being vulnerable and letting me support them just as much as they were supporting me. I felt honored and privileged to witness them in their true forms, which inspired me in turn to explore myself and find my true form. Amala introduced me to myself.
At Amala I learned that being a human being is a wonderful thing. I learned to love life, to take risks, and to be authentic because to me life is meaningless if you do not live it as who you truly are. I learned love is meaningless unless you open up and let someone love you for who you really are, not for the mask you show them. More importantly, I learned that I can be and am loved for exactly who I am. At Amala I found the family I desperately needed, but had never thought to ask for.
Life is a journey of discovery and instead of scaring me, it now excites me. This new excitement is largely due to that initial ocean of support and acceptance that I first received from Amala. I love this community more than I can put into words. It is my family and my salvation. I can only wish that everyone will find something that gives them the love, joy, support and discovery that I have been lucky enough to receive through this foundation. Full of love, respect, honesty and community, we truly are one village!
United States, 18
For me, most importantly, Amala gave me the opportunity to be myself and learn how to fully live with what that means.
I came to the Global Youth Peace Summit for the first time when I was 15 years old. I knew nothing about the program or the foundation, but discovered a whole new world of wonderful people and different choices. I learned about new cultures and, through that, to appreciate mine. Because of all the people I met, I learned that everyone is important, everyone hurts and anyone can teach you and share their wisdom. I learned to appreciate the small things as well as the big ones, to listen to others, to nature and to myself. I learned that everything is possible if we want enough.
I learned to trust the way of the universe and that I have the choice of growing from everything, and I learned to love unconditionally (but I’m still working on it). And yet, I learned that I have a lot more things to learn. I honestly can say that I am who I am today because of Amala. So obviously I came for two more years.
If I could describe Amala in one word, it would be discovery. Amala helped me find things about myself that were forgotten or never found. Since the first day I came to Amala, it made me see the importance of connecting with my inner-self.
Amala has taught me to accept myself and to not let fears control my path. The first time I went to the Global Youth Peace Summit, it was an awakening for me. I saw and heard many individuals who were from all around the world and who had struggles. It was like I was seeing the face of their country who needed help. It wasn’t just one individual, it was the whole village who had struggled.
No matter how big or small the struggle was, it was accepted. I think that was the beauty of the Summit. I saw their struggle and they saw mine and together we had the power to overcome any fear of doubt. I will forever be thankful to Amala for showing me the beauty of life and for making me a leader of peace. I met so many people from all around the world, and learned their languages and culture. It has made me work even harder to reach my goal to build communities all around the world. Without Amala I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
Amala holds a great piece of my heart. It has done so much for me and opened my eyes to a lot of things. Amala has helped me improve myself and open up way more. This was with the help of the Global Youth Peace Summit, which was the best week ever. They have also helped me with one of my passions in life which is music. They gave me, and others, the space to make an amazing album twice. It was one of the best times ever just to see all the different types of music come together.
Another thing they helped me do is recognize that I have a strong heart that can hold lots of space, and that my heart can change people. Just realizing and hearing that meant so much to me. I could go on all day about Amala so I’ll end with this, Amala creates the best space to come and be your true self. Without it I wouldn’t be anywhere near as close to who I am today. Thanks Amala.
United States, 18
This last summer I connected with a young woman named Ola. She is a muslim and I am a christian. As most of you know, the conflict between muslims and christians started a long time ago and continues today. But when I met Ola, my whole thoughts and views on muslims changed. There was a sense of acceptance which was a great feeling for me, something that opened my eyes to look deeper and search deeper into who someone actually is. I was taught how to embrace and appreciate life because there is probably others who are going through worse. I have learned to be accepting of my surroundings and just people who are different from me. I have learned that discrimination does nothing except hurt ourselves, because at the end we all are humans trying to survive in this world together.
I have learned how to express myself fully through music. The Amala Foundation has provided a great program for me, and other youth, to be involved in music. It has helped me learn how to be patient and how to collaborate with others, mostly listening and appreciating other people’s ideas because they all matter. Amala has made me the person that I am today, and my greatest gratitude goes to the Amala Foundation people and programs they have offered me. I feel at home when I am with the Amala Foundation One Village crew. It is always the best feeling that I wish to feel forever. I appreciate all your great service, and when I grow up I’ll want to help others the way you’ve helped me.
Democratic Republic of the Congo, 18