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The Beauty of Encounters

By Melisa Trad Malmod & Uzair Ben Ebrahim – ACWAY Fellows

It’s December 2016 and we were on our way to meet once more. It had been some time since the first ACWAY Forum in Rabat, Morocco, and after a year, so many things had changed except one: we were still finding our path towards the kind of world we want to build.

Our second forum in Brisbane, Australia, was an opportunity supported by Griffith University who hosted our two days intensive meeting and discussion to share how we kept the ACWAY spirit alive in the projects that we implemented that year in many countries we came from. Whether it was developmental work with girls in Sweden, climate change activism in Ghana or media coverage in Argentina, ACWAY was present every single step of the way.

As a movement of young people from across the globe, we acknowledge and appreciate the importance of reassembling after having many months pass us by. To be able to share a physical space where our discussions become tangible and our ideas interrogated, where we can stop time if only for a few moments and rethink our aims as a collective, we have become aware of what a privilege this is. This opportunity, when not safeguarded, could put international collaboration and networking at risk.

Therefore, when it becomes a reality, we make the most out of it. Last year in the land of Down Under, each and every ACWAY fellow got a seat at the table to engage with those difficult questions. How do we engage with people who are so far away? What do we think of our interfaith and inter-cultural work until now? Are our local and international engagements reflective of our personal values and the values of ACWAY? Are these the values we want to promote? Is it even possible to collectively agree on the type of institution and world we want to build? These questions challenged us and in our own way, brought us closer together.

A Common World Among Youth gives you the chance of finding others, young people who, like you and me, are certain that faiths and cultures can coexist peacefully. And this is ever so important, specially at a time when so many are willing to prove otherwise. We don’t only seek this with our projects, we live it in the ACWAY community. Getting together in Brisbane, Australia, meant not only being open in challenging our thinking and the thinking of others and accepting that there are different ways of addressing any issue, but that we are in this together.

With this mindset, new members and the old fellows have the same burning spirit facing the new challenges. A Common Word Among Youth is about moving forward, as an individual and as a collective. Here, on this path, you will find us. ACWAY all the way!