Mariem, Tunisia

Dear World,

Deciding to eat that apple, Adam and Eve, the first humans that visited earth, left eternal peace to join a world where the word “peace” is just another word found in books, speeches and dreams.

The story of Adam and Eve makes me think that this world was never meant to be at peace. Today, the news shows war growing in this world, like parasitic weeds in our gardens, harming and destroying its flowers.

It feels like there is no hope anymore. How is it possible to find peace in a world corrupted by all kinds of weapons: pollution, wars, racism, sexism, poverty, hunger… and the list is still long.

Yet, the answer to this problem is simple. We just need to look at ourselves and see how we still wake up every day to work, study, travel, party, laugh, cry… to live! No matter what, all humans wake up every day hoping for a better today and a better tomorrow. All humans, no matter how different they are, seek the same thing: true happiness!

But what is true happiness without a peaceful world?

True happiness and peace is a world where human life is worth more than petrol, a world where no child has to wonder whether he is going to die from hunger or from the next bomb explosion, a world where people don’t have to fight over a loaf of bread or a drop of water, a world where everybody has a shelter they can call home.

I wish to live in a world where I don’t have to beg others not to pollute their earth and where nature protects us and does not harm us. I wish to live in a world where humans don’t turn the eco-system upside down just to have more money.

Why can’t we be ourselves and follow the path drawn for us by nature? After all, we were all created the same way. We all entered this world in the same way, out of a mother’s womb. Can’t we just be equal?

No one will be considered better than the other just because he or she was born in that country, or has a particular color of skin, or belongs to a specific religion, or is the descendent of a certain family. Our differences should form our strength and not our weakness.

I dream of a world where no boundaries limit humans and we all belong to the same nation: the world!

The word racism will then disappear and stay just as a word found in dictionaries describing an awful behavior of our ancestors. War will then see its end, as a horrific act where people kill people in the name of protection and freedom. Humans torturing other humans, destroying their houses, raping women and stealing their children’s innocence over a piece of land or a liter of petrol or a different religion is shameless and abominable. Why should he die so that you can have a better life? Remember, we are all equals.

Being equals also means that a man is not considered better than a woman just because he has a slightly different body! Men should be respectful to all women and vice versa.

Peace will reign when everybody learns to accept and respect others no matter how different they are. But first, peace will reign when people learn to accept and love themselves just the way they are, no matter what other people think of them.

The perfect vision of peace will start to see the light when Martin Luther King’s dream comes true, when Gandhi’s sacrifices don’t go in vain and when unity becomes the symbol of the world.

Yours,

Mariem Oueslati

Age 23, 
Tunisia

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Sondos, Egypt

Dear World,

”You may say I am a dreamer, but I am not the only one. I hope someday you will join us. And the world will live as one.” -John Lennon.

My name is Sondos and I am a 15-year-old girl from Egypt. Hearing in the news about the various conflicts happening in almost every country has become normal. A feeling of shame usually haunts me, as I am being unable to solve this issue. There are indeed people who wish to stop this global war and pursue peace including me, but how could we achieve this goal?

In order to do that, we should get rid of all the hatred we surround ourselves with. Take for instance, a quarrel that occurs between two neighbors due to hatred, jealousy, or envy. It may be simple, but a modest quarrel might lead to a civil war. That is how it works. Do you see my point? We should live joyfully and look for inner peace as it helps in reaching our aim of worldwide peace.

Consequently, I see that each person has a specific role in creating this vision. Women, for example, should plant the term of peace in their children’s daily life. Most men also should stop seeking power because this is the main reason for these conflicts. Youth should participate in different worldwide activities in order to make friends, exchange cultures and spread awareness of creating peace. Moreover, social media can be a platform to discuss solutions to obtain a peaceful world.

Personally, I am doing my best to create peace among people who surround me. However, I will not succeed alone. I need you to smile, forgive, love and search for happiness in the tiniest things. Stop violence, racism and help make the world a better place. Let us all live as one.

Yours truly,

Sondos Hesham Egypt

Victoria, Belgium

victoria-van-grotenhuis

Dear world,

How would it be to live in a world where homeless people don’t have to seek for food any longer?

How would it be if every child around the world were able to pursue his own dreams of education?

How would it be if peace were as normal as breathing?

I believe in peace and a better world. It is only a matter of time and understanding until we truly see the beauty of it.

I’m Victoria, an economics student who believes money can’t buy everything, definitely not peace. As a 20-year-old European woman I’ve been confronted with people who never had to fight in their lives to get accommodation, food or even clean water. This problem struck me when one day a black homeless man around 24 years old came up to me. I was peacefully jogging and totally unaware until he stood in front of me. He didn’t ask for money. Water and food were his only request. It is as simple as that. We sometimes forget about those who didn’t have the luck to grow up in this carefree life.

Poverty is one of the biggest causes of war and conflicts in the world. Do not forget that children are the biggest victims of it. Of course their mothers are impacted too. The biggest challenge of all is to not give up and help one another through this search for peace. If we work together we will surely make this world better than it already is.

We are still young. We have a lot to learn and we carry our pocket full of dreams with us. We can make a difference with little steps. Together, all the steps we take make beautiful stairs to climb to this top called peace.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – Barack Obama

Thank you very much,

Victoria van Grotenhuis

Age 20, Belgium

Kayla, USA

Dear World,

More and more often, when I read the news I see reports of sexual violence. In my own country, the United States, and in countries all over the world people are subjected to harassment, rape, and murder because of their genders and sexualities. People are forced into marriages and sexual relationships, prostituted and trafficked. People are denied contraception, forced into pregnancies and abortions, and unwillingly sterilized.

More and more often, when I read the news I see reports of perpetrators of sexual violence going unpunished for their crimes.

To use a recent example, rapist Brock Turner was convicted of three charges of felony sexual assault. In addition to registering as a sex offender, he could have served fourteen years in prison for these charges, but he was only sentenced to six months and only served three. Judge Aaron Persky stated that a longer prison sentence would have “a severe impact” on Turner.

Turner’s case is exceptional—not because of the relative slap on the wrist Turner received, but because his case had eyewitnesses and went to court.

There are so many cases of sexual violence that do not have witnesses and do not go to court. Our failure to hold perpetrators accountable is unacceptable.

However, I believe that our societies can change.

I work for this change by speaking out. I work for this change by voting for representatives that are concerned with these issues and contacting representatives who could be doing more. I work for this change by supporting and donating to organizations that help those impacted by sexual violence. I work for this change by listening to the voices of others, educating myself about perspectives and experiences that are different from mine, and striving to live with empathy.

I ask you to work for this change with me.

If you are able to speak out, participate in your government, or donate to charities, please do so. But whether or not you are able to do those things, I ask you to work for this change with me by listening to different voices, educating yourself, and being empathetic.

Together, we can make our world a more peaceful place.

Kayla Allen

Age 22, USA