Young Leaders Peacebuilding Retreat

Dharma Drum Mountain Retreat Center
Pine Bush, New York
October 25-28 2006

Full retreat report
Opening and closing remarks by Master Sheng Yen

On October 25-28th, DDMBA sponsored and hosted the Young Leaders Peace Building Retreat in partnership with the Global Peace Initiative of Women (GPIW). The four-day retreat, held at the Dharma Drum Mountain Retreat Center in Pine Bush, was attended by 80 young leaders, from 35 countries, who have a commitment to global peacebuilding and conflict resolution. They were invited to participate in the dialogue, which covered the root causes of regional and communal conflict, as well as to explore environmental and social issues, and challenges to global peace. Many of the young adults at the retreat, went on to attend the United Nations Global Youth Leadership Summit at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, (October 29-November 1).

Utilizing a comprehensive approach to peacebuilding, the retreat agenda addressed the impact of conflict on youth and conflict resolution from many themes:

  • Understanding and Practicing Peace,
  • Tapping inner resources for rebuilding and renewa,l
  • How to protect and treat the spiritual environment and
  • How gender balance can bring us closer to peace.

The retreat established a network of young people committed to developing community and individual partnerships around peacebuilding and from this emerged the creation of the Young Leaders Peace Council. The Council committed to establishing a formal structure that would allow a support network to give rise to programs and partnerships led by the young leaders council members.

Master Sheng Yen welcomed the group to the Dharma Drum Retreat Center and expressed his hope that their surroundings for the next couple of days would serve as the right atmosphere for their discussions. He spoke specifically about the importance of cultivating Inner Peace and the connection it has to the world. Other presenters included: Mayshee Sansanee, Ms. Dena Merriam, Mr. Olara Otunnu, Ms. Jane Little, Mr. Eugine Nyuydine Ngalim, Professor Amir Al-Islam and Ms. Leila Atshan.