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2020 Peace Summit in Bangkok, Keegan Altman

Keegan Altman has been learning about how to make the world a better place. Since yesterday, the 5th of February, she has been at the UN Conference Centre in Bangkok, Thailand for the 2020 Peace Summit of Emerging Leaders.

Whilst we all recover from holidays and begin the final weeks of preparation before another busy trimester, three UNE Peace Studies students, including Keegan and staff member Dr Vanessa Bible, have been listening to the empowering talks from global leaders in peace alongside 500 other international students.

“It’s a well-established fact that in any society, at any point in history, young people are more idealistic. They’re dreamers. But at the same time, they often see things with more clarity. Harnessing this youthful energy and passion is so valuable, as young people should be the change-makers. It’s their future.” – Group Officer Dr Vanessa Bible spoke with us about the conference before they left – for a quick recap, check it out here.

The five-day conference features empowering talks, networking sessions and meaningful workshops that will teach the group how to put peace-building initiatives into practice.

Hear from Keegan about the conference and why she wants to be a leader in world peace below ⤵️

What inspired you to want to attend this event?

Last year Dr. Vanessa Bible informed me of the event and I immediately wanted to attend. It is such a wonderful opportunity to learn, grow and network.

What do you hope to learn from the conference?

I want to learn skills to become more effective at peacebuilding. In particular, I want to learn how to promote inclusivity and harmony within my local community. I want to learn how to become a better leader so I can empower other young people in my local community to become leaders themselves, and I want to strengthen my de-escalation skills so I can have more peaceful and constructive dialogue.

What is one integral global issue you are looking forward to discussing at the conference?

I am particularly looking forward to hearing from Zak Ebrahim. His father was a terrorist who helped in planning the bombing of the World Trade Centre in 1993, and despite being exposed to extremist ideologies and violence, Zak had dedicated himself to advocating for peace through nonviolence. He is an inspiring individual who I anticipate will have invaluable insights into how individuals can overcome violence and work towards peace.

Also, I look forward to discussing the refugee crisis and hope to explore how we can encourage more empathetic responses from our political leaders and fellow citizens with regard to this global issue.

What does achieving peace sustainably mean to you?

The creation of sustainable peace is an ongoing global challenge; however, it is a worthy one. I believe the key to sustainable peace is the elimination of divides between ‘us’ and ‘them’ which will ensure the rights of all are respected and upheld. I try to live by one very famous quote…

“Your thoughts create reality. The most pragmatic way to create world peace is to use your power of visualization. Think peace, act peace, spread peace, imagine peace. Your thoughts will soon cover the planet. The most important thing is to believe in your power. It works”. Yoko Ono

What do you enjoy about studying Peace Studies at UNE?

I love ❤️studying Peace Studies at UNE. We are so lucky to have access to a diverse range of subjects that explore global issues including human rights, the Climate Emergency, the refugee crisis, and mental health. I am particularly thankful for the academic staff who relate the material to real-world issues and inspire us to use what we learn to change the world for the better.

We can’t wait to hear back from Keegan and the group after their return to Australia we are so excited to see what they accomplish during the year as Humanitarian Affairs Peace Ambassadors.