Humanitarian and Youth Programs


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Religious Youth Service

Russian Youth Explore the Mysteries of Nepal

Kavre, Nepal - Nine Russians participated in the Religious Youth Service project "Creating friendship through interreligious volunteering" that took place in Nepal December 2-9.

The project brought together about 50 delegates from many nations of the world. Among the participants were representatives of Pakistan, Egypt, Spain, Bangladesh, Russia. The Russian participants included five Ambassadors for Peace from Moscow and four Young Ambassadors for Peace studying at the Kazan Federal University.

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Friendship, mutual understanding, tolerance, equality, harmonious intercultural dialogue, development of respect for religions - these and many other humanistic ideas were part of the framework of the project from the very beginning to the end, contributing to the establishment of relationships of trust. In this atmosphere, the priorities were mutual understanding and mutual assistance, which helped the participants to discover new facets of interpersonal relations.

The Russians as well as all other participants in the project showed their creative abilities in the various interactive experiences aimed at: (1) participating in the spiritual life of religious communities; 2) enriching their knowledge about values and fostering leadership skills; 3) communicating with representatives of different ethnic and religious groups; and 4) improving their experience of cross-cultural communication.

The first aspect includes practical classes on raising the level of tolerance and perception through direct communication of Youth Ambassadors for Peace with representatives of various religious communities. The participants in the project performed repair work at an orphanage and renovated the walls of the Buddhist monastery in Banepa, Kavre district. This monastery is the spiritual, social, and educational center for the residents of the village of Banepa and the nearby capital of Nepal, Kathmandu.

The second aspect of the project included lectures by well-known experts and social activists on the issues of developing good-neighborly relations and intercultural and interreligious dialogues.

The third part was the most interesting one; it aimed at expanding people's experiences with other cultures and views of the world. The participants visited places of religious worship including Buddhist temples, Hindu chapels, churches, and mosques, and learned details about the nation's religious history.

Finally, the fourth aspect was living communication among all participants, which also took place under the slogan of cooperation and mutual understanding.

The apogee of the project was the solemn closing ceremony; it was attended by representatives of all levels of society, including politicians, public figures, scientists, lawyers, and religious leaders. They once again emphasized the importance of creating friendship with people of many religions and advised Youth Ambassadors for Peace to further develop their efforts.

Lily Romadan from the University of Kazan shared the following impressions as leader of the Russian delegation:

In my opinion, Nepal is the most mysterious and enigmatic land in Asia. Due to its geographical location and the specific state policy, it has been closed off from much of the world. I was fortunate enough to visit this wonderful country and participate in the project. We travelled thousands of miles and, as it turned out, not in vain.

This was my first time to head a Russian delegation. I acquired unique experiences in conducting negotiations and creating friendly relations. In general, during the project I was infused with energy and positive feelings. We have seen the true beauty of Nepal through becoming acquainted with the people, charities, state, and public organizations. We met the Minister for Social Affairs and a spiritual leader of Nepal and discussed with him the youth policy of the two countries. In addition to the master classes and presentations, we took part in a number of humanitarian projects and established contacts with students from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Egypt, and Spain.

During the week together we made many friends. In addition to the official program, we were able to see, although from a distance, the majestic Himalayas and the highest peak of the planet – Mount Everest. The capital Kathmandu is a fairly big city, harmoniously combining the features of modernity and the charm of the past. The narrow streets were amazing with their variety of architecture. Hundreds of churches and small places of worship looked calm and peaceful, leaving to us the bustle of everyday life with its endless streams of rickshaws and deafening car beeps that never cease even for a second in Kathmandu.

The trip to Nepal was for us Europeans, on the one hand, a real challenge, and on the other hand a gift of fortune. Participating in the project reassured me once again that goodness is something on which the world is based.

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