The vision of One Family under God has been inspiring faith, community and cultural leaders around the world to seek out solutions towards a peaceful and prosperous future. The following is a simple, but substantial example that reflects the change of heart and mind that takes place when people begin to see each other as family.
With a simple, all-inclusive and values-based platform, Global Peace Foundation is taking an interfaith approach in partnership with the Interreligious Council of Uganda to provide a much-needed space for religious and cultural leaders to discuss a common vision for the good of all people.
A key GPF initiative that resulted from these kinds of interactions between community leaders was one apple-planting program. In this program, families that had previously been in conflict were given an opportunity to meet together in peace and to make a shared commitment to move forward, using the symbolic act of planting apple seedlings together.
This initiative was inspired by a traditional Ugandan practice in which conflicts between families would be settled where a daughter would be married to a member of the aggrieved family. Here, instead, the families would plant apple trees together.
Apple trees are traditional cultural symbols of love and peace, and the joint planting represented the commitment to move forward, together. Beyond the act of planting, the families were encouraged to care for the apple trees together, and with increased interaction and cooperation, build ties and eventually— literally— reap the harvest of apple fruits.
These kinds of initiatives, although simple in concept and design, can be powerful models for reconciliation. Yet, to engage in such acts of forgiveness, requires deep reserves of faith, love, hope and commitment to a shared future. When families see themselves as part of One Family Under God, they were able to naturally seek out win-win solutions to conflicts to the benefit of the entire community.
Moreover, it is in the commitment of the interfaith and intercultural leaders towards building communities of peace and social cohesion that allows for this kind of initiative to take place.
When faith and cultural leaders take the lead, modeling behaviors and mindsets of leaders of a community of “One Family Under God,” other positive developments naturally follow.
This post first appeared on Global Peace Foundation. Global Peace Foundation is an international non-sectarian, non-partisan, nonprofit organization, which promotes an innovative, values-based approach to peacebuilding, guided by the vision of One Family under God. GPF engages and organizes a global network of public and private-sector partners who develop community, national, and regional peace building models as the foundation for ethical and cohesive societies. Dr. Hyun Jin Preston Moon is founder and chairman of the Global Peace Foundation.