OAK BROOK, Ill., March 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Shreya, a 13-year-old girl from Kerala, India, has an idea of what peace should mean to the world. She brought that idea to life with a powerful essay that won her the grand prize in the Lions Clubs International Peace Essay Contest.
“Sometimes it takes the perspective of an incredible young person to help the world realize that we are all connected and that peace and international understanding can exist if we take the time to listen,” says Lions President International clubs. Douglas X. Alexander. “The Peace Essay Contest elevates the voices of amazing young people, like Shreya, who have powerful ideas about how we can create a kinder, more peaceful world.”
Created to give visually impaired youth an opportunity to express their feelings about peace, the International Essay Contest is a staple of Lions clubs around the world. Lions are working with local schools and area families to identify young people who are interested in participating and who could benefit from this program.
“Despite my visual impairment, I want to be a doctor when I grow up,” Shreya said. “For others like me who may have visual impairments, I say don’t focus on the pain, focus on the progress. It may be difficult, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.”
The winning essay, titled “We’re All Connected”, was selected for its originality, organizational merit, and representation of the contest theme, “We’re All Connected”. The Mannuthy Agri City Lions Club sponsored the local contest which gave this 8th grader the opportunity to participate in this global event and share her words of peace with the world.
“The idea of an essay contest for peace is very relevant in the current context where we are all devastated by the unrest in Europe and other parts of the world at a time when the bridge between nations is shrinking every day,” said PV Surendranadh, club president of Lions Club of Mannuthy Agri City. Shreya, and all of us, including Shreya and her family, are happy with this historic achievement. His thoughts are inspiring and echo the worldview that young people have for shaping the future.”
Through her essay, Shreya shares the idea that the world is one family. Even if we belong to different ethnic groups, follow different cultures or believe in other religions, we are all people deserving of happiness and love. Shreya discusses the COVID-19 pandemic and how following a significant global crisis, people have been able to come together to help each other in times of dire need. In conclusion, Shreya explains that we must remember the lessons we have learned from the pandemic and recognize that we are truly connected and dependent on each other.
“The Peace Essay is important because it can help others realize that humans can only survive collectively,” Shreya said. “We are interconnected and dependent on the kindness of others. The recent pandemic teaches us a lesson that no one can survive alone.”
As the winner of the contest, Shreya will receive a $5,000 cash prize, a prize and an invitation to attend an awards ceremony. Visit the Lions Clubs International website, lionsclubs.org/peace-essay, to read Zoy’s essay and learn more about the contest.
Lions Clubs International, the world’s largest service club organization, is made up of more than 1.4 million men and women in more than 200 countries and geographic areas around the world. Lions created the Peace Essay Contest to foster a spirit of peace and international understanding among young people around the world.
We are all connected
Peace Essay Contest Submission by Shreya Zoy
We all know that comforting feeling when we are physically embraced, heard, emotionally understood and supported by another human being. This warm human connection is very important for maintaining our overall emotional and physical health.
There is a saying in Sanskrit ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbikam’ mainly “the world is one family”. Certainly, we can see that the whole world is populated by people working to achieve the same things – happiness, peace, security, resources like food and shelter, and a hopeful future.
Our true identity is not whether we belong to a certain ethnic group or a certain culture. Yes, we may follow different paths or religions, but these can be changed, and the soul is primarily such temporary designations. And the nature of the soul is to love and to be loved. Happiness is found in relationships and no happiness is more than a deep loving relationship. But the highest relationship is one where we are spiritually devoted to the supreme being, the ultimate lovable object. This is the eternal spiritual path.
By having a solid grasp of spiritual knowledge, we automatically respect all others, regardless of race, gender, or species. It brings moral and peaceful social behavior to everyone towards everyone. Respecting the spiritual identity of each, the parts and parcels of the Lord, also gives us an innate happiness. We can understand that we are visiting this planet for a short time, and we are all in this together.
It was after thousands of destructive wars that humans realized the importance of peace. This applies to all angles like wars, pollution, natural disasters and more.
When peace and harmony are maintained, things will continue to unfold without any delay. Moreover, it is a savior for many who dislike indulging in destructive activities and more.
I think there is another deeper lesson from Covid-19. A lesson on our interconnectedness and interdependence: it is now clear that if we follow our own measures, if we wash our hands if we wear a mask, follow proper social distancing, then we can prevent ourselves from Covid.
Unless we work to make those decisions and choices, we won’t be able to open school, workplaces won’t function, our healthcare systems will continue to be overstretched, and society will not be essentially set up .
And one of the lessons of Covid is that we cannot respond alone. We must therefore mount a unified and thoughtful response. Unity is not only on a national basis, but between countries. We must be able to work together and put our common well-being ahead of our individual choices.
If we are to build a unified response to Covid and future pandemics, we recognize that we are truly connected and dependent on each other.
In conclusion, we are birds of the same nest, wearing different skins, speaking different languages, believing in certain religions and belonging to a different culture – yet we are in the same house – our land. Born on the same planet, covered by the same skies, looking at the same stars and breathing the same air, we must learn to grow together in happiness. Because humans can live individually but can only survive collectively. “YES, WE ARE ALL CONNECTED”