Global Journeys for Young People to Build Peace

From Judy Maghakian, Director

“If you are planning for a year, sow rice.
If you are planning for a decade, plant a tree.
If you are planning for a lifetime, educate a person.”
Chinese Proverb

ARK, a Global Peace Family, does not have a “swinging door” agenda. ARK is a long term investment in young peace builders. Youth who live in villages in mud huts and have but one change of clothing. Some who live behind walls restricting their movements denying them dignity, education, health care, religious freedom, employment, a homeland. Others who live in a country whose history and land were ravaged by the greed of occupying governments. Some who live close to those dying from HIV/Aids and see orphaned children begging for food on street corners, often next to a dying mother. Others who live in pockets of poverty in the midst of affluence. Some who know the comforts of a secure home, an education, an abundance of food, material stuff, technology, options. Contrasts that can overwhelm and divide breeding fear, ignorance, violence, hopelessness, entitlement.

For over 12 years, in spite of language and cultural differences, these diverse young people have been educated to share their life stories, woven together by common threads of fear, ignorance, violence, racism, war, economics, broken promises, heart aches. They have spent countless days and hours of study, training, dialogue, listening, discovery, challenging, problem solving, caring. They have been equipped to take these threads of contrasting painful realities and weave them together with healing threads of human worth and dignity, cultural pride, the beauty of music, art and dance, food, laughter. The threads of justice and compassion for the universality of the rights of all people to be safe, fed, to live in caring community which cherishes, nurtures and protects regardless of geography, gender, color, socio-economics, government. They have been empowered and taken ownership of leadership that has impacted hundreds of others in relationships, homes, schools, universities, the work place, and communities.

The ARK Family is strong but UNFINISHED. Peaceful world co-existence is not a reality. ARK will continue its quest to make the 2000 United Nations Charter of Peace for Children and Youth a reality. They will add new countries and cross over the Generational Bridge bringing together the gifts of aged peace builders and youth.

Thank you to all who support the ARK Family commitment to build a Global Family that begins in the human heart and extends outward to build a peace filled world of love, hope and opportunity for people of all nations, races, faiths, socio-economic, political and age differences.

A huge vision, but not an impossible one. ARK believes this and has a track record of delivering to prove it! Read of the accomplishments of the ARK Family!

Comments from Lotti Matkovits, Supporter of ARK:

How can we still hold on to hope in a world where peace seems ever more elusive and warfare, terrorism, and horrible inhuman acts are forever escalating?

It is thanks to people who refuse to give in to this kind of defeatist thinking, that we have organizations such as ARK, which steadfastly and successfully work toward a better world.

In less than 10 years, ARK has successfully developed and implemented an amazing concept on how to create a better world. In an environment of tolerance and acceptance, young people from diverse nationalities, ethnic, religious and cultural groups, learn that we human beings are much more alike than we are different. With that realization, it becomes possible to tear down the walls of separation and build bridges of understanding instead.

We’ve seen young people “grow up” with ARK and finding ways to bring back the tools of peace building to their home countries; thus drawing attention to the fact that we can help build a better world even if it is only one person taking that first bold step.

I once viewed the ARK idea as a wonderful but probably unrealistic dream – the obstacles seemed simply too great and too many. But I, the doubter, was proven wrong. Because of a pebble that was courageously tossed into the deep sea of human yearning for peace… ripples keep drawing wider and wider circles, touching more and more lives, and there is no telling how much further the ripples will keep going!

Thank you ARK, for renewing my believe that it’s not an act in futility to work for peace in a seemingly hopeless world – you’ve shown me how much can be achieved by those who have caught on to ARK’s vision and bring it to bloom in their own corners of our global village.

Lotti Matkovits, Supporter of ARK

Click here to read the Bio of Judy Maghakian, ARK Director

Click here to read a statement made by an ARK participant on Judy’s leadership style.