Mohammad Ayatulla Rahaman, 2023 Goldin Global Fellow and the National Director of Nepal Unites, reflects on his learnings from the Goldin Global Fellowship and shares more on the Interfaith Youth Peacebuilding activities he participated in India, Thailand, and Indonesia Assemblies. These experiences strengthened his advocating skills and global connections.

Mohammad emphasizes how these events nurtured dialogue and solidarity among young people regardless of their differences. Speaking to Goldin Institute, he highlights the invaluable role of youth leadership in tackling global issues collectively. He also shares his firsthand experience with the Goldin Global Fellowship and how it offered him a seat at the table among other grassroots leaders worldwide.

Mohammad Ayatulla Rahaman presented the contributions of Global Unites as a youth peace movement during the International Conference and AMAN Assembly 2023 in Banda Aceh, Indonesia.

Youth as Community Changemakers and Peacebuilders

Mohammad, who has over 17 years of experience in leadership as a facilitator and mobilizer, was invited to two significant events: the  Pacific Alliance of YMCAs (APAY)  Assembly in Chennai, India, and the Peace Conference in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in September 2023. He shares some valuable insights from these two esteemed programs: “Both programs were motivated by the passion for seeking to contribute to peacebuilding efforts in Asia, particularly in conflicted areas […] The assembly’s theme was ‘Journeying Together as a Resilient Community: Transforming Lives Through Vision 2030.’ The 21st General Assembly of the APAY offered a perfect atmosphere for insightful discussions on integrating and enacting Vision 2030 across different grassroots communities in the Asia Pacific region through our actions to bring the vision to existence.”

The delegates of the 2023 International Conference and AMAN Assembly at Banda
Aceh, Indonesia.

He acknowledges how vital youth leadership roles are for young people committed to collectively confronting these global issues. “The youth assembly offers young people an environment for fostering dialogue and chances to promote solidarity among young people from various ethnic and social backgrounds.” The theme of the Peace Conference was “Towards an Empowered Asian Interfaith Youth Network for Peacebuilding.”

My team and I opened our booth, where peacebuilders from other countries came to explore how we work on peacebuilding activities. I also learned from their presented engagements. Since most participants were ICF (Interfaith Cooperation Forum) alumni, we discussed issues threatening Asia’s peace and harmony.

-Mohammad Ayatulla Rahaman

Among the lessons, he shares how these activities helped him elevate their advocacy and work while collaborating with other organizations to promote peace at the national and regional levels: “The youths in both the Indian assembly and Thailand Peace Conference events released a collective statement outlining their vision for Asia’s conflict transformation and promotion of peace.” While in Thailand, he received an invitation letter from the Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN) to be one of their speakers during the International Conference and Assembly that was to be held in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, in October 2023, at the Ali Hasyimi Auditorium. At the conference, Mohammed presented “Reinventing Nonviolent Civil Resistance: Youth Peace Movement and Technology” to 400 delegates from 21 countries.

I spoke on the power of nonviolence, how it coexists with violent and nonviolent protest in the context of Nepal, and the use of technology in advancing peacebuilding. I also highlight the contribution of the Global Unites as a Youth Peace Movement and how it works for peace and reconciliation.

-Mohammad Ayatulla Rahaman

All these conferences and assemblies from India, Thailand, and Indonesia highlighted a teaching of respect and non-discrimination of people regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, and religion. Mohammad firmly believes that norms such as respect, appreciation, and solidarity among different cultures and religions can contribute to a more peaceful world: “These tributes and values also support one another in need and can strengthen community ties.”

Interfaith prayers in the MAKAM Tsunami/Tsunami’s Mass Graves of Ulee Lheue for
the victims of Aceh tsunami in 2004. The prayers were led by the Catholic priest and Muslim leader together with the delegates.

Global Goldin Fellowship a Great Platform for Sharing and Learning

Mohammad, with his team at Nepal Unites and other non-profit organizations, also organized an event for International Youth Day, focusing on the theme “Inspiring Youth.” “Inspiring Youth is a series where we invite the youth motivational speaker or the peace who has a success story that gives hope and inspires the youth to do something for social transformation”, he says.

His experience as a Global Goldin Fellow influenced his role in organizing the event for International Youth Day. “Being a part of the Global Goldin Fellowship was a great platform and opportunity to share our events and activism with our Fellow team members about our social activity and what we all are doing in our countries.” He adds that during the Fellowship, he met changemakers from 19 countries: “Although we are from different countries, our challenges are very similar to each other. We learned and shared the experiences of our countries.”

The Global Goldin Fellowship gave me the responsibility to stand for my passion for social change.

-Mohammad Ayatulla Rahaman

For Mohammad, the GATHER platform was very user-friendly, and it perceived the message of informal learning as a global family. Being a part of other community activists was vital for him, as he believes that social transformation does not happen overnight; it takes time. “For this [to achieve positive social change], all grassroots leaders must continue the initiation with passion and commitment.” Reflecting on his journey, he advises young, motivated people to persevere despite challenges. Conclusively, Mohammad adds: “Building peace is like picking up small pieces of things we build collectively to make it whole.”

The Nepal Unites Team in their booth during the Peace Conference in the YMCA
Chiang Mai, Thailand.