Young Indians (Yi) Vadodara, the youth wing of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), hosted The Business of Peace interactive session about the necessity of developing means of inter-cultural communication and education to bring about peace in the world on Saturday, October 22 at iPlex from 4 pm to 6 pm, which was changed on that day to 5 pm to 7 pm because of the Prime Minister’s visit to the city and restrictions on traffic movement. In spite of such setbacks, the event received a good attendance and enthusiastic participants engaged in discussions even after the session.

The speakers were Prof Robert McNulty who is member of the Steering Committee of the UN Global Compact Business For Peace initiative and founder of the people-to-people peacebuilding initiative called Pax Populi; Waleed Hussain, News Editor of MidDay newspaper in Mumbai and Sayed Khalid Sadaat, an Afghan student who is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication at the Faculty of Journalism and Communication (FJC) of M S University, Vadodara. Before coming to India, Sadaat worked at one of the world’s largest humanitarian organisations in Afghanistan called the Jesuit Refugee Service where he supervised projects on women’s empowerment and girls’ education. Kirthi Jayakumar, the founder of the Chennai-based Red Elephant Foundation and winner of the US Presidential Services Medal in 2011, also participated through a virtual presentation.

Dr McNulty spoke about how Pax Populi has helped in peace education in war-torn Afghanistan and then focussed on how businesses could help improve the bilateral relations between India-Pakistan. Mr Hussain, whose story was a part of the Bollywood film, Airlift, talked about the difficulties he faced as a 12-year-old Kuwaiti refugee and how the media shapes perceptions and opinions. He insisted that we should be responsible when sharing or forwarding something on social media because the consequences of an irresponsible forward can be very harmful. Mr Sadaat spoke about the system of education in Afghanistan and how the international community can help rebuild a nation. Ms Jayakumar discussed the Gender Based Violence (GBV) world map she has made to ensure that women in 197 countries get access to help if they are in situations where they face violence.

Participating students in the audience engaged with the speakers before and after with the event. The Business of Peace session provided ideas about how technology, education and corporate partnerships across borders can actually help make the world a more peaceful place.