Our first meeting in London was really about starting from the beginning; we discussed the structure of UWP GB as well as our key aims and values. From this meeting, we decided to create a group focused on openness and outreach with a clear focus on positive, practical change in our local communities. The recent meeting in Glasgow had a slightly different purpose. We had already established our ideas and aims for the project; this time we wanted to begin to discover how we could achieve them concretely.
To succeed, we all acknowledged that we would greatly benefit from the wisdom and experience of others. So on the Saturday morning, we began the weekend with a series of “expert discussions”. We split into groups and spent time listening to three expert speakers present a topic and answer our questions. The aim was to increase our knowledge; open up to new ideas and help us think in a different way in order to continue building a sustainable, well-structured UWP.
Pauline Lynch spoke about unconscious bias and her work in helping people become aware of their biases so that they have the choice to act differently. Alicia Devine took us on a journey of her personal involvement within the Focolare movement and her work in the arts. Ahmed Khweir and Sheikh Mohammed Pakdin from the Ahl Al Bait Society Scotland discussed both the experience of building a youth group from grass-roots and the importance of interfaith action. Although on paper these talks seem quite unconnected, it soon became clear that there were strong links between all of the speakers’ experiences which gave a sense of real harmony to the morning’s activity. Each talk gave us such insight and valuable guidance that will help us develop the UWP over the next few months.
We followed the discussions with a walk and picnic in Pollok Country Park where we even spotted some highland cattle! After feedback from the previous meeting, we had purposefully set aside this time to relax and simply enjoy being in each other’s company. We found that sometimes we can have the
most open and profound conversations in these moments. Luckily the weather held out for us as we spent the rest of our afternoon outside. One of our priorities for the weekend was to make a clear and positive difference to the community, no matter how small. We chose to do this through a litter pick organised in partnership with the charity Keep Scotland Beautiful. In just over an hour, we managed to collect a remarkable amount of rubbish from the streets surrounding our accommodation, including an equally remarkable amount of empty iron-bru cans…Some of us were even encouraged by local passers-by who wanted to know why we were doing the litter pick.
After a busy Saturday, we took a gentler pace on Sunday. Since we want to place a real emphasis on openness within the UWP, we began by sharing our thoughts on the weekend: what we enjoyed and what we would like to see improved. This session was really useful in helping us consider future events. We also spent quite a bit of time discussing the development of our internal and external communication as this is an aspect we are looking to improve. Desp
ite realising the amount of work needed to build up the UWP GB, the weekend in Glasgow taught us how much enthusiasm and potential there is for the project. We hope to spread this far and wide across our communities over the next few months.
We would also like to take this possibility to thank everyone who has supported us so far and who continue to do so. It means a great deal to know that we are being cheered on by the rest of the community. Do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to get more involved.
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United World Project GB: United World Project GB is a group of young people committedto bringing people and communities together through effective social action and meaningful dialogue. We are part of the project worldwide, read more about it here: http://www.unitedworldproject.org/en/
Focolare movement: is a movement of spiritual and social renewal, founded in Trent, Italy, in 1943, during the Second World War. It aims at spreading the message of unity worldwide. Read more about it here: https://www.focolare.org/en/
Ahl Al Bait Society Scotland Ahl Al-bait Society is a Scottish Registered Charity established in 1991. The Charity established with the aim of working with ethnic minorities from the Middle East promoting cultural heritage, religious faith and vital community services. This includes practising Islamic faith, teaching Muslim kids how to become good Muslims, helping the community to settle and integrate within the Scottish communities so individuals and families can become active contributors for their adopted home. Read more about it here: http://www.ahlalbaitsocietyscotland.co.uk/