The Young Christians for Peace & Democracy
The Young Christians for Peace and Democracy (YCPD) association began in 2002 when the students of the Tbilisi Theological Seminary and young leaders from different religious communities formed an association to study and research various theological issues. At the same time, the association, supported by some members of the clergy, carried out various social projects. Despite containing ‘Christian’ in its title, the YCPD is not closed to non-Christians and any person sharing the Association’s declared aims can become a member.
The objectives of the Association are as follows:
- To protect religious rights and freedoms in Georgia
- To support peaceful relations among various religions
- To take an active part in inter-religious dialogue and facilitate the sharing of experiences among Georgian and international Christian youth
- To actively seek greater involvement of Georgian youth in religious life and demonstrate the role of religion in the modern world
Alongside the above objectives, the YCPD also aims to inform western society about the current religious situation and the religious traditions of Georgia.
At the end of 2011 our SCM became an associated member of WSCF-Europe and from that time on our activities have been reinvigorated with new inspiration and enthusiasm. The YCPD made significant efforts to achieve associated membership over many years and regarded it as one of the Association’s most important goals.
There were several challenges and successes in the life of our SCM during 2012.
We participated in the conferences and events planned by WSCF-E and our partner organizations. One of the key priorities of the YCPD is to support young people in furthering their theological studies abroad. The Association helps students to identify good universities in Europe and to provide them with help with their applications. A good example of this was when we helped to one member of our Association to obtain a scholarship to study at The Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome.
One of the most significant events of this year was the establishment of the Georgian theological journal Iota, for which we received some financial support from the Philanthropic Fund of Cyril and Methodius. The idea to publish Iota was prompted by the absence of any academic theological journal in Georgia. For the first time, young Georgian theologians will have an opportunity to write for such a journal and will be also be accessible to the wider public as well. Theological articles, essays from members of our organization as well as other young authors will be published in our journal. Establishing Iota lays the foundation for the creation of a circle of young, intellectual theologians in Georgia. They will work together to help overcome religious and ethnic stereotypes and strengthen peaceful cooperation with people from different backgrounds.
For the design of the journal, we selected ornamental features from ancient Georgian architectural monuments, and in doing so we gave our old heritage a new lease of life. And we hope that it will continue to bring new life for many years to come!
Of course, anyone from WSCF willing to publish an article in our magazine is very welcome to do so!
“An important stage of my personal formation coincided with the time I spent with YCPD and now I can say that volunteering at the organization, to a large extent, defined my world vision, attitudes and values. And I am happy that through our determined work and inspiration today we are already a part of a great community with the WSCF”. – Yulia Bajelidze
“YCPD opened a new door in my life, behind which was found love, tolerance, friends, understanding and respect… This organization gave me the chance to think and act differently. YCPD gave me the opportunity to meet new people from different ways of life and from new cultures and this was a great experience for me!” – Ia Pozidou
“I had a uniquely great experience in SCM-YCPD this year. I was able to co-operate with the representatives from all regions of WSCF. I found the exceptional ecumenical approach especially significant and I believe it is extremely important for us here in Georgia. Once again I discovered that it is only with the sharing of our love with everyone around us, irregardless of their social, ethnic or religious background, that we will find the key to truth and become real human beings.” – Ketevan Zazanashvili
“YCPD for me is an obvious example of what people, unified around one common goal, value and principle can achieve. This is an organization which reaches its intended aims only through its own possibilities” –Mirian Gamrekelashvili