Two individuals and an organization were honoured Monday with Peace Medals presented by the YMCA of Pictou County.
Henry Green, Beth McNeill and Safe Harbour, were honoured as local community members who have made significant contributions towards peace building.
The awards were presented at a breakfast that featured guest speaker Tareq Hadhad, Peace by Chocolate. He urged those present to strive for peace and for young people to overcome whatever obstacles they face to follow their dreams.
Hadhad and his family were placed in Antigonish after an uneasy life for several years in and around their native Syria.
“It was a great pleasure for me to reflect on our journey,” he said. “It’s about showing the importance of peace. We cannot do anything without it — family, community, business.”
He encouraged Nova Scotia to welcome more Syrian families to boost its population and its economy.
“They are not coming to take; they are coming to give,” he said. “Everyone will succeed and have an opportunity.”
Hadhad said the number of young people attending the breakfast impressed him.
From November 17 to 24, the YMCA of Pictou County has made plans with YMCAs across Canada to celebrate the presence of peace, and reflect on the peace-building work that happens all year both inside and outside the YMCA.
Several scheduled events took place on Tuesday, while two other activities will include laughter yoga starting at 12:10 p.m. on Thursday at the Y and a community peace walk on Saturday starting at 9 a.m. at the New Glasgow Farmer’s Market.
More than the absence of violence and conflict, the Y sees peace as the ongoing work of building and maintaining conditions of fairness, inclusion, empathy, security, and respect for diversity. Peace-building is core to the YMCA’s commitment to strengthening the foundation of healthy communities and part of the YMCA of Pictou County’s year round programs.
“It’s important that we work together to create peaceful communities where everyone feels that they belong” says Heidi Sinclair, communications, community outreach and philanthropy manager, at the YMCA of Pictou County. “By celebrating YMCA Peace Week together we are taking a stand and creating the future we want for our community, country and world.”