EMPOWERING YOUNG PEOPLE
Heartfulness eMagazine|January 2022
JEREMY GILLEY is a British director and actor who founded the non-profit organization Peace One Day in 1999. Jeremy’s creativity was sparked early in life, and he has spent over twenty years passionately committed to peace, sustainability, equality, justice, diversity, inclusion, climate action, and the mobilization of youth. He is the producer and director of four annual global digital experiences – Anti-Racism Live, Climate Action Live, Peace Day Live, and Space Transformers Live, an experience for young changemakers. With his signature enthusiasm and humor, in part 2 of this interview, he shares his vision for enabling young people with JUDITH NELSON of the Heartfulness Institute.
JUDITH NELSON
Q: Jeremy, you’ve mentioned that you’re keen to help and empower young people in light of the problems we currently face. Do you think that young people today face more challenges than previous generations and perhaps need more support? If so, what kind of support?

Yes, young people today definitely face more challenges than we faced. I have a ten-year-old daughter and she just spent two years in a house. That’s different. Now we’re queuing for fuel and people are panicking. If I were a young person seeing the way we’re running out of resources, we’re heating up, the ice-caps are melting, and there’s disease, I’d be looking around going, “What a very strange place I live in.”

I want to make it not so frightening. We can inform, inspire, and engage. Content and storytelling throughout history is crucial to change. Everything that’s on the periphery, on the edges, eventually becomes mainstream; and it becomes mainstream because people on the edges shout about it. I want to be a part of that edge, to help it move into the center.

When I went on my journey around the world, the first people I spoke to were young. I went into schools talking about this stuff. I’ve been on the road speaking to hundreds of thousands of young people, so I probably hold one of the largest archives of young people’s thoughts in the world. I’ve been immensely committed to this and I like the idea that we provide educational materials for them to be the driving force behind the vision of a united and sustainable world. Peace One Day has provided those materials for twenty-two years; and I think we’ve really got to equip young people with the necessary information and tools to take on the great challenges around diversity, inclusion, equality, justice, climate action, and peace. We’ve had hundreds of thousands of young people using those tools – I think there are 33,000 teachers currently using them, they are in schools all over the place. I’d really like to provide tools, inspire, and inform. That’s it.

Q: What kind of qualities do you think young people need in today’s world?

I think they need a lot of courage. There was a good interview with Steve Jobs where he was asked, “Why did you make it when others didn’t?” He said, “One word – passion.” Just look at those who excel. It’s because they fell in love with something, and the passion drove them through. Steve Jobs is right. It’s all about finding your passion.

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EMPOWERING YOUNG PEOPLE

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