Engagement and Commitment: Solidarity and Peace in the Tercentenary” was the presentation of Christian Oreb, general coordinator of Red Cooperar in Buenos Aires City for the monthly Ambassadors for Peace meeting on July 10 at the UPF-Argentina Peace Embassy. With more than 40 years of experience in the social sphere and being an Ambassador for Peace since 2016, Mr. Oreb in his speech valued the collective effort in search of institutional organization, encouraged engagement and commitment, and considered solidarity an essential tool for a goal as significant as peace (1).
Mr. Oreb began by mentioning two deficits of the Third Sector: planning and “will: the hands, the people who invest time and action.” These two elements end up “limiting extraordinary causes, noble purposes, and actions that could have an impact,” he expressed. Then he developed each of the concepts of his presentation, starting with peace: “Not the one which is purely declaimed.” He defined peace as “a stage that lifts the soul and leads to happiness. From then, I understand why we make the effort” of standing up for a goal. To build peace, we must act. Theoretical construct is very good for books, but that will not change social reality; it will not change the reality of people (…). Taking action is what modifies, of course based on a thought, an idea, a principle, or values.”
However, “building peace is one part of the task; we also need to constantly nurture and raise it (…), and the tool that gives sustainability to peace is solidarity,” he declared. Solidarity is a concept he considered to be important to redefine in these times, since it transcends charity, altruism, and philanthropy; but still he appreciated how important those were throughout history. He explained that we now live in a multidimensional, interdisciplinary, interagency, and global society. Thus, “we should understand solidarity as a system of co-responsibility” (…), as “part of a whole,” he said. “Solidarity in the 21st century is not only the act of doing the right thing, but also doing good.”
Mr. Oreb, recognized for his solidarity and social work as a “Golden Lion” by Club de Leones from Buenos Aires City, emphasized the importance of participating. “This is not about assisting (…) this is not about achieving something (…). The engagement requested by peace has to do with commitment,” he clarified. “And commitment is sacrifice. Because we, who love our family, a primary element for us: ¿how much do we sacrifice?” He asked, “¿What does our reality, peace, particularly social peace, require from us? Sacrifice!” This implies “we need to get involved in what happens and take responsibility. We need to make commitments and achieve them in time and form.” Planning and committed engagement “is the greatest deficit I have seen in our community, and this is reflected in institutions.”
Finally, he emphasized the importance of communication: “strengthening real bonds. No instrument or computer will ever replace the human relation and bond. We need to protect it (…). It will provide more than any computer,” he expressed. “As world citizens, we have to take action,” claimed this coordinator of a network of civil society organizations that include 24 member institutions of diverse activities.
At the end, Mr. Oreb answered questions from the audience, who carefully listened to his presentation. Afterwards, we introduced the young Ambassadors for Peace who have come from Japan to spend one year of voluntary service in different activities: Wonhwa, Sumi, Rie, Mami, Yuri, and Keina. They sang two songs: “Caminos de mi tierra” (in Spanish) and “Filial Love” (in Japanese) (2).