During the first official royal visit to the country, on June 12th 2019, HRH The Countess of Wessex joined The Reverend Nadim Nassar, Founder and Executive Director of the Awareness Foundation, in order to meet six graduates of the Foundation’s ‘Ambassadors for Peace’ programme. Ambassadors for Peace is an ecumenical, educational programme for young people in Syria and Iraq, enabling them to build mutual respect and understanding in their diverse communities. The Countess is Patron of the Awareness Foundation. Also in attendance at the meeting was Lord Ahmad, Baron of Wimbledon, the UK’s Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the UN with special responsibility for peacekeeping and conflict resolution, and the Prime Minister’s envoy for freedom of religion or belief.
The Reverend Nadim Nassar said: “The small number of Ambassadors for Peace represented the whole group in a wonderful way. They gave a clear and deep picture of the challenges of living in a warzone, but also of their resilience. We are very proud of them.”
The young people introduced themselves to The Countess and told her how much their lives have changed as a result of participating in the Ambassadors for Peace programme, and the great impact that it has had on them. The young women in particular were passionate about promoting the role of women in rebuilding Syria.
After talking with each of the young people, the Countess expressed how, after hearing so much bad news about Syria over so many years, it was refreshing to witness the light and hope of the young representatives of the country.
She assured the young Syrians that they are not forgotten and that “we are with you and we are supporting you”.
The Reverend Nadim also said: “Conflicts have scarred the Middle East. So many have lost their lives, and millions have fled the region. Christians have suffered greatly, but they can still play a major role in building a new peace for everyone. The Ambassadors for Peace programme demonstrates the potential of young people everywhere to overcome great challenges in order to work for a better society. We should be proud of our country and our young people who are determined to change their situation for the better.”
Earlier in the day, The Countess also visited a tented settlement in the Bekaa Valley and met a Syrian refugee family.
About the Awareness Foundation:
For 16 years, the Awareness Foundation has worked to build peace around the world through education. We empower and equip people in the Near East and the West to use their faith as a means to bring reconciliation and understanding, driving out mistrust and hostility. In this way, we foster the development of integrated communities that are resistant to division and extremism. We promote a thoughtful and living faith based on love, generosity and hospitality.