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Free workshops inspired by Earth Charter offered to young people

Co-chair of diversity and inclusion group in Newmarket among the international facilitators for Ecopeace Teen Cafe, which trains youth in community building, climate change, social justice and peace-building

An international youth network is providing young people with platforms to explore and act for the betterment of their society by attending free online workshops this summer.

Ecopeace Teen Cafe, which offers an online transformative education program inspired by the Earth Charter principles to youth aged 14 to 22, takes place July 8 to Aug. 5 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. EST.

The free educational workshops will train young people in four major areas: community building, climate change, social justice and peace-building. Completion of this program will open pathways to advocacy, environmental sustainability and international relations, according to a news release.

The Earth Charter consists of 16 principles recognized by UNESCO as an ethical framework for sustainable development. The main objective of this program is to educate young people on the importance of caring for the community, and protecting the ecosystem and inspiring them to take action to make this world a better place.

The training program will be offered for five weeks and will include international facilitators:

Greshma Pious Raju, founder of Ecopeace Teen Cafe, India

Greshma Pious Raju is a young peace-builder with 13 years of experience in interfaith dialogues and environmental peace-building. Greshma started her peace-building journey at the age of 14 by hosting interfaith dialogues among her classmates from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from the University of Kerala in India, and a master of arts in English from Indira Gandhi National Open University in India. In 2019, she earned her master’s degree in International Peace Studies from the United Nations University for Peace, Costa Rica. For the past two years, she has been working on her own project called Ecopeace Teen Cafe, an online transformative education program for teenagers, where she focuses on caring for the community, environmental protection, social justice and non-violent communication.

Shirin Ganji, founder of Global Intersections, Canada

Shirin Ganji holds an honours bachelor of arts from the University of Toronto as a specialist in world religions and a major in philosophy. She is the founder and chairperson of global Intersections, which seeks to transform spaces into inclusive hubs that fosters community through education, dialogue, and collaboration. She co-founded the Undergraduate Religious Studies Student Association and served as a multi-faith intern at the University of Toronto. Shirin was the co-chair of the diversity and inclusion group with the Town of Newmarket, is a URI Global Youth, and a scholarship recipient of the 2015 North American Interfaith Network. In addition, she is a spokesperson on various stages including the Parliament of World Religions. 

Sarah Oliver, associate director of Global Programmes, South Africa

Sarah Oliver is the Associate Director of Global Programmes for Youth Engagement for the United Religions Initiative (URI). Based in South Africa, she works to support, connect and inspire young people as interfaith activists and peace-builders around the world. Sarah has worked in the interfaith sector for the last 10 years, running youth camps, workshops and skills trainings, both locally and globally. As an experienced facilitator, she is passionate about connecting issues of interfaith dialogue, youth leadership, peacebuilding and social justice.

Samira Fatma Baručija, regional co-ordintor URI Multiregion, Bosnia

Samira Fatma Baručija is from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and works as the regional coordinator for the URI Multiregion. She is a peace-builder, trying to facilitate dialogue, interfaith work, and reinforce the importance of living together for the sake of peace and security. Most of her work nowadays is focused on peace-building and creating cultures of peace. For most of her 10 years of experience in civil society, Samira has been an educator trying to use the platform of non-formal education to raise awareness, motivate and empower individuals and groups, reinforcing their role in the change they want to see. 

The fifth week, the workshop will close with a special international guest. 

The registration link is