AN INTERVIEW WITH PEACEPACE INITIATIVE’s AMBASSADOR OF THE YEAR.
Meet Peacepace Ambassador of the year (2019).
Our Amb. Haleem had an interview with the maiden awardee of our Ambassador of the year award, Amb. Olaoti Victoria Olawoyin and her responses to our questions are reproduced below.
Question: Tell us about yourself:
Ambassador of the year: My name is Olaoti Victoria Olawoyin. I’m a Graphic Artist, Photographer, a part time freelancer, volunteer and an ambassador at Peacepace Initiative. I love travelling and have a passion for Documentary and Inspiration Photography.
Question: How long have you been a member of Peacepace Initiative?
Ambassador of the year: Eight (8) months
Question: Why did you join the Initiative?
Ambassador of the year: I see the focus of this Initiative i.e promoting peace and peaceful coexistence as the duty of every citizen. The truth is if every individual will pursue peace there will be peace but a lot of people have given up trying to because we assume it won’t change anything. I believe no matter how small my work of peace is, it is a little drop which when combined with others’ drops will eventually result into an ocean of peace. I joined to make a difference.
Question: What is your perspective about Peace?
Ambassador of the year: Peace is a necessary nutrient for the growth of every individual, home, nation and the world at large. It’s a means to an end of a great nation we so much aspire to see.
Question: How would you describe the Nigerian society in terms of peaceful coexistence?
Ambassador of the year: Before a people can coexist, a reasonable level of trust and tolerance is needed, however in Nigeria majority of our people live in suspicion of the other person. We are too quick to assume that the action of an individual from a particular tribe is the way of life of every other person who happens to be of the same tribe. Our relationship with one another is based on tons of stereotyped notions and beliefs. We refuse to move closer and see the good in others. These are the reasons it has not been quite easy for us to live together in peace and harmony and until we watch the way we judge all that we see or hear, we might never be able to coexist peacefully. I am not disputing the fact that the actions or attitudes of some people need to be checkmated but have we tried to find out why these people act the way they do and see if we can help them out of their predicament? The behaviours and attitudes of every individual is as a result of where we grew up, and our experience while growing up. Therefore we should learn to empathize more with others and not go all out criticizing and rebuking them.
Question: To what extent do you think Peacepace is delivering on its goal of fostering Peace?
Ambassador of the year: To a reasonably great extent I must say. The weekly article on peace broadcasted on the social media and on the Initiative’s website has been consistent. Even though, the impact might not be very visible now but I believe this is going a long way to reshapen the mindset of the people. The annual virtual conference as well is making a great impact, especially among the youths audience.
Question: What are the members of the team doing which should be sustained?
Ambassador of the year: Their loyalty, cooperation and support for the Initiative’s programmes is commendable but we all can do much more.
Question: What changes would you like to see in the Initiative to make it a major voice for a peaceful world?
Ambassador of the year: The Initiative should organise trainings for her ambassadors on conflict resolutions and mediation. This will better prepare each ambassador to intervene when the need arises within their community starting from their neighbourhood.
Also, the initiative should have a programme targeted at the vulnerable people – the homeless, the poor, those with physical disabilities and so on.
Question: How do you think peace Culture can be promoted among Nigerian youths?
Ambassador of the year: Peace Culture is basically a culture that promotes peaceable diversity and the best way this can be promoted among the Nigerian youths is through Peace education. Also, by empowering the youths to become responsible individuals.
Question: In what ways can the Nigerian government promote unity and a peaceful society?
Ambassador of the year: Government should double efforts to rescue children in conflict zones who have become homeless with no one to care for them. This is very important because these children are susceptible to becoming hoodlums which will pose a treat to the peace of the nation. An idle hand is the devil’s workshop they say, government should strive to put this children back in school for proper education.
Also, government should ensure equality among all citizens.
Question: How do you feel about winning this award and for having the highest nominations from your co-ambassadors?
Ambassador of the year: I must first state sincerely that I didn’t expect this at all. I was expecting any ambassador who has been part of the Initiative since its inception in 2017 to emerge as the winner. On the other hand, I am elated! This is spurring me to do more! I am grateful for my nominations from fellow ambassadors. Every ambassador is a strong piece of the organization and I urge us to continue working together to create positive change in our nation and beyond.