Grand Prize Winner
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Jurors' Awards


First Place

Making Peace a Reality
by Amol Ashwinkumar  Parmar
16 years old, Wisconsin

Ever since childhood, I have been enlightened by these noble words of my mother –“All problems can be solved through peace”. Peace -- a dream that has hardly ever been materialized. But in today's world, a world full of corruption and bigotry, its importance is greater than ever. It is important because it is a key to many solutions. Some basic problems like water scarcity, food insecurity and poverty, and some complicated ones like sustainable energy and chronic diseases, faced by humankind in general, can only be solved if all people join hands

While many intellectuals talk, debate, present, persuade or pray for peace as I write, I think attaining peace must start at a personal level in order to get far reaching results. I believe peace is possible to achieve if everyone shares, cares and takes responsibility for helping others.

In order to achieve peace, we will have to defeat our selfishness. We need to overcome the “I” and start working for the “We”. We must break aspirations that will satisfy personal wants and strive for the common good. We must ask ourselves before making big decisions – “How can this help others?” We must think beyond divisions that separate us and grow together as one large family.  We must love and care for one another. Only then will the citizens of Afghanistan sleep peacefully and African children sleep without empty stomachs. Only then will we be able to focus all our efforts to solve our common problems. Only then will global prosperity be achieved.

It not surprising that such measures have been proposed before. However, the bitter truth is that they have been shattered over and over by cynicism. Many argue that it is very difficult, even impossible, to bring about world peace. To those I say: inaction will pass our problems to our children and cynicism will aid corruption and restrict all wonderful things possible with peace. More importantly, if we sit back now, the matters will get worse.  History proves that growth and development are the result of hope, faith and effort not cynicism.

So, I believe it is time to act. It is time to stop being cynical and start being hopeful. And not just hopeful, but active. It is time to make tough choices, for only tough choices can yield extraordinary outcomes. We will have to befriend our enemy and respect the differences among one another. Adults will have to learn from infants the art of befriending everybody without bias. In addition, we must realize that personal commitment, not mere U.N. Conferences, can bring about peace. And that expecting peace by military invasions and religious extremism is absurd.

The act this moment is to unite, to unite for peace. Unity will provide the strength needed to pass every hurdle and change history. But, it all comes down to how we change ourselves to change the world. As Spider man says, “We always have a choice and we can always choose to be our best.”


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