Bellwether International Stories of Resilience #1:
HARMONY :Bellwether Ambassador Program Builds Connections and Coalitions Across the World
In the summer of 2021, Bellwether International launched the search for our first ever global cohort of religious freedom ambassadors. The program was created with the idea of creating a network of young people working across sectors, cultural contexts, and geographies in pursuit of Bellwether’s central tenet of protecting and upholding freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all. Since its inception, the program has now expanded to include more than 40 young people from six continents. The median age of our cohort is just 27, demonstrating our commitment to equipping young people with the skills to bring values of equity, human rights, and a religious freedom lens of peacebuilding to their communities and through their careers.
Ambassadors have answered the call overwhelmingly. Ambassadors have hosted events in Nigeria promoting interreligious dialogue between Christian and Muslim communities and Ambassadors in the U.S. and U.K. attended and supported Bellwether at the the 2022 International Religious Freedom Summit in Washington D.C. and London Ministerial on Freedom of Religion or Belief.
The impact of this program to promote harmony, respect, and cooperation has been best said by our ambassadors themselves.
Oluwasegun Ogunsakin, one of our most active Ambassadors in Nigeria says,
“To be an ally for a course that involves selflessness ideally comes from the depth of the heart. A joint curve for hope to promote freedom of religions or beliefs and human rights, is arguably a passion with long lasting benefits ahead. At Bellwether International , people are our mission, to ensure that they will support lives that are faced either in socioeconomic depletion or religious persecution. We use our voice. Our mind. Our hearts and stand to be allies for humanity.”
In London, Ambassador Andy Rosas said of his time in the program,
“At Bellwether I have been able to take part in events that would otherwise have been impossible for me to take part in. One such event was the International Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief … in July 2022. I was able to meet delegates that were from around the world representing people of different nations that are afflicted… and take part in conversations with parliament members. It was such a rewarding experience. It has motivated me to continue volunteering with Bellwether and has reaffirmed my trust I have in how our organisation - although small and very young - has impacted many people around the globe.”
Another Ambassador in Nigeria, Olamide Akindapo, recalls,
“As an ambassador I have learnt about how important the FORB is in the global scene. The monthly training has equipped my ability to function well in my community in Nigeria . I have been able to promote peace and dialogue among the different religious and ethnic groups. Bellwether International has greatly been part of my career growth and given me the platform to contribute to the peacebuilding initiative in Nigeria.”
As we prepare for our Ambassador cohort to grow even larger in 2023, we are also ecstatic to see the kind of changemaking, inspiration, and peace these fantastic young people will bring to their communities.
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