Elmar Givelet, lives in Paris but returned to Iceland to be present at the 2017 Spirit Of Humanity Forum. At 14-years-old at the time, he was the youngest participant and, as well as getting a standing ovation for his talk on education, he was also part of the youth group. Here he gives his thoughts on the Forum itself.
Jim Paymar: What has the conference meant to you?
EG: “It is really inspiring to be here, these last two days, because this is an experience where we learn a tonne of new things. It’s an inspiring, motivating place to be.”
JP: When you were in France, the nightclub bombing took place, for you, to see that, and then come here, how does that resonate with you?
EG: “When the attack happened it was an emotional time for not just Paris, but the whole world. To be here I think it’s to fight against violence, but we are fighting with pens and words, and our hearts, our spirit. It is our togetherness and our community fighting for a non-violent world.”
JP: Can we create that world? Can we find a way to live together?
EG: “Anything is possible, as long as you believe you can. Being here, if we are strong enough, if we believe, if we listen, yes we can have a non-violent world.”
JP: What is the most important thing you have heard?
EG: “Everything. Everything is something new, taken from speeches already made, and people were giving their point of view. To see so many opinions we can learn so much.”
JP: What can you take back to France and communicate to other youth in France?
EG: “In one word, it would be happiness. Everybody here is concentrated in a way that they are interested, happy, here not just to learn but to discover. They are using their curiosity, and when I look at people like this they are trying to break the barriers.”
JP: Are you optimistic?
EG: “Personally yes. I think it is something we have lost, hope. I always have been searching for the positive side, not always but I try. Sometimes we forget, something happens, we get angry, or sad and let our emotions control us, but I am trying to keep the hope.”