It seems like a simple question but it might be one of the most important questions that a human being can answer. I would like to dedicate this post to CISV (children’s international summer villages) an organization through which I was raised and from which I got some of my most important intercultural values perhaps without even realizing it.
How alike am I to you? This question can only be answered from the soul. Attempting to answer it in any other way would result in a failure. It goes beyond words, languages, cultures, body language, feelings. It is about understanding through a deep empathic feeling. You can only answer to that question when you are fully aware and open. When you can look into the eyes of a person and share this energy of integrity, faith, trust and openness.
We human beings as Children generally have a great natural ability to answer to this question but as we grow up it becomes harder to stay as open, we get blurred by the fear and suffering that exists in the world. I am at the moment back in Asia thinking and lingering through my thoughts about my life when I suddenly remembered and realized from an external perspective about the importance of the message from Cisv, it’s simplicity and deepness.
While lingering through my thoughts the Cisv song came back to my mind.. I sang this song many many times throughout my more than ten active years participating in this organization… However perhaps because I joined Cisv when i was only 8, or perhaps because these were the same values that i was raised by my parents with, I took it’s meaning and teachings for granted and failed to put it’s importance in perspective in the “real world” that we are living in.
Today I would like to thank my parents for all their teachings and I would like to thank Cisv and all it’s members around the world for sharing this vision and for daring to answer this question in their daily lives.
Finally, I would like to invite you to sing the Cisv song in your daily life too and to remember how simple and natural was to answer to this question as kids: how alike am I to you?
Talk soon, Uriel
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Here are the CISV programmes that I participated in: Village Soliers Belgium 1993, Interchange Brazil-Mexico 1994, As Junior Councellor for the interchange Mexico-Norway 1998 and Semminar Camp in Copenhagen Denmark 2001.
Here goes the CISV song, sing it and listen to it deeply, as it carries with it a very simple yet important message that cannot be described by using only words:
Here in this village you may see
Children living happily
Different race and different land
Here we come to understand
One another’s point of view
Learning through the things we do
How alike am I to you
Here we live and eat and sleep
Talk and laugh and sometimes weep
Here we share our hopes and fears
Build a bridge across the years
Sow a seed and plant a tree
Beneath whose branches there may be
All the nations gathered free
That our children so may grow
In a world we did not know
Sharing all they have to give
Learning how to love and live
In our hands the future lies
Seize the moment ‘ere it flies
Stamp the present with an act
Dare to make our dream a fact
CISV is an independent, non-political volunteer organization promoting peace education and cross – cultural friendship
CISV provides a range of unique educational group activities, which develop cross cultural understanding in children and youth from around the world.
By encouraging respect for cultural differences and the development of self-awareness, CISV empowers each participant to incorporate these values into their lives as they become global citizens and strive for a more peaceful world.