The Global Goals are 17 goals defined by United Nations, part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Over the next fifteen years, with these new Goals that universally apply to all, countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities, and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.
Focused on reducing inequalities, goal #10 has as one of its targets to empower and promote the social, economic, and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion, or economic or other status by 2030.
This year in 2016, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has released a study based on which is the world’s fastest-growing religion in the world by 2070. The large youth demographic among Islamic families is the main factor that support the WEF to state that by 2070, Islam could overtake Christianity as the world’s dominant religion.
Together with the rise of Islam also comes the decrease of faith in Christianity and Buddhism and this is what I consider the biggest impact. It is not about different religions living together; it is mostly about those that believe in a religion versus those who do not. What conflicts can come out of this difference? How can values differ from each other?
Moreover, there will also be economical and political effects. Middle Eastern countries have the Islamic Banking and Finance system, which relies on different premises from the rest-of-the-world system. How will this shift in religion affect globalization and global economy?
I do not have answers for the questions above. Neither do you, yet.
In the first year of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development I decided to leave my country to start my contribution towards reducing social inequalities based on culture, origin, and religion. This summer I am volunteering in Amman, Jordan, with the main purpose to strengthen my passion to live and comprehend Islam and to get to know the Arab traditions and customs.
How leaving your country supports the decrease of inequalities?
- It allows you to understand the other culture’s traditions and values. It all starts with understanding. The world is shifting and our mindset has to shift with it. Experiencing a whole new culture, values and customs change the way I think, the way I face the world, and how I interact and relate with those we have ideals different from those I am used to. They are not worse or better, they are just different. In Arab countries, people tend to be more religious, guys greet their male friends with more than one kiss, and during Ramadan we should avoid eating, drinking or smoking during the day. In Western countries, most believers are non-practitioners, guys greet their male friends with a handshake or a hug and we do not fast. But these disparities are what makes the world so unique to live in.
- It supports your capacity to engage others for a better purpose. Living another culture by myself is the first step required to be able to engage my virtual and social network with this uniqueness. I took the first step to let myself embrace a different culture and way of thinking. By creating empathy with the Arab and Islam values, I am indirectly impacting my friends, family, and social followers to break their stereotypes. I hope that one day they will have the same curiosity to step out from their own comfort zones. I am sick of reading Islamophobic comments in my Facebook feed every time there is a new attack!
- It transmits positivity to move forward towards uncertainty. The happenings of the past year confirms that we are living an era of uncertainty and fear. We do not know when we will be living in harmony, how many years can it take for the world and its inhabitants to comprehend that we should give a big and strong hug instead of choosing to have conflicts. Nevertheless, jumping to acknowledge a new country is giving me hope. Why we don’t start sharing our values and beliefs instead of considering them as enemies? I imagine a planet earth where the whole world would fast for one month, no matter its religion, which in my perspective, the experience behind it goes beyond the connection with God.
Leave your country. Leave your comfort zone. Allow yourself to be vulnerable, to find what drives you in life and to use that passion to move the world towards a better place.
This article is written by Mariana Silva.