As a Messenger of Peace for the UN, and UNESCO special counselor for “Intercultural Dialogues and Spiritual Convergences”, how do envision your role in today’s world? (Katya Yulianka, Russia)
I’ve always been very skeptical about people that say: “I want to save the world, help others…”
This is because to save the “world” is too abstract. What is possible – and the most difficult task – is to first look at oneself and try to identify what’s wrong.
Before searching for the other, one has to find oneself.
I can’t change the world, I can’t change my country, I can’t change my city, I can’t even change my neighborhood… what I can change is my street.
In 1996, when I started receiving significant royalties from my books, I went to a favela close to my home – in Rio favelas are in the center of the city – and met a group of people that were taking care of children.
I created The Paulo Coelho Institute. Since then we have been cooperating, and now we take care of 430 children (besides other projects, like supporting patients in mental hospitals, families that live below the poverty line, etc.)
I still believe that most of the real changes are made in a small scale.
Being one of the twelve Messengers of Peace is a reminder that peace, as well as justice, has a natural authority that imposes itself. The tribune of the UN gives me the opportunity to speak out about injustices and use my influence in the political arena.
The challenge lies in the fact that UN can’t do this work alone.
We are all Messengers of Peace. Let’s start working.