by Sil Azevedo
On August 17 2016, my wife Adriana and I started a journey that would change our lives: a 360 degree around the world trip. Our desire was to visit other cultures and experience their lifestyle, even if briefly. Experiencing different cultures was not new to us. We were born and raised in Brazil, currently live in the U.S., and both had travelled internationally prior to this trip. However, going from country to country and entering different cultures in sequence was a whole new experience. After several weeks on the road, something opened up inside and we started to absorb surrounding reality more fully. Preconceived notions gave way to a more receptive mindset as we listened with open hearts.
As we travelled through Europe, the Himalayas, China, South East Asia and beyond we encountered so many lovely people, so many friendly faces. We saw that even though cultures change, currencies vary and physical appearances may differ, deep inside we are all one big human family, with similar desires, fears and ambitions. Most people on the Earth seem to have a desire for peace and understanding. Their ambition is to lead a peaceful and quiet life, doing something meaningful that benefits those around them.
When one contrasts this overwhelming reality on the ground with the violent rhetoric we see in the news, leading to international tensions, military escalations and unnecessary, often devastating wars, one feels compelled to act. As a photographer and teacher I have decided to dedicate my life to making a contribution, however simple and humble, to the cause of world peace and mutual understanding among mankind. I believe it is our duty to make an unequivocal statement for peace and good will amongst the peoples of the world.
I am for peace is a project that combines photography, text and video to give common people around the world a voice for peace. We will be traveling far and wide, meeting peace workers, activists and common folk who have a strong desire for world peace. Planning such an undertaking is a daunting task, but we are encouraged by the success of our first journey and by the support we have received from friends close and far around the globe. Plans include a dedicated website and blog, social media pages, youtube channel, a traveling exhibit, magazine articles and a book. The initiative has no political or religious affiliation. All peace loving people around the world are welcome to collaborate and participate.
There are many ways you can stand with us on this journey: First, we are looking for solid contacts in all continents. If you have someone you admire and respect who is a force for peace in their community, we would love to get in touch and possibly photograph and interview them. Second, if you would like to receive news from the development of this project, please sign up for our newsletter or subscribe to one of our social media pages in the contacts page. Third, we are looking for local, national and international publications that would like to partner with us. If you know an editor of such a publication, we would love an introduction. Fourth, we are looking for sponsorships and grants and any information shared will be greatly appreciated. Finally, proceeds from original pieces ordered through this page will be used to finance this project.
We realize this is a small initiative considering the enormous task at hand. But if each one of us takes a small step towards making this world a more peaceful place, who knows what we can accomplish together? Why not give it our best try and create a better world? We are excited to give it a go. Thank you for standing together for peace.