Realizing the vision of one family under God may seem like a lofty goal, but it begins in each of us, with a change of heart.  One young woman experienced this change and saw the vision make a very real impact on her life in her home country of Malaysia.

People volunteering and working with Global Peace Foundation Malaysia describe the “work” environment to be more like home than an office. “As an intern, I was able to witness this family spirit first hand in the organization’s day-to-day interactions,” said Iman, a recent intern.

Iman Ashraf, a former intern at Global Peace Foundation in Malaysia

Iman completed her internship with GPF, but she continues to be a part of the family. She shared her testimony:

It doesn’t matter what background you come from, your religion, skin color, or political affiliation; everyone is treated like they are a part of the team. We get to brainstorm ideas together and share our experiences, both personal and professional, during the weekly meetings. It is that spirit of togetherness that makes everyone feel at home.

One of the very fond memories I have from this experience is representing GPF at public events. Not only were those events a firsthand experience in the corporate world, they were also very personal in their own way to me. Speaking on behalf of GPF to other companies and being able to explain the kind of charity work we do every day was certainly a highlight in my internship. I not only had to garner the confidence to speak to industry professionals on the spot, but I also had to step up my social skills. By the end of those events, I discovered aspects about myself that I never knew existed before. I was never going to be able to accomplish that if I did not feel the support of everyone around me. I knew that even if words failed me, my seniors at GPF would back me up at any time. I made mistakes and learned on the job.

It is sad that my internship at GPF has ended; however, unlike other organizations, GPF has a unique trait of keeping its old staff and interns close by. One can always come back as a volunteer or even make a casual visit and catch up with everyone at the office. The people in the office are always welcoming, and love good company.

I am grateful to everyone for their kind support, and I am excited to enter the next chapter of my life, using all the knowledge and experience I have gained from GPF.

Iman Ashraf (front, second from left) with her diverse GPF Malaysia family

GPF has a vast number of projects taking place around the world, from models of development bringing clean water to remote villages in Malaysia to resolving violent conflict through interfaith collaboration in Nigeria, but at the heart of it all is this vision of “one family under God.”

Being a part of the projects is a transformative experience for the organizers, volunteers, interns, and all the participants. The projects are not just a peacebuilding program, or a service project or conference, they are an experience that makes the vision of “One Family under God” tangible, a change of heart that affirms that we are all connected as a family.

At the core of GPF’s leadership development is the motivation tied to such a transformation that also builds skills and confidence not just for organizers, but volunteers and even service recipients, so the seed of peace and development grows carries with owners of the vision into communities around the world.

Peace cannot happen overnight, but the building blocks start with one person at a time expanding their view of who is a part of their family.

How can you expand your view of family?

The original post appears on Global Peace Foundation. Global Peace Foundation is an international non-sectarian, non-partisan, nonprofit organization, which promotes an innovative, values-based approach to peacebuilding, guided by the vision of One Family under God.  GPF engages and organizes a global network of public and private-sector partners who develop community, national, and regional peacebuilding models as the foundation for ethical and cohesive societies. Dr. Hyun Jin Preston Moon is founder and chairman of the Global Peace Foundation.