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Peace, Understanding, Fairness, Development and MDGs

An Evening With Keith Best, CEO of Freedom from Torture

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on February 6, 2013

Keith Best Being Interviewed 250As a part of the ‘Doing Well and Doing Good’ project, Youth Universal Peace Federation (UPF) – UK hosted ‘An Evening With Keith Best, CEO of Freedom from Torture‘ on Tuesday 29th January 2013. The event was attended by approximately 30 young people in a House of Commons committee room and was chaired by Baroness Howells. Through the event, we explored Keith Best’s motivation behind his work at Freedom from Torture, before going through practical tips he had for young people to positively contribute to society.(Event Photo Link)Mr Best firstly shared his experiences traveling through Asia after he finished his degree at the University of Oxford. He explained how these were very formative experiences in his life as he found himself living frugally and traveling by railway across continents. Through traveling, he explains how he became a world citizen through a greater awareness of humanity’s ‘shared aspirations’. We went on to pose the question of which role models have inspired him in his life, to which he answered: individuals who challenged the status-quo of their time to bring positive social change such as William Wilberforce and Martin Luther King Jr.

As a Christian, Mr Best also told us of the inspiration he draws from the teachings of Jesus Christ. He explained that messages as the treating of others as one would like to be treated can be appreciated even by non-religious people and are a powerful recipe for his life.With regards to his work, Mr Best went into detail in explaining why helping torture victims is a very important thing to do based on its effects. It has not been proven as an effective method of obtaining information in cases where there have been attempts to justify its use. But most importantly, Mr Best emphasised the psychological effect that torture has on its victims. The process of torture is often used to the point where people are convinced they are going to die which in turn has the effect of destroying a person’s personality and ultimately their life. His passion on the topic ran true and it was very clear why he has dedicated so much energy to supporting torture victims.

The main interview questions were followed by many questions from the floor where the audience was keen to interact with Mr Best in order to discover more. Mr Best consistently reminded us of the importance of an optimistic attitude in any situation in life that we are faced by. He said that when one door closes, another door opens and with that mentality we should pursue our ambitions.

Overall, those present were thoroughly inspired by the work of Mr Best and his open attitude in sharing what it is that motivates him to do the work he does.

Please see the link below for more details on Freedom from Torture and opportunities to volunteer:

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UPF is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

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