26 Feb. 2018 – Amman/Jordan: The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), in collaboration with Generations For Peace, last week introduced a new, week-long workshop to continue its efforts to grow and strengthen the global movement of young peacebuilders. Held from 19-23 February 2018 at Generations For Peace Headquarters in Amman, Jordan, the event hosted 20 young peacebuilders from 12 countries across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, each between the ages of 18 and 25 and representing youth-led organisations in their communities.
Guided by the principle that youth are key actors in achieving peace and social inclusion, the UNAOC implemented the workshop as the second phase in a four-part programme designed to assist the growth of young peacebuilders and their networks. The event followed two months of intensive online preparation and was led by field experts and trainers, who helped the young peacebuilders to analyse conflicts, practice peace-building tools to build bridges between cultures and religions, and design peace projects, which will be implemented in each participants’ community upon returning home.
UNAOC’s Young Peacebuilders programme supports young people as they gain skills that can enhance their positive role in issues of peace and security and in preventing violent conflict, while bringing visibility to the initiatives, actions, and projects initiated by young people towards peace building and promoting diversity and human rights. The programme also equips them with tools to address stereotypes, prejudice, and polarization in order to build more inclusive and peaceful societies in their local communities and on a global scale.
Bram Van Haver, UNAOC Project Management Specialist and the Young Peacebuilders Programme coordinator, reflected on the event: “It was a privilege to watch as the young peacebuilders came together, learned from one another, and ultimately grew in their capacity to implement peacebuilding in their own communities. To accomplish all of this over the course of a single week is a testament to the passion and dedication of the youth leaders attending the workshop, a direct result of the valuable insight and guidance by experienced facilitators from organisations like Generations For Peace, and a beacon of hope for the promotion of sustained peace and inclusivity in the future.”
Shadi Rouhshahbaz, a young peacebuilder from Iran, looked back on all she had learned from the workshop: “This [programme’s] empowerment is going to impact many people because we are working in a situation where networks keep expanding and awareness is being raised among people. So the skills, tools, and rich online programme we had before we came to the workshop are great ways to make sure that we learn a systematic approach on how to train, and then we can use what we learned here to apply the same things back home and create a sustainable training [there].”
Lama Hattab, Generations For Peace Programmes Director, commented: “This partnership with UNAOC was a wonderful opportunity to combine our networks and efforts in supporting young peacebuilders across the region. As a facilitator for the programme, I was impressed by the participants and very pleased to have the chance to share our Generations For Peace tools and experience to support them to convert their passion into concrete, measurable, lasting impact in their own communities. A real highlight was their visit to a school to see our approach in action, with school students leading Generations For Peace Club activities engaging other students to foster youth leadership, responsible citizenship, and greater social cohesion and resilience.”
Implemented with the generous support of the Agencia Extremeña de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AEXCID), UNAOC’s Young Peacebuilders Programme is a powerful example of a partnership that can strengthen the ground-breaking UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security, which recognizes that “young people play an important and positive role in the maintenance and promotion of international peace and security.”
For more information about UNAOC’s Young Peacebuilders programme, visit www.unaoc.org or contact Bram Van Haver at BramVH@unops.org.