The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) launched its third edition of the Young Peacebuilders programme focusing on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The program aims to support the growth of networks of young peacebuilders who are equipped with tools to address stereotypes and xenophobia. It also supports those young people efforts as they work to prevent violent extremism and build more inclusive and peaceful societies. This peace education initiative provides the opportunity to bring more visibility to youth initiatives that promote peace, diversity and dialogue.
After a competitive selection process, 11 young women and 9 young men between 18 and 25 years old were chosen to participate in the 2019 edition. They come from 12 MENA countries, namely: Algeria, Egypt, Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, State of Palestine, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
The project consists of 4 phases that facilitate a progressive and experience-based learning process: online modules, a face-to-face workshop, the implementation of a peace initiative and a MENA conference where they present their work in the field. The competences the young civil society leaders acquire throughout the project will help them and their organizations to implement more successful projects while raising awareness among decision-makers that youth should be included in peacebuilding processes and policies.
Funded by AEXCID (Agencia Extremeña de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo), the Young Peacebuilders programme is an example of a meaningful partnership that supports the ground-breaking United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2250 and 2419 on Youth, Peace and Security and the Secretary-General’s Plan of Action on Preventing Violent Extremism which recognize that “young people play an important and positive role in the maintenance and promotion of international peace and security”.