In the intervening years, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) has developed programming which recognizes young people as essential partners in achieving the vision of the organization. The current youth generation is acknowledged as the largest in history, with the global agenda increasingly focused on young people as agents of change and key actors in powerful social movements. Youth play a critical role in shaping major political advancements, as well as being able to address the challenges related to international, regional, national and local instability. Moreover, young people are the most able to mobilize their peers, to be the principle stakeholders of societies that are increasingly free from stereotypes, discrimination and violent extremism. Their engagement in fostering mutual understanding between peoples of different cultures and religions is crucial in building sustainable peace.
UNAOC’s programming supports young people in the following ways:
UNAOC includes educational dimensions in its youth programming in order to better support young people’s development as they work towards achieving peaceful and inclusive societies. Opportunities for capacity-building are offered in intercultural dialogue and communication, conflict transformation, global, peace and human rights education.
UNAOC also offers funding opportunities for youth-led organizations to implement concrete projects advancing intercultural understanding and peace. Capacity-building is then offered to support more effective implementation, on topics such as youth leadership, project management and organizational development.
UNAOC develops mechanisms to facilitate partnership building and the exchange of information regarding the impact and challenges of youth’s contribution to intercultural understanding, social inclusion and violence prevention. Through networking and exchange among young leaders, their organizations and other stakeholders, UNAOC promotes global citizenship, solidarity, movement building, new partnerships and knowledge exchange.
UNAOC raises awareness among decision-makers’ about the importance of young people’s contribution to fostering understanding and collaboration between people of different cultural backgrounds. With other UN and civil society organizations, UNAOC advocates for and defends the interests of young people working at all levels, promotes their work to mainstream agencies and established institutions at the international level, aiming to integrate youth participation into all activities and policy related to intercultural dialogue, social inclusion and violence prevention.