In light of UN Resolution 2250, a group of organisations are coming together this summer to invite youth involved in peace, social justice, environmental movements and activism to come together for the Youth Peace Forum: Global Youth Rising (GYR).
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By Gwyneth Hamann
In December 2015, the UN Security Council – one of the five main bodies of the UN, responsible for maintaining international peace and security – adopted the historic Resolution 2250 on youth, peace and security that recognizes the vital role of youth in peacebuilding and urges greater representation and participation by young people in the prevention and resolution of conflict. More than anything, resolution 2250 is thanks to the joint efforts of youth organizations, the UN, civil society actors, and governments working together. It was recognised that we cannot build long-lasting peace without meaningfully engaging young people in issues of peace and security.
The world is currently home to the largest generation of youth (aged 18-24) that the world has ever known; with 1.8 billion falling into this age range, youth often make up the majority of the population in countries affected by armed conflict. With the increasing amount of instability in various regions of the world today, the number of youth being recruited into armed militia and extremist movements, it is a sad fact that it is easier for youth to be drawn into extreme political organisations or militia than into peace movements. More than ever, it is vital that youth are able to clearly see the steps needed in order to engage with a global movement toward peace.
Resolution 2250 asks governments to increase the participation of young people in decision-making at all levels in local, national, regional and international institutions and in mechanisms for the prevention and resolution of conflict. It also requires governments to: ensure the protection of civilians (especially youth) during times of conflict; create spaces where youth are recognised and given support to implement violence prevention activities; create policies for youth that would contribute towards their social and economic development; empowering local people in countering violent extremism; and to consider the impact of any Disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration strategies on youth.
In light of UN Resolution 2250, a group of organisations active in youth empowerment, peacebuilding and activism are coming together this summer to invite youth involved in peace, social justice, environmental movements and activism to come together for the Youth Peace Forum: Global Youth Rising (GYR). GYR aims to build upon other youth forums and events and to increase youth activists and peacebuilders’ knowledge, skills and empowerment in the fields of conflict transformation, peacebuilding, activism and social justice, which will ultimately benefit individuals and their organizations and communities. Further, the aim is to go in-depth into the actual training, planning, and building of the alliances and networks that can help us implement real youth empowerment and participation in our communities and countries, and strengthen our active and practical alliances and links together globally.
Another aim of GYR is to support the development of a global movement of citizens and a united campaign to bring about an end to the wars in Syria, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, and Ukraine. A collaborative project between PATRIR, PAX, National Peace Academy, Building Bridges for Peace, UN Volunteers, the International Association of Human Values, FCV and many others, GYR aims to create a forum for sharing, cooperation and exchange between participants from different backgrounds and to create collaborative movements between organizations worldwide.
Packed with training sessions on topics such as: youth empowerment, environmental sustainability, gender and its role in countering violent extremism, working with trauma, working with refugees and asylum seekers, designing peacebuilding programmes, dialogue and mediation processes and peace education, GYR will also contain spaces for reflection, learning and planning, as well as strategic forums focusing on how to tackle specific issues facing our world today. Another strong focus will be on inner peace and self-care, as it is impossible to envision world peace if we do not achieve peace within ourselves.
Applications are open to youth from around the world who are actively engaged with organisations working towards peace, social justice, environmental sustainability or others topics aimed at making the world a better place. The target age range is 18-30, although older applicants are welcome to apply if they are able to display their motivation and commitment to the topics.
Gwyneth Hamann is Lead Training Coordinator for Global Youth Rising. Originally from the UK, Gwyneth currently works for the Peace Action Training and Research Institute of Romania in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
The Peace Action Training and Research Institute of Romania (PATRIR) is a member of the Global Coalition for Conflict Transformation, comprised of organizations committed to upholding and implementing the principles of conflict transformation.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of TransConflict.