Committed to Peace: Global Forum on Youth, Peace & Security

September 7th, 2015 11:19 am

Today the world is home to the largest generation of young people. There have been never so many young people at any other time in human history than today. The fastest grow in youth population is predominantly in the poorest nations. More than 1.5 billion people live in conflict-effected zones or countries were violent extremism is very high.[1] As the largest generation, youth are vulnerable part of societies and mostly they do not play any particular role in creating conflict situations. In contrary, they are affected by the consequences. While they have a big potential to make a positive change in the world, generally, they are not capable to protect even themselves from violence as the lack of mechanisms. Moreover, tendency to create a young people’s image as a threat to global security has significantly increased in last several years.

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To discuss the topics of peace and security, seek solutions, exchange experiences and adopt Amman Youth Declaration, the Global Forum on Youth, Peace and Security has been held in Amman, Jordan in August, 2015[2]. It was a great honor for me to be invited at the forum and be selected among 150 fully funded participants from nearly 11 000 applications. It was my pleasure to represent Young Christians for Peace and Democracy (SCM Georgia) and World Student Christian Federation-Europe at such a historical event.

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For the first global gathering of its kind, over 400 participants from all regions of the world, includingsenior representatives from Member States; young people from youth organizations and youth groups; UN entities; INGOs; foundations and donor agencies; academics; media came together to agree on a common vision to partner with young people in preventing conflict, countering violent extremism and building lasting peace.

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Frankly, considering the endless global summits discussion how to bring peace in the world with high officials who mostly lack commitments or practice on the ground, I did not put high expectations before the forum. However, this time it was something different. Unlike to other forums I have attended, it created a space for profound inter-generational dialogue. It was so valuable for me because it gave the possibility to increase dialogue between generations to better understand and respect each other’s opinions to overcome violence, conflicts and uphold lasting peace on all levels.

In this format, we discussed a wide range of issues related to peace and security, including religious/ inter-religious related speech and counter speech; the role of young people in countering violent extremism; young women shaping peace; the role of state and the international community; etc. We heard inspiring stories from young activists about their journeys from exclusion to positive change-makers, from marginalized to drivers to development. At the final stage, we adopted the Amman Youth Declaration drafted after many months of consultations between youth globally. The declaration seeks to increase youth meaningful participation and leadership in peace and security and their active involvement to overcome violent extremism and promote peace. It also focuses on gender equality, prevention of gender-based violence and socio-economic empowerment of youth.[3]

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The most inspiring part for me was the moment when over four hundred youth activists expressed their commitments to promote peace and follow up the implementation of Amman Youth Declaration on Youth, Peace and Security. Based on my personal experience, I believe that if you are really committed to peace things start changing around you. Thus, I am sure that young people I met at the forum will act as a torch of peace in their local communities to connect their lights globally for peace and bright future.

I feel so grateful to meet so many fascinating young people doing really incredible work. In each of them, I see drivers of peace and engines of development. After the Forum, I feel unusually calm as I know that today we have a young generation with a heart in the right place. “Experience is education” as one of my colleagues said during the forum, and my experience at the forum is definitely one of this kind.

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Additionally, as a representative of WSCF-E I had a chance to talk and share our work and activities with people working on the same issues and having similar spheres of interests. We created a group to keep in touch and work together for the better outcomes.

Yulia

Distributing WSCF promotional materials

Finally, I would like to address WSCF community to spread the Amman Youth Declaration widely and use its resources to support young people’s call on the UN Security Council to recognize that they are essential partners for peace.

As for me, I declare to be committed to empower youth from marginalized and disadvantage groups to become peace builders. I declare to support youth to have equal access to education. I declare to advocate youth to belong at the table.

Youth4Peace!

 

Yulia Bajelidze

05.09.2015

 

[1] See, UNFPA State on World Population 2014.

[2]The Global Forum on Youth, Peace and Security was hosted by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan under the Patronage of his Royal Highness Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II, and co-organized by the United Nations represented, on behalf of the Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD), by Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Peacebuilding Support Office, UNFPA and UNDP, in partnership with Search for Common Ground and the United Network of Young Peacebuilders.

[3] Check the full version of the declaration on https://www.unteamworks.org/node/505475

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The work of WSCF-Europe is financially supported by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union and European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe.

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