Harnessing the Energy and Creativity of Youth in Peacebuilding, Tolerance and Conflict Resolution
Our ever growing world is characterized by acts of intolerance, violence, conflict, inequality and injustice. There is so much destruction in the world and these vices are threatening the lives of our youth. We owe the next generation the right to a peaceful life because the wealth of every country lies in its youth. Young people are knowledgeable innovative, futuristic thinkers that can help propel conflict resolution ideas and promote diplomatic and peaceful means of dispute settlement while ensuring no one is left behind. These young ones show high level of tolerance because of the understanding and mutual respect they have for each other. Their passion, discipline and open-mindedness can be used as a tool to achieve desired development objectives of a country.
Youth are key stakeholders in peace and conflict resolution but when exposed to predatory agents they stand a chance of being used as elements of violence, hooliganism and disaster. We must therefore invest in their education using their abilities and talents to strengthen the foundation of societies and improve their participation in creating innovative strategies for peacebuilding. The emergence of the internet and social media has taken the world to a new era especially for young people who are tech savvy. They can use these platforms to promote peace and resolve disputes. Youth representation and involvement can help promote tolerance by fostering mutual understanding and respect between people making the world more peaceful for us all to function effectively.
The United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 of December 9, 2015 recognizes the strength and importance of young people in peace and conflict resolution. This historic resolution focused on the role of young men and women in peace building and countering violent extremism. It is an unprecedented acknowledgement of the urgent need to engage young people in promoting peace, stability and development. Young people need to get the recognition they deserve and should no longer be seen as victims and perpetrators of violence. We have to work towards providing a better world where young people can access, live and learn.
The strength of the youth is in their number and innovative minds. At 1.8 billion, the current generation of young people aged between 10 and 24 years old is the largest ever known. This youth bulge should be seen as an advantage in peace building and not as a threat to global stability. There is a misconception that young people are a demographic easily driven into violence and extremist ideologies, and this conception critically fails to note young people’s vast and largely untapped capacity for peace building. Young men and women toil tirelessly to ensure security in their streets, peace in their homes and justice in their communities. They are eager to take action and all their energy should be properly utilized but it is good to note that social alienation can push them to join movements that are counterproductive. Encouraging youth participation in peace building will mark a shift in the way the world seeks to end violence and build inclusive societies. Now is therefore the time to harness the youth bulge for sustainable peace and conflict resolution.