They say that civilization as we know it is about 6,000 years old, and I have questions.
Must we fight? Somewhere in every continent of the world, people are fighting. Some are fights of fists, some machinery, others of words, and many virtual. People are fighting over issues of identity, economic and political marginalization, injustice, resource scarcity, and ethnic discrimination. Over 600 million young people, like you and I, experience first-hand the chaos, tensions, deprivations, and ravaging impact of intolerance and conflict.
Must we disagree? Everywhere in every country of the world, people disagree. Some disagree over land boundaries, employment policies, equal opportunity guidelines, administration of funds, and who should be President. The diversity of interests, pursuits, intentions, agendas, culture, religion, sexual orientation, and ethnicity are pointers to unchanging causal factors that send men into inevitable disagreements.
But, Must we kill ourselves? Anywhere in the world, disagreements and fights can break out into fatal riots, xenophobia, genocide, homicide, and wars. Millions of men, women, and children have lost their lives and loved ones during those killings. Although it is reported that conflict is an aid to the change process, we cannot continue to condone mass killings so that change will come.
Yes, we know that the world is working towards peace. Using the instrumentality of the United Nations, other international organizations, and civil society, there is a unified front in the collective fight for peace. We find veterans in advocacy, humanitarian professionals, and peace organizations at the fore of global interventions, but where are the Youth?
In a world of over 1.8 billion young people, failure to maximize the huge population of young people towards peace building, tolerance and conflict resolution is a failure of human resources management, a failure of public administration, and a failure of common sense.
Youth everywhere are full of energy, wit, creativity, energy and zest. We bring fresh eyes to old challenges and novel ideas to age old problems. Any government serious about peace building, tolerance and conflict resolution should be smart to harness the energy and creativity of their youth population for an unequalled boost in the execution of intervention programs.
Today in some quarters, we have young people making things happen at micro and macro levels. Yet, in contrast to the huge population of young people in the world, there are not enough young people co-opted into peace building, tolerance, and conflict resolution.
Instead, we find that youth –even children are recruited as soldiers of war, militancy, and radicalism fighting on the side of wrong. Snatching them away from that side would be better achieved by adopting peer pressure mechanisms, peer to peer influences, and young role model strategies.
The world needs us.
We are here today as proof that the world needs us. We are able to band together as a force of change. We are able to influence our peers to shun stereotypes, discrimination, marginalization, and intolerances of every kind. We are able to creatively promote and project atmospheres of fun, interaction, and peace.
The world needs us; our ideas, our creativity, our energy.
Hello world, we are here. Welcome.