I will like to welcome each and every one to this joyous occasion that brings young people from far and near to Nigeria for the Model UN. It is my singular honour to welcome all delegates to a week of inspiring deliberations and executive action planning. It promises to be a most productive time evaluating, proffering and inspiring changes in the nations of the world.
This conference is a conference of young people impassioned for change and positioned as change agents for a world deep in conflict and violent extremism. For we observe the news that repeatedly show us the plight of millions in war torn cities as several people with their own agendas have sworn to inflict sorrow and pain into the lives of men, women, and children.
Some of these people bear grievances with the world’s system, and how things have been run. Many are bitter about the inequalities that have left them disadvantaged. A lot more are victims of propaganda who have been raised and taught to hate certain countries, groups, race, and peoples. There is a lot of intolerance, frustration, and hate that fuels the rising rage of conflict and violent extremism that persists today.
Because this conflict and violent extremism affects each and every one from first class to developing countries, it is not a matter to gloss over, neither is it a matter to handle lightly. An untold number of persons have lost their lives and property to the menace of conflict and violent extremism. Fathers have lost their sons; either as victims in crossfires of conflict or as volunteers employed by company of violent extremists. Mothers have lost daughter and little children to poverty, hunger, rape, and suicides. Whole cities have had their lives disrupted, and for many in war torn areas, life is a living hell. Indeed the world needs each and every one to join in this collective pursuit for peace in the face of conflict and violent extremism.
Everyone, including the 3 billion young people sprawled all over the face of this earth, can be engaged to promote peace and counter the spread of violent extremism. Realising that young people are so many, realising that young people are trainable, realising that young people are fit for this fight, and realising that young people, also, deserve a better future than they met should inform the international community, the civil society, the government and nations of the world that it has become paramount to carve a place for young people to contribute effectively to the charge for peace in the face of violent extremism.
The forces and people behind violent extremism have, unfortunately, began massive recruitment and indoctrination of young people into their cause. They have strategically began the infiltration of social media channels and online forums to spread their propaganda, inspire negative leadership, influence the gullible, and garner huge followership, which have led many young people to abandon their families, education, and careers in favour of a life of conflict and suicide.
If evil can be this strategic, nations must be much more strategic, specific, and laser focused in the use and deployment of young people for the cause of promoting peace and countering violent extremism.
It is imperative that young people are carried along in this effort for peace because young people can lend their voice, creativity, restlessness, resilience, and energy in a way adults cannot. Young people can be taught to channel technology in a way that promotes cohesion, interactivity, and passion for anti-extremists behaviours.
These are the things we have deeply believed in. That just one young person can do a lot. And that as one, we all can do so much more for peace in every nation of the world.
And this is why we have come.