The presentation at the United Nations Palais des Nations shared youth perspectives on peace, peacebuilding, UNSCR 2250, and preventing violent extremism

14 November 2018 – Geneva/Switzerland: Generations For Peace Pioneers Frosina Kiprijanovska from the Republic of Macedonia and Aya Albadarneh from Jordan shared their insight, experience, and expertise during a compelling panel discussion at United Nations Headquarters in Geneva, as part of this year’s Geneva Peace Week.

The session, entitled, “Youth Perspectives on Peace, Peacebuilding, and Preventing Violent Extremism: Turning 2250 into Action,” welcomed attendees to hear from Generations For Peace, alongside youth representatives from PeaceNexus and the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF), as they offered concrete recommendations to practitioners and policy makers to prevent youth tokenism in peacebuilding, community security, and preventing violent extremism (PVE).

The moderator for the session, Mark Clark, CEO of Generations For Peace, said, “Geneva Peace Week provides an opportunity for local actors in peace and peacebuilding from around the world to come together and share their experiences across contexts, cultures, and borders with other peacebuilders, governments, international organisations and United Nations agencies. Staying true to the spirit and principles of 2250, our focus this year – with our friends at GCERF and PeaceNexus – has been to lift up youth voices and ensure youth perspectives are being heard. Acting on 2250 means working ‘with’ youth, not doing actions ‘to’ them or ‘for’ them. It also demands giving primacy to local perspectives about what “peace” means to youth, and what measurable indicators will be meaningful in their local context.”

He continued, “We’ve also shared our research on a compendium of community-generated peacebuilding indicators, offering 114 indicators developed in 27 countries over the period 2014-2017. So, our participation in Geneva Peace Week as a whole, and in this collaborative panel, is an example of youth development and of the sort of horizontal learning which we consider so important at Generations For Peace, to ensure that we are developing the best practices for impact in the very diverse contexts in which our volunteers work around the world. It was truly inspiring to witness youth from all three organisations share their insight and experience in building a peace that we can pass on from this generation to the next.”

Aya Albadarneh spoke about her perspectives from Jordan and from leading Generations For Peace programmes in Tunisia. Frosina Kiprijanovska shared the different contexts of inter-ethnic violence in Republic of Macedonia and the evolution of Generations For Peace programmes there, which she leads as a volunteer. Elvira Kalmurzaeva presented her experience leading a local NGO in her home country, Kyrgyzstan, supported by PeaceNexus engaging youth amidst the backdrop of exclusion, marginalisation, and violent extremism. Sara Tomo from Albania shared her experiences working with GCERF to address violent extremism in Bangladesh, Kenya, Kosovo, Mali and Nigeria.

This year’s Geneva Peace Week reflected on the lessons of a century of liberal internationalism in the service of peace and focuses on the roles that every person, actor, and institution can play in building peace and resolving conflict. Aligning with the overall theme of “Building Peace in a Turbulent World,” the panel discussion provided those in attendance the opportunity to learn from youth who have first-hand experience in peacebuilding and PVE across the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia, and the Balkans. The panel emphasised the importance of embracing the diversity of perspectives about what peace means to people in communities, of understanding youth perspectives, and harnessing the extraordinary potential of youth to lead positive change in their own communities.