24 September 2017 — Amman, Jordan: On the International Day of Peace, Generations For Peace hosted a special forum on Youth-led Peacebuilding at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York. The forum was designed to be inclusive, giving different peace-building NGOs and partners from around the world an opportunity to share diverse approaches to youth-led peace building. Led by Generations For Peace, the panel sessions included speakers from Search For Common Ground, Mercy Corps, Peace Direct, Aware Girls, Cure Violence, Peace First, MBC Group, Artis International, Oxford University, the UN Peace-Building Support Office, the UN Population Fund, the Alliance for Peacebuilding, Partners Global, SDSN-Youth, the Institute for Economics and Peace, and the inter-agency Working Group on Youth, Peace and Security.
Scheduled in the middle of UN General Assembly Week in collaboration with the UN Office for Partnerships, the forum was co-hosted and supported by the Permanent Mission of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the UN, continuing Jordan’s global leadership of the Youth, Peace and Security agenda, which began with the 2015 Amman Declaration and led to the 2016 UN Security Council Resolution 2250 promoting the importance of youth participation in peace-building efforts.
Dr. Mohanned Arabiat, President of Generations For Peace, highlighted the significance of hosting such an event at the UN during the General Assembly: “As a Jordanian international NGO, it is very important for us to highlight what we have been doing to ensure that UNSCR 2250 is translated into actions on the ground. This forum also speaks to our values and a deep belief that bringing multiple stakeholders together and engaging them is key to achieving our common goals.”
Mark Clark, CEO of Generations For Peace, emphasized the urgency and importance of youth-led change amidst growing intolerance, hate speech, bigotry, and violence: “Establishing and sustaining peace and security requires grass-roots people-to-people relationships and social cohesion just as much as economic, political and rule of law inputs. And the research shows clearly where resources need to be directed: every $1 spent on ‘upstream’ peacebuilding and conflict prevention saves approximately $16 on the ‘downstream’ costs of violent conflict in the future”.
The opening of the forum included a virtuoso performance by Jordanian “Musical Ambassadress”, Farah Siraj, which powerfully demonstrated the effectiveness of music and the arts to engage people emotionally to address issues of conflict and violence. The first panel discussion focused on different approaches to youth-led peace building and conflict transformation, addressing engagement, access, different contexts and overcoming barriers in the field. The following panel focused on youth vulnerability to violent extremism and how to strengthen resilience to radicalisation. The final panel discussed future trends, opportunities and threats, including the value of UNSCR 2250 Progress Study in providing strategic recommendations for the field, the importance of branding, messaging, media engagement and corporate social responsibility, the threats climate change presents to security and development, the cost-effectiveness of peace building, and importance of developing more effective multi-stakeholder collaboration to address complex challenges at the intersection of youth, peace building and development.
Generations For Peace programmes around the world engage youth and provide them training mentoring and support to lead positive change to transform conflict and reduce violence in their own communities, turning the words of UNSCR 2250 into actions delivering concrete measurable impacts.