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Panafrican Forum of Culture of Peace: A Youth Perspective
an article by Antonio Palazuelos Prieto

"Youth is the best guarantee for a culture of peace in Africa"

Jointly organized by UNESCO, the African Union and the Government of Angola, the Pan-African Forum on Culture of Peace "Fundamentals and resources for a Culture of Peace" was hosted by the city of Luanda from 26 to 28 March 2013. This event was held as part of celebrations marking the fiftieth anniversary of the Organization of African Union, whose main event will be on May 25, Africa Day.

photo by the author

click on photo to enlarge

The Forum was accompanied by the launch of the African Rally for Culture of Peace and Nonviolence, promoted by the Pan-African institutions and youth organizations, and will be developed in the coming months in African countries.

Both initiatives aim to inspire the construction of a lasting peace in Africa that guarantees decent living conditions for its inhabitants, fundamental for sustainable social development. African cultural diversity, and Pan-Africanism, especially youth contributing to the Culture of Peace were raised as a common banner for resolving conflicts, reducing inequities and injustices, and promoting social integration and democracy.

African youth were center stage at the event, which involved nearly a thousand young people in the launch of the campaign and about a hundred in the Forum. One of the thematic lines of the Forum was "Human resources for peace and development: the challenge of African youth." This included four workshops whose panelists were mostly young activists and representatives of youth and pan- African organizations. These sessions covered the motivations and principles of youth participation in construction of democracy, the mass media and values of African youth, and the contribution of youth to gender equality and intergenerational dialogue.

The final report of the Forum had recommendations, including the action plan for the Culture of Peace and Non-Violence in Africa. This document emphasized the importance of the creation of an African Youth Observatory, as a body serving to stimulate and promote the development of African youth, assisting states in promoting public policies for this sector and contributing to research on youth issues and the exchange of experiences and practices for youth among the African countries.

The Forum symbolically coincided with the commemoration of the signing of the Peace Accords in Angola eleven years ago, which ended a bloody war with more than a million deaths. This experience strongly affected the Angolan people, and especially its youth and has made them advocates of peace in Africa. The country is committed to the Culture of Peace and Non- Violence. This may be seen throughout the territory through intensive awareness campaign for peace, in which young people are the main promoters, through its National Youth Council and youth organizations in the country, important promoters of the Culture of Peace and its principles in the society.

(Click here for a Spanish version of this article)


Question(s) related to this article:

How can youth be engaged in democratic transitions?,

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Latest reader comment:

The youth in the article Democratic Transitions and the Role of Youth: A Debate are good examples:

Hilton Nyamukapa has recently taken part on a conference on Social Media and Youth Participation located in Amman, Jordan. Fatma Wakil has been actively involved within the Afghan community in the Netherlands as the chairperson of the KEIHAN, Afghan Youth Foundation. Yassine Boussaid is interested in connecting local issues to international organisations and improving the quality of life of the Moroccan and Turkish suburbs of Amsterdam.

Hilton concluded that it is necessary to the positive engagement and subscription of youth to democracy. The youth are often manipulated for a better picture in the media. Hilton cited the memorable injunction of the former President of USA, John F. Kennedy: "Ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country." Hilton highlighted the urge to involve youth in the whole democratic process and give them the opportunity to participate in public life.

This report was posted on April 22, 2013.