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Opportunities for Youth Peacebuilding Initiatives
an article by Fanny Tittel-Mosser

On the 23rd of October 2012, Celina del Felice, a PhD student at the Centre for International Development Issues in the Netherlands, came to the International Secretariat of UNOY Peacebuilders to give a four hour training on Research, Evaluation and Advocacy in Youth Peace Building Initiatives. This is a short overview of the important opportunities for youth that have been pointed out by Celina and the UNOY staff during the training.

click on photo to enlarge

There is a strong tendency among politicians and researchers to see youth as a problem to be solved. However, by doing this, the potential of youth as peace-builders is being overlooked. Although these youths are equally affected by various forms of violence, there are youth who decide to act constructively towards building a culture of peace.

Ignoring the role of youth in peacebuilding is ignoring their unique power and potential to affect social change. Celina makes five propositions on their specific qualities:

1. Young people are more open to change
2. Young people are future-oriented
3. Young people are idealistic and innovative
4. Young people are courageous
5. Young people are knowledgeable about their peers' realities

When taking these qualities into account, youth could play an important role in several aspects of conflict transformation. In conflict prevention, they could have a monitoring or warning role for hate speech on radio or in other media. In peace making, parallel dialogues between youth with different ideologies can be facilitated by youth organisations. As peace builders, youth organisations can function as social researchers and witnesses. They could keep records of changes of attitudes in their country and link this to the conflict prevention. In addition, youth has the unique capacity to imagine vision and look for creative solutions.

Regarding youth peace building organisations, it was agreed that it would be most useful for these types of organisations to look at attitude changes in the long-run to measure their impact. This can be done by, for example, tracing participants after five or ten years, a discourse analysis or by doing a social network analysis. The latter entails the creation of a net-map which demonstrates the improvements of the participants in social relations by using for example their contacts on social media platforms such as Facebook. Furthermore, opportunities for youth advocacy work can be found in organizing on local and regional level.


Question(s) related to this article:

Is there a renewed movement of solidarity by the new generation?,

* * * * *


from Javier Collado Ruano, Director of Edition at Global Education Magazine, on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity.

Solidarity is a trans-dimensional phenomenon that goes beyond the ontological essence of human nature. In fact, when we analyze the connections between the microcosm and the macrocosm, we perceive that human beings are not involved in chaos and arbitrariness, but belongs to the large network of interdependencies, complementarities and reciprocities that constitute life. The emergence of life on Earth, around 3,8 billion years ago, was a complex process of exceptional natural phenomena, inherent in all living systems. A process which is expressed through unlimited creativity: mutation, gene exchange, and symbiosis. From a cosmo-biological perspective, we can understand a new conceptual dimension of life, where all living beings share same basis of genetic code: the twenty amino-acids and four phosphatic bases. In fact, the diversity of living beings is caused by the combination of this cosmo-bio-genetic basis.

This trans-dimensional perspective has a deep ecological and spiritual sense for our worldview because the human evolutionary adventure is the latest stage of life on Earth. The modern human being is a vertebrate animal, mammal, belonging to the primates, which emerged 200,000 years ago. In recent centuries he has imposed its anthropocentric, industrial and capitalist vision to the detriment of Pachamama (and Indigenous goddess known as earth mother). We consume around 120% of the natural resources that Earth Mother regenerats annually. Our consumer behavior is immersed in a fatalistic dynamic with a destiny to climate change (deforestation, loss of biodiversity, ozone, etc.), and our own self-destruction as a species.

There is an urgent need to get beyond the cognitive fallacy that the mental structures of social Darwinism and capitalist postulates of the 19th century have historically constituted, because they only understand natural and social systems as warmongers and competitive processes whereby species diverge from each other. . ...more.

This report was posted on October 31, 2012.