USA: Ilhan Omar Vows to Continue Speaking Out Against Israel’s Abuse of Palestinians


An article by Jake Johnson in Common Dreams (licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.)

Rep. Ilhan Omar vowed Thursday that the House GOP’s vote to remove her from the chamber’s foreign affairs panel would not stop her from criticizing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, a pledge that came after the Israeli government carried out  its latest bombing campaign in the occupied Gaza Strip.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) speaks to reporters on February 2, 2023 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

“My critique of our foreign policy, Israel’s policy towards Palestinians, or that of any foreign nation will not change,” Omar (D-Minn.) wrote in a Twitter post   following passage of a Republican resolution forcing her off the House Foreign Affairs Committee—a seat she has used to speak out against human rights violations and demand accountability   for war crimes, including those committed by the U.S. and Israel.

“As a person who suffered the horrors of war and persecution,” Omar added, “my advocacy will always be for those that suffer because of the actions of governments.”

The House vote was held hours after Israel’s far-right government launched a series of airstrikes in the densely populated “open-air prison” of Gaza, bombings that came a week after Israeli forces killed 10 Palestinians at a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. When two rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza in the wake of the massacre, Israel bombarded the enclave, reportedly hitting a refugee camp at the center of the strip.
During t
he floor debate ahead of the GOP resolution’s passage, Republican lawmakers made clear that Omar’s criticisms of Israeli policy—which are frequently conflated with antisemitism  —were a driving force behind the effort to remove her from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) specifically cited Omar’s past characterization of Israel as an “apartheid” state, calling the description “appalling”—even though mainstream organizations, including Human Rights Watch   and Amnesty International, have offered the same assessment of Israel’s decades-long occupation and brutalization of Palestinians.

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Question for this article

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

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“Rep. Ilhan Omar was booted off of the House Foreign Affairs Committee today for one reason only: her firm and unequivocal opposition to Israel’s brutal apartheid rule over the Palestinian people,” wrote   Josh Ruebner, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and the former policy director of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights.

“All other pretexts,” Ruebner argued, “are just designed to obscure this fact.”

The House GOP passed its resolution kicking Omar off the powerful committee as rights groups warned that Israel is ramping up its assault on Palestinian rights and livelihoods.

“This circus is happening while the Israeli government is escalating an entirely new phase of state violence against Palestinians,” Beth Miller, political director of Jewish Voice for Peace Action, told The Intercept’s Akela Lacy, who argued   Thursday that congressional Democrats “paved the way” for the GOP’s attacks on Omar.

“If you actually look at what the Israeli government is doing right now,” Miller said, “the mask is off completely.”

Over the weekend, Israel moved to seal—and signaled plans to demolish—the West Bank homes of two Palestinians suspected of deadly attacks against Israelis. Human Rights Watch condemned   Israel’s response as an act of “collective punishment.”

“Deliberate attacks on civilians are reprehensible crimes,” Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement Thursday. “But just as no grievance can justify the intentional targeting of civilians in Neve Yaakov, such attacks cannot justify Israeli authorities intentionally punishing the families of Palestinian suspects by demolishing their homes and throwing them out on the street.”

Amnesty International noted earlier   this week that Israeli forces killed 35 Palestinians in January alone. Last year was one of the deadliest in decades   for Palestinians in the occupied territories.

“The devastating events of the past week have exposed yet again the deadly cost of the system of apartheid,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty’s secretary-general. “The international community’s failure to hold Israeli authorities to account for apartheid and other crimes has given them free rein to segregate, control, and oppress Palestinians on a daily basis, and helps perpetuate deadly violence.”

“Apartheid is a crime against humanity, and it is frankly chilling to see the perpetrators evade justice year after year,” Callamard added. “Israel has long attempted to silence findings of apartheid with targeted smear campaigns, and the international community allows itself to be cowed by these tactics. Until apartheid is dismantled there is no hope of protecting civilian lives, and no hope of justice for grieving families in Palestine and Israel.”

Sri Lanka: iDove Hybrid Intl Youth Conference promotes inter-religious coexistence and harmony


An article from The Island Online

The iDove Hybrid International Youth Conference concluded on a successful note at the Goldi Sands Hotel, Negombo, recently. iDove was launched by the African Union Commission’s Directorate of Citizens and other Organizations (AUC-CIDO) and the Deutsche Geselleschaft für Internationale Zussamenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, and was commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation with a view to foster innovative youth-based interventions, using dialogue and soft skills to create agents of change for inter-religious coexistence and harmony in society.

Photo from iDove twitter

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Question related to this article:
Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

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Sri Lanka, this programme was implemented, in partnership with National Fisheries Solidarity (NAFSO), National Peace Council (NPC) and Viluthu, three civil society organizations. Over 300 youth, across the country and overseas, participated in this process, which encouraged youth leadership. Young people from across 23 districts, in Sri Lanka, as well as from Uganda, the Philippines and Kenya, came together, over two days, to learn from each other and raise awareness on this important issue.

The Interfaith Dialogue on Violent Extremism (iDove) approach was developed in 2017, to empower youth to promote inter-religious, business and cultural values and understanding in their communities. What began with 25 “iDovers” in a Training-of-Trainers programme, on preventing violent extremism, has grown to 300 iDove ambassadors. Their community efforts engaged more than 3,000 people and the social media campaigns have reached an audience of 30,000 online.

TheiDove Hybrid International Youth Conference platform is the start of more joint learning and exchange opportunities among young iDove Ambassadors from Asia, Africa and Europe. Many of the youth had already initiated many community initiatives and awareness programmes in their respective districts and hope to continue these efforts with the support of the civil society partners.

Colombia: Government plans to provide 100,000 young peace managers with economic benefits


An article by Maria Alejandra Uribe in W Radio

In the middle of the presentation of the Youth Employability Program, President Gustavo Petro announced that the Government has been working on a project to take away from delinquents and criminal organizations the young people who work in them and who can become peace managers .

Gustavo Petro, President of Colombia. / Photo Guillermo Legaria/Getty Images

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(Click here for the original Spanish version of this article.)

Questions related to this article:

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

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“We are preparing, with the experience we have had, a large-scale program, that is why we are talking about peace managers, we want to act with excluded youth in the areas with the highest levels of violence in Colombia such as Urabá, poor neighborhoods in Cartagena, from Montería Barranquilla, Chocó where people are hungry”, said the President.

To this the Head of State added, “we plan to achieve a program that covers 100,000 young people in those areas. It will be linked to education and based on the fact that a young person must receive an income that allows them to live with dignity, a salary that can compete with that offered by multi-crime organizations. The credit can be seen as an instrument to promote studies and work.

It is expected that the rules of the game will be established in the coming days so that this great ‘peace army’ can begin to act in the most vulnerable areas of the country and achieve total peace.

(Editor’s note: This proposal is based on a program of 10,000 peace managers that was implemented in Bogota when Petro was mayor of the city. An evaluation of that program is available in Spanish.)

Teen peace prize winner on a mission to give Japanese youth a voice


An article from NHK

Kawasaki Rena has made history as the first Japanese recipient of the International Children’s Peace Prize. The 17-year-old was recognized for giving young people in her country a political voice. She joins a list of past winners that includes Malala Yousafzai and Greta Thunberg, and appears destined to become just as influential as those two acclaimed activists.

The Amsterdam-based organization KidsRights awards the International Children’s Peace Prize annually to a child who has fought for the rights of other children. Kawasaki Rena was chosen in 2022 from 175 candidates.

Kawasaki Rena (center) and members of a local branch of the environmental group Earth Guardians

The award ceremony took place in The Hague last November. Clad in her mother’s kimono, Kawasaki threw down the gauntlet to the world’s most powerful people.

“I’m dedicating my life to changing governmental systems to reflect the diverse world we live in,” she declared, “and to make sure nobody feels hopeless in our political system again. World leaders, it’s your time to follow.”

Kawasaki was 8 years old when she read a picture book about Japanese people who were sending used school bags to Afghanistan. She realized there were children elsewhere who couldn’t access education because of conflict or poverty.

And she soon learned that Japan was far from perfect. After seeing that young people in her country had trouble expressing their views on social issues, she decided to act.

At 14, Kawasaki set up a local branch of Earth Guardians, an international NGO that brings together young people for climate action.

She also launched an online platform to connect schools and local politicians, allowing young people to express their concerns about issues such as education and the environment.

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Question related to this article:
Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

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When youth receive the necessary training, support, and mentorship to become agents of In 2021, Kawasaki created an online portal where young people in the city of Niihama in western Japan could sound off about local political issues. It was hailed as a resounding success. City officials say more than 800 people took part. Many of them said they were worried about climate change, and called for more action from their local leaders.

Kawasaki has taken it upon herself to reflect these views in a role she recently took up at a Japanese biofuel company. As the firm’s Chief Future Officer, she helps develop a new orientation program for recruits.

Connecting the generations

You’d be forgiven for thinking Kawasaki has Japan’s corporate and political seniors quaking their boots. But she doesn’t frame her work as “young vs. old” or “us vs. them”. In fact, she insists older generations are willing to listen.

“After talking to different politicians, different youth, different teachers, different adults that had different professions, I felt that they all had the best intentions and the only thing keeping them apart was effective communication.

“I felt that the biggest issue in Japan was having a place where both sides, adults and children, could be heard … in all sorts of layers of society.”

KidsRights founder Marc Dullaert says Kawasaki has made a “positive breakthrough” in Japanese society, where young people are largely excluded from the decision-making process.

“You see tangible impact,” he says. “Things are happening. She inspires people. I think she’s an extraordinary youth pioneer, giving the youth of Japan a voice. And I dare to call it historic.”

Making a difference in Tokyo

Kawasaki is now working with the Tokyo government on a project to redevelop the Japanese capital’s bay area and make the city more sustainable. Officials say the initiative could reap benefits for all of the 37 million people living in the greater Tokyo area.

And for Kawasaki, that means not only involving as many children as possible, but also keeping them much better informed about their futures.

“My goal is to create a long-term system within the Japanese government, (so that) youth can propose their ideas and can actually see the process in which that idea is going to be processed,” she says.

Kawasaki says she tried to use her acceptance speech in the Hague to deliver a message of hope to her country. She says she also wants the world to know that despite appearing quiet and passive, young Japanese people have many important ideas, and it’s only a matter of time before they become the country’s next leaders.

Jamaica: Partnering with youth to break cycles of violence


An article by Neville Charlton* from The Gleaner
Data shows that youth, especially males between the ages of 16 and 24, are disproportionately impacted by violent crimes, while women and girls are the main victims of sexual violence. There are a plethora of interconnected determinants of crime and violence among the youth population spanning social, economic, political, and cultural factors.

Neville Charlton 

Youth Inspiring Positive Change (YIPC) has identified that violence in Jamaican schools continues to have a significant impact on the educational performance and socio-emotional health of youth and propagates a dominant negative narrative around young people. Gang violence, political conflict, police brutality, and domestic violence in the wider society are often reproduced in the school environment.

In Jamaica, our youth are partners and protectors and need better capacities and training in order to continue acting as human rights defenders, peacebuilders, activists, and community mobilisers. Young people can contribute to the civic space in unique ways, with resilience, creativity, and determination to work for peace despite various risks and threats to their life.

With that data in mind, YIPC has grown an army of over 1,500 young volunteers and peacebuilders islandwide who use their experience as a platform to work with various non-governmental organisations (NGO) and youth groups across Jamaica. YIPC has worked with youth over the last decade by providing leadership, peace and advocacy, training, mentorship as well as job opportunities.
It is important to understand the realities of our youth if we want to effectively reach them and break the cycle of violence. Our ambassadors have indicated that they are looking for a way to be employed, opportunities to network, safe spaces to meaningfully engage in development and they want to be heard and to be seen.

Life skills training for youth helps improve critical thinking, problem solving, and cooperative learning skills, along with developing respect and empathy and conflict management skills. These help young people to become responsible citizens and agents of positive change.

In Jamaica, conflict is at the centre of human life; it is inevitable and inherent in the experience of living. It is also true that each one of us has different ways of dealing with it. I have experienced this as a young peace activist in Jamaica. As agents of change, our way of dealing with conflict must always be positive. We see each problem as an opportunity to generate change.

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Question related to this article:
Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

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When youth receive the necessary training, support, and mentorship to become agents of change, personal growth and development follow. This has become evident through YIPC’s peace tours, training programmes and peace ambassador networks across numerous high schools such as Meadowbrook High, Clarendon College, St Hugh’s and various communities such as Tivoli Gardens, Trench Town and Arnett Gardens.


Recognition is an important motivating factor for youth mobilisation. Awards programmes, such as YIPC’s annual Positive Awards, recognise the invaluable efforts of members and volunteers who go above and beyond to become agents of change at the community and national level.

Partnership is critical to breaking the ongoing cycle of violence and to supporting youth NGOs in their community development efforts. The award of a grant from the UNDP Multi Country Office in Jamaica to bolster the YIPC’s peace ambassador programme is an example of partnerships that can make a difference. Furthermore, YIPC’s participation in the design of a youth-centred call to action from the UNDP Ready Set Great Youth Summit on Crime and Violence is indicative of the kind of youth inclusivity that is welcomed by young people. Two of the calls to action that are most appropriate for supporting youth contributions to national safety and security interventions are:

1. More structured and consistent support from stakeholders in government, private sector and civil society to aid youth groups and organisations with human, technical and financial resources to support community projects that address crime prevention, with emphasis on citizen security and safety, thus contributing to a more peaceful Caribbean society.

2. Expansion of youth programmes that offer real opportunities for mentoring and skill development.

Achieving peaceful, just, and inclusive societies is not rocket science. We need to ensure that young people are allowed to be young, to share their voices and opinions even when they are different. Young people should be allowed to be free to enjoy their fundamental rights. Most importantly, young people should be protected, included, and involved meaningfully to ensure that our power is transformed and used appropriately to contribute to development.

What I admire most about our generation is that we always go for more. Despite the injustices, the limitations, and the issues we face, there will always be reasons to continue fighting and working for a more peaceful, just and safe Jamaica. Because in the end, we are all part of the universe, and we see ourselves reflected in every human being who lives through an injustice. That compassion and that ability to find our common humanity is what drives us as young people to move forward, to move on even in adversity. Let’s keep getting involved and let’s keep encouraging others to generate solutions to the problems we face every day in our contexts.

* Neville Charlton is the founder of Youth Inspiring Positive Change JA Ltd. Send feedback to This article is part of a series written by youth partners of UNDP’s annual Ready Set Great Youth in Development showcase. Visit for more information.

Policy dialogue: PaynCoP Gabon for youth participation


An article from Gabon News

The Gabonese section of the Pan-African Youth Network for the Culture of Peace (PAYNCOP Gabon) organized a meeting with the national press on Thursday during which it expressed its desire to see young people take part in the future political consultation announced at the end of last December by the President of the Republic.

Members of PAYNCOP Gabon, including the permanent secretary (in jacket), on January 12, 2023, in Libreville. © D.R.

The exchange of PAYNCOP Gabon with national media took place Thursday, January 12 in Libreville. The aim was to present a the summary of the report of the consultations on the political and civic participation of young people. It was organized within the framework of the project to support the civic and political participation of young people supported by the United Nations. The report that presents the results of the consultations that led Jerry Bibang, permanent secretary of PAYNCOP, and his team to four cities in the country (Franceville, Oyem, Port-Gentil and Libreville) during the months of August and September. They collected the opinions and concerns of young people in connection with their political and civic participation.

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(Click here for the original French version of this article)

Question related to this article:
Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

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In addition to the presentation of the report, PAYNCOP Gabon also discussed the political consultation announced by the President of the Republic on December 31. The date of the meeting has not yet been indicated, the organization hopes it will be inclusive and will take into account all social categories, including young people involved in civil society organizations. This is especially important since they say they have concerns to express during this future meeting.

“Among the concerns is the low representation of young people in elective positions in political parties, whether one is from the majority or the opposition. Law No. 9/2016 of September 5, 2016, setting the quotas for access of women and young people to political elections is not respected by the political parties when choosing their candidates. This greatly limits the representation of young people in decision-making positions despite their potential,” explained Jerry Bibang.

Bibang added that “the question of the training of militants and sympathizers of political parties as well as that of actors engaged in civil society organizations constantly came up during these consultations”. All of these concerns as well as possible solutions by way of recommendations are recorded in the report, “The Common Position of Youth on Citizen and Political Participation” that the organization hopes to transmit to the authorities.

A press release by PAYNCOP Gabon states: “At a time when the President has just announced the holding of a national political consultation, we believe that the concerns as well as the possible solutions contained in this report should fuel the discussions during this next national dialogue. We are going to mobilize other youth association platforms so that young people can play their part during this national meeting. This is an opportunity for us to call for an inclusive dialogue that takes into account the active participation of all social categories, in particular young people from civil society organizations. Because, when the country goes through troubles after the elections, the political parties are not the only ones to suffer these consequences. We are all impacted, and therefore, we must all participate in the reflection for inclusive, credible, transparent and peaceful elections.”

UN Alliance of Civilizations Application Guidelines: Young Peacebuilders in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) – 6th Edition


An announcment from the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations

The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) has launched the call for applications for the 6th edition of its Young Peacebuilders programme in Latin America and the Caribbean (2023), aiming to tackle violent extremism by building inclusive societies with understanding and respect among cultural and religious communities

Are you between 18 and 25 years old? *

Are you a citizen of a LAC** country and/or do you currently live in this region?

Are you interested in taking part in an intercultural learning experience with other young people from LAC and improve your actions to promote peace?

Are you part of a youth-led organization, network or initiative?

Do you want to increase your ability to contribute to peace and social inclusion in your community, country and region?

Are you in the beginning stages of your involvement in this type of work and want to learn more?

If yes, apply now for a chance to be selected for a fully-funded participation in the 6th edition of the UNAOC Young Peacebuilders programme in the LAC region (2023).

Deadline to apply: 19 February 2023

* Be 18-25 years of age for the total duration of the project. To be considered eligible, applicants must be born on or between October 25, 1996, and October 25, 2004
** Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)

Click here to apply for the 6th edition of Young Peacebuilders in LAC

1. The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC)

UNAOC was established in 2005, as an initiative of Secretary-General Kofi Annan and co-sponsored by the Governments of Spain and Türkiye. UNAOC works towards a more socially inclusive world, by building mutual respect among peoples of different cultural and religious identities and highlighting the will of the world’s majority to reject violent extremism and embrace diversity. UNAOC project activities are fashioned around Youth, Education, Media, Migration, and Women as Peace Mediators. UNAOC recognizes the critical role that programming and policymaking in these areas can play in reducing polarization and identity-based tensions and in helping to build bridges between communities. The Alliance benefits from the political support of the Group of Friends, a community of 158 members comprising of Member States and international and regional organizations, which actively promote the Alliance’s objectives.

Learn more about UNAOC and our programming for young people here.

2. Young Peacebuilders in LAC: Programme overview and timeline

Guided by the principle that youth are key actors to achieve peace and prevent violent extremism, as stated by UN Security Council resolutions 2250, 2419, and 2535, and the United Nations Secretary General’s Plan of Action on Preventing Violent Extremism, UNAOC develops educational programming to enhance the ability of young people and their organizations to foster mutual respect, understanding and long-term positive relationships between peoples of different cultures and religions. You may find more information about UNAOC’s Young Peacebuilders initiative here.

The 6th edition of the Young Peacebuilders programme in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) 2023 is designed to strengthen the skills of young women and men from the region in tackling stereotypes, prejudice and xenophobia while providing them with access to regional and global peacebuilding networks and raising visibility of their innovative and effective peace work in the field. The long-term goal is the integration of young peacebuilders in governmental peace processes / policies.

This 6th edition will be implemented in collaboration with the United Network of Young Peacebuilders (UNOY) and is funded by AEXCID (Agencia Extremeña de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo).

The aim is to support the growth of networks of young peacebuilders who are equipped with the tools to address stereotypes, prejudice and polarization in order to build more inclusive and peaceful societies, tackling the drivers of violent extremism.

In order to participate, applicants must commit to completing all phases of the programme, outlined below. Online involvement is part-time, while the workshop is a full-time, one-week experience.

Participation in the results-sharing symposium is also mandatory.

During the programme, 20 selected participants will:

Learn about stereotypes and how to critically analyze them to reduce their prevalence;

Understand different perspectives in identity-based conflict and gain tools to develop solutions at local, national and regional levels and transform conflicts peacefully;

Identify push and pull factors creating conditions conducive to violent extremism;

Develop competencies to use different forms of media or expressive arts as a way to create alternative narratives, reduce polarization and promote social inclusion;

Learn how to successfully design and run your project.

Programme components:

Part 1: online phase (+/- 2 months). Participants access the course through an online collaborative platform provided by UNAOC. UNAOC and other trainers facilitate the modules of the curriculum, giving an opportunity to participants to get to know each other prior to their first in-person meeting. They also start getting exposed to tools and concepts, engage in discussion and start reflecting on their peace actions. Time commitment: 4 to 5 hours per week to complete the modules (some work can be completed offline).

Part 2: face-to-face workshop (+/- 7-8 days). All participants travel to complete the training and experience how peacebuilding is successfully implemented through 1 or 2 local field visits. They also work on the development of their own action plan.

Part 3: applied learning (+/- 3 months). Implementation of a personal peace initiative: participants are guided by UNAOC’s professional trainers and stay connected with other participants while reporting on the implementation of their projects.

Part 4: results sharing symposium (2-4 days). Participants are invited to travel and participate in a symposium during which they share their experience, lessons learned, achievements and recommendations with a broader audience of practitioners, policymakers, media and the general public. They also engage with this audience on topics related to intercultural dialogue, peace and security.

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Question related to this article:
Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

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3. Tentative timeline and logistics

January-March 2023: call for applications

By April 2023: selected participants are notified

May-June 2023: selected participants take part in introductory online modules (part 1)

June-July 2023: participants travel to take part in the face-to-face workshop (part 2)

July-September 2023: participants commit to conduct peace activities in the three months following the workshop (part 3)
October 2023: Results-sharing symposium at a location to be determined
Language: The working language of the programme is English.

4. Costs covered by the organizers

All selected youth participants will be provided with:

Round-trip travel (international or domestic flight, economy class) to the city of the face-to-face workshop and (for those selected) to the city of the symposium;

Accommodation in the city of the face-to-face workshop and the symposium

Meals and coffee breaks during the official duration of the workshop and the symposium

Shuttles or reimbursement of transportation to/from the airport and hotel in the city of the face-to-face workshop and  in the city of the symposium.

5. Costs covered by the participants

For the workshop and symposium, youth participants will be responsible for their transportation to and from the airport in their country of residence (and embassy in case a visa is needed), as well as any personal and incidental expenses incurred outside of the official portions of the workshop, such as souvenirs, equipment, additional food, etc.

6. Selection of participants

Youth participants aged 18-25 will be selected on the basis of merit demonstrated through motivation and interest, their experience and their potential for dissemination and applications of lessons learned.

The selection committee will ensure balance in terms of age, gender, geography, and diversity of backgrounds among selected participants.

In addition, special attention will be paid to ensure participation of youth from marginalized or disadvantaged groups. The selection committee will be composed of representatives of UNAOC, youth-led structures and relevant stakeholders in the field.

Eligibility criteria (all requirements must be met in order to be considered eligible):

Age: Applicant must be 18-25 years of age for the total duration of the project. To be considered eligible, applicants must be born on or between October 25, 1996, and October 25, 2004.

Region: Applicant must be a citizen of and/or currently live in one of the following countries of Latin America and the Caribbean: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela (the Bolivarian Republic of).

Organization: Applicant must be active (staff, volunteer, etc.) in a non-government and non-for-profit youth-led organization, network, initiative, or movement (led by youth for the benefit of the youth) and have the ability to consult with and reach a wider group of young people, audience or network, including at the grassroots and community level.

Commitment: Demonstrate commitment to diversity and pluralism, nonviolence, peaceful and inclusive societies. The organizations and networks represented should: Adhere to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the principles and values of the Charter of the United Nations; have internal democratic and transparent processes of leadership, decision-making, and consultation; be independent, unaffiliated with any political party.

Language: A strong command of English is necessary to take part in the online phase and in-person workshop. The applicant must understand English very well and possess intermediate to fluent levels of English, which would allow them to participate in the conversation and provide their input.

Prior experience: Applicant must never have taken part in a programme of UNAOC (Summer School, Youth Solidarity Fund, Intercultural Innovation Award, PLURAL+, PeaceApp, Youth Event at the UNAOC Global Forum, Fellowship Program, Young Peacebuilders, #YouthWagingPeace, Sport and PVE youth fora, EDIN, #DigitalGamesforPeace, Sport for One Humanity).

Passport: In order to be accepted in this programme, selected applicants must hold an international passport valid until at least April 15, 2024. Failure to provide a copy in due time will result in the cancellation of participation.

Completion and submission of requirements: The application is duly completed, submitted by the deadline, and contains all supporting documentation, requested as part of the call. Half-complete applications or applications filled in other languages than English will not be reviewed and considered.
Selection criteria:

Motivation and contribution to the programme:the applicant demonstrates that she/he is highly motivated to complete all portions of the programme.

Interest in themes:the applicant shows some experience in issues related to intercultural dialogue, peacebuilding and preventing violent extremism through examples of initiatives he/she is part of or is demonstrating a great interest to get involved in this set of issues.

Experience and potential: the applicant is at the beginning stages of his/her involvement or career in the field of peacebuilding and has specific goals to improve his/her skills and to make contribution to peace.

Outreach: the applicant and his/her organization have the capacity and motivation to absorb and disseminate the lessons learned back to their community, organization and to a wider network or audience.

Future impact and follow up:the applicant expressed his/her strong commitment to conduct personal peace initiatives in their community during the implementation phase and beyond

In order to be considered complete and valid, the application package must include the following and be submitted through the online application system available at

An application form, completed and certified by the applicant;

A copy of the identification page of your international passport.
Word/character limit for each question in the application form needs to be respected. The application system automatically counts words and characters.

The application deadline is February 19, 2023, 11:59 PM Eastern Daylight Time (New York).

Basel Peace Office announces the nine finalists for the 2023 PACEY Youth Award


An article from the Basel Peace Office

Basel Peace Office is pleased to announce the nine finalists of the 2023 PACEY Youth Award. We invite anyone interested in youth initiatives for a better world to join us for the PACEY Award ceremony on January 21 to vote for the three winners, each of whom will receive a prize of €5000 plus organizational support for their initiatives.

“The PACEY Award supports innovative projects which empower youth to lead transformative actions in the fields of peace, climate security and disarmament”, says Ms Marzhan Nurzhan, Deputy-Director of Basel Peace Office and Co-founder of Youth Fusion, a global youth network for the abolition of nuclear weapons. “We received nominations of over 80 inspiring youth projects and project proposals from around the world. The nine finalists are just a sample of the quality and level of youth action on these important issues for humanity and the planet.”

“Young people in Europe and around the world are standing up to demand policy progress on the climate crisis, nuclear abolition and ending war,” says Prof (em) Andreas Nidecker MD, founder of the PACEY Award. ‘They clearly see the threats to current and future generations and are taking action.”

“Peace and security are the central starting points on the path to sustainable development,” says Dr Lukas Ott (lic. phil.), Head of Canton and Urban Development, Presidential Department of the Canton of Basel-Stadt. “Peace is the foundation that something good can grow out of it. Youth-led projects and activities that promote peace, climate-protection and disarmament are more important now than ever.”

According to Prof Lukas Kundert, Director of the Basel-Stadt Evangelical Reformed Church, the award highlights youth action that connects ethical ways of living with practical approaches to achieving peace. “Righteousness and Peace kiss each other” he says.

The PACEY Award will confer one prize for a project based in Europe and two prizes for projects based outside of Europe.


The three finalists in the European project category are:

* Global Perspectives on Corporate Climate Legal Tactics (United Kingdom), a project to examine the unique aspects of climate litigation across the corporate world leading to the production of a toolbox for the effective implementation of climate law. With research from 17 different legal systems, the project will analyse and compare best practices from those jurisdictions and provide recommendations to relevant stakeholders in order to facilitate continuous improvement in the implementation of climate change law.

* Peace in our Schools (Georgia), a project to work with young Ukrainian refugees and Russian immigrants, who have fled the Russia-Ukraine war. The project, founded by Jewish and Muslim peacemakers from Georgia and Afghanistan, aims to provide emotional intelligence and conflict resolution training to Ukrainian and Russian youth, through programs in Georgian schools. The project is managed by the Network of Former Youth Delegates to the United Nations.

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Question related to this article:
Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

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* SAFNA Youth Forum Database Project (Switzerland), a project to create a database on nuclear disarmament and arms control, with commentaries on national legislation and jurisprudence. The project, being led by the Swiss Association of Lawyers for Nuclear Disarmament (SAFNA) Youth Forum, is inspired by the ICRC databases on international humanitarian law, and aims to assist, students and professionals in the fields of international law, international politics and international relations.

The six finalists for the Beyond Europe category are;

* Adopt a tree, not a weapon (Democratic Republic of Congo), a project to address the climate crisis and activism of local and foreign armed groups using children as soldiers to commit violence and destroy the biodiversity. The project, run by former child soldiers and other young volunteers from the Amani-Institute, uses a range of innovative approaches including inter-active theatre, to educate and engage other youth.

* Ertis Mektebi school (Kazakhstan), a project to provide mainstreamed education for children with special needs.  The school is being established in Semipalatinsk, where there are over 4000 children with neuropsychological and musculoskeletal disabilities, most of whom are likely to be third and fourth generation victims of Soviet nuclear tests, more than 450 of which were conducted in the Polygon/Semipalatinsk region Kazakhstan from 1949 -1989. The mainstreaming approach is to establish a school where both children with disabilities and children without health problems will study together.

* Nuclear Lives: Uranium Mining on Indigenous Communities of Meghalaya (India), an interview series documenting the testimonies of victims of uranium mining in Meghalaya. The uranium is used for both nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. The project uses a story-telling approach to complement academic research in order to elevate public knowledge and political attention regarding the negative impacts of uranium mining – the widespread acres of forest cleared, water bodies contaminated, soil rendered fruitless, stillborn births and death of local wildlife.

* Silence the Guns (Cameroon), a project led by Children for Peace to educate and engage children, especially girls, in Central Africa in non-violence and peace-building. The project works with  schools, university, mosques, churches & faith-based organizations, refugees, UN agencies and other organization in order to counter violent extremism, armed conflict and the illicit proliferation of weapons.

* Storytelling as a Catalyst of Action for Peace, Love, and Climate Justice in MENA (Middle East and North Africa), a project led by the MENA Youth Network which aims to establish an online media archive of stories and voices of youth in the MENA region most affected by the intersection of conflict and climate change, and run workshops and exhibitions in collaboration with civil society groups in communities across the region. The project will harness the power of storytelling to advance and highlight urgent needs, and empower and unite youth towards establishing peace, love, and climate justice in the region.

* Youth Peace Caravans (Sudan/Uganda), a peacebuilding program initiated and led by a former child soldier from South Sudan in the refugee settlements in northern Uganda to foster peace among the South Sudanese young Refugees. South Sudan is home to 64 tribes with long history of animosity. When the civil war broke out, those who fled the country were forced to live in shared refugee settlement areas where negative assumptions led to clashes, death and injuries. Through youth peace caravans, young people are unlearning the negative assumptions by engaging more with each other through community exchange visits, sharing stories, skills and ideas and doing community service together.

The PACEY (Peace, nuclear Abolition and Climate Engaged Youth Award) was established by Basel Peace Office in 2020 as a €5000 award for a European Youth Project. In 2021, the City of Basel (Switzerland) joined and added a prize of €5000 for Beyond Europe/Global Youth Project. And we are pleased to announce that from 2023, we are joined by the Reformed Evangelical Church of Basel-Stadt with support for another award of €5000 for a second Beyond Europe/Global Youth Project, making three awards in total.

Finalists in each category will present their projects/proposals at the PACEY Awards event which takes place online on January 21, in conjunction with Basel Peace Forum 2023 and the annual Basel Inter-generational Forum on Peace, Disarmament and Climate Action ( hybrid events). Participants at the PACEY Awards event will vote by secret ballot to determine the three winners.

The Gambia: WANEP stages youth leaders ‘bantaba’ on peace-building 


An article by Jankey Ceesay from The Point

West Africa Network for Peace Building-The Gambia (WANEP) recently convened a day’s ‘bantaba’ (group discussion) on youth participation in decision-making and peace-building processes at Metzy Residence in Kololi.

WANEP-The Gambia is a registered not-for-profit organization with a membership of 20 civil society organizations working towards strengthening the capacity of peace building practitioners, governmental and non-governmental institutions, and developing conflict prevention networks and mechanisms to promote the culture of peace.

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Question related to this article:
Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

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Addressing the gathering, Ms. Salama Njie, the National Network Coordinator West Africa Network for Peace Building-The Gambia (WANEP), reminded that youth are mostly used by politicians to win positions and neglect them afterwards.

“The vulnerability of young people to political exploitation and election related violence in an already fragmental society could with growing ethnic diversions and political party disputes cause concern for all of us and we are used by political leaders to gained their posts,” she pointed out. 

She explained that youth consist 64% of the country’s population, yet meaningful participation of young men and women in governance system, remains a challenge. 

She advised them to desist from being used by political leaders to disturb the country’s peace by attacking their opponent and inciting violence, rather they should be involved in politics, decision-making and promote peace ahead of the local election.

Tijan Bah, the assistant national early warning systems manager at WANEP, expressed optimism that the forum would produce a road map for young people to be involved in decision making levels and be agents for peace in their various communities.

Abu Dhabi opens the ninth edition of the Peace Forum


An article from Atalayar

The United Arab Emirates is once again hosting the Abu Dhabi Peace Forum, formerly known as the Forum for the Promotion of Peace in Muslim Societies. This ninth edition of the meeting will begin on Tuesday 8 November and will run for three days under the title “Global Conflict and Universal Peace: Urgent Needs and Opportunities for Partnership”, bringing together more than 30 pioneering international organisations in the promotion of peace and nearly 500 participants from 60 different countries, representing every continent. 

President Joko “Jokowi“ Widodo shakes hands with Abu Dhabi Forum for Peace (ADFP) secretary-general Al Mahfoudh Bin Bayyah, who presented the President with a peace award at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on Nov. 7.(Presidential Secretariat Press Bureau/Muchlis Jr.)

“The role of the Peace Forum, […] which is usually hosted by Abu Dhabi and is one of the most important forums in the Islamic world, is to serve as a space for the discussion of humanitarian problems and intellectual and religious conflicts in Muslim societies,” the forum’s official website states. “Hundreds of Islamic scholars and thinkers participate in the forum in order to establish a unified position to address unrest and acts of violence in the Islamic world”. 

Religious leaders, politicians, officials, representatives of national and international organisations, and peace activists from around the world will travel to the United Arab Emirates to address the promotion of peace at one of the most critical times for the international community in recent decades. With several armed conflicts raging, more than 100 million refugees – according to UNHCR – and growing food and energy insecurity threatening the world’s poorest regions in particular, the forum’s attendees face one of the most complex meetings since the forum opened its doors in 2014. 

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(Click here for a French version of this article, or click here for a spanish version.)

Question for this article

Islamic extremism, how should it be opposed?

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Strengthening coexistence between Muslim societies, reviving interfaith values, creating a space for spreading the message of peace and strengthening the role of the UAE in all these areas are the main objectives of the Peace Forum. This year, they are expected to be worked on the basis of four central themes: the challenges of global peace in the face of an international order in crisis, the role of youth and women in the promotion of peace, the universality of peace in the face of the globalisation of war, and the role of religious leaders in the peace process. 

The forum was born in 2014, under the chairmanship of H.E. Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah, and the patronage of the then Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates, Mohammed bin Zayed, under the name ‘Forum for the Promotion of Peace in Muslim Societies’. Since then, the meeting has become a space of reference in the Islamic world, where scholars strive to promote peace, tolerance and the correction of certain concepts.

Last year 2021, when the meeting formally changed its name to become the Abu Dhabi Peace Forum, the forum kicked off in Al Wasl Square at Expo 2020 Dubai.

The Imam Hassan bin Ali International Peace Award

In addition, the Abu Dhabi Peace Forum is – since 2015, just one year after its birth – a platform that works to empower creativity in peace advocacy through the ‘Peacemakers Hackathon’ initiative, as well as a space to recognise and “honour the creators and precursors of scientific works and initiatives for the promotion of a culture of peace and the consolidation of its value in Muslim societies” with the Imam Hassan bin Ali International Peace Prize, as explained on the official website. 

This year’s recipient of the Imam Hassan bin Ali Prize is the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo (Jokowi), for his work as a promoter of peace during his presidency of the G20. A particularly complicated year for the group due to Russia’s membership, which put at risk – on more than one occasion – that the group’s ministerial summits held to date would conclude more or less normally. 

“For President Jokowi, as well as for all the Indonesian people, this is an extraordinary award that symbolises confidence in the president as a leader who spreads the message and culture of peace in the world,” Indonesian State Minister Pratikno said after Abu Dhabi Peace Forum Secretary-General H.E. Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah travelled to Jakarta to ratify the presentation of the award to Jokowi at the Merdeka Palace. 

“The world is currently facing many kinds of crises: a war, a food crisis, an energy crisis. Not only can people not afford to buy, but the supplies themselves have changed. […]. So if we can do this, it means we can contribute to this world,” Pratikno added.