All protocols observed.
As we celebrate this year’s International Day of Peace, I would appreciate were you to stand with me to observe a minute of silence for those who lost the lives trying to seek peace globally and also to the Deadly Ebola Virus Disease in our beloved country and within our sister states of Guinea and Sierra Leone not forgetting Mali, Nigeria and Senegal. We are very glad to be celebrating this unique day which focuses on The Amman Declaration on Youth, Peace and Security. Celebrating youth total involvement is an awesome milestone in this world with over 50% of its population being of the youthful age. With a glad heart for the minor in which our world has evolved and how we still intend to continue for even greater evolution.
If we have to report on the state of peace and security in the world, it would be a failed report, given ongoing humanitarian crisis of immigrant refugees in Europe, Military coup de tat in Burkina Faso, bio security with the exposure to Ebola Virus Disease in the sub-continent of West African, horrific forms of abuses in Sri Lanka and most parts of Asia, and various forms of corrupt practices in Africa and in South America.
There has been so much written about and talked about regarding youth and violence and the non-involvement of young people in conflict resolution processes.
The theme for this year’s observation of the international Day of peace “Partnership for Peace and Dignity for All” not only highlights the importance of all segments of the society to work together to strive for peace; but provides a unique opportunity to tap into youth engagement and empowerment. Consequently in our local context, we have coined our theme for this year to reflect the work of young peace builders and came up with the local theme: “Youth as Partners for Peace”.
As you are all aware, the work of MOP-Liberia in volunteerism for peace through the formation of peace clubs in schools and communities and advocacy for peace would not be possible without the engagement of young people and support provided through strategic peace partnership between people and organizations.
The job of any young peace messenger requires public awareness and advocacy for peace. Young people are valuable agents of change for countering violence through diverse approaches ranging from participation in formal peace process to non-formal peer-to-peer education programmes but they have to a large extend remain passive citizens.
In order to optimize the potential of young people and actively engage them we need a fundamental shift. We could not say it loud enough that the meaningful involvement and active participation of young people in sustainable peace and security programme is a sine-qua-non to national development
To reinforce the participation of young people in peacebuilding initiatives, I refer to two important documents; one is the guiding principles on young people’s participation in peace building, the other is the UN Secretary General’s report on peacebuilding that states, I quote: “a successful peacebuilding process must be transformative and create space for a wider set of actors-including but not limited to, representatives of women, young people, victims and marginalized communities, community and religious leaders; civil society actors; and refugees and internally displaced persons-to participate in public decision-making on all aspects of post conflict governance and recovery” end of quote.
Partnership for peace is not about providing funds for security engagement or closing borders to innocent refugees, it is about our mind set, passion, commitment and sharing ideas as well as plans for helping and supporting millions of people who in their dire need. The time has come for us to harness the potentials and power of young people through partnership for peace and security.
Furthermore, we strongly believe in the not only the equality of gender but also the full emancipation of females in this nation. If this conversation should be fruitful and the method need to be changed to get more men around the table since this is a deep cultural issue. We need to get the more men understanding the added value of this equality from the back drop that the more women we get not only participating but actively involved in decision making, leadership, and in every sector of the nation then only then can we say we are winning. We are concern about the how sustainable is our involvement going to be after this regime? However, we are confident with the engagement and involvement of more young girls and boys now, the hope is high with the right education and getting more men joining to make this happen. With more men joining, we are sure that we can drastically reduce and prevent domestic violence as well as gender-based violence of all sorts.
Additionally, socio-economic empowerment of youth cannot be over emphasized. There should be a new phase of capacity building in our beloved Liberia. Youth should be engaged through proper research to understand the real needs so that the portfolio for empower be diversified, prioritized and emphasized. Employment requirement needs to be revisited. We need a national service program to include but not limited to internship to give the needed experience to youth. We need to be involved in the building of such document. Youth should be encouraged to go into entrepreneurship if we are to develop and grow. Our creativity and innovation MUST be challenged and the right environment and quality education MUST be provided as a necessity.
Over the past seven years, we have enjoyed the strong support of many important partners and therefore, before we close, we would like to take the opportunity provided by this launch and observance of the international Day of Peace to extend a heartfelt appreciation to the Liberian Daily Observer Newspaper for believing in us, The Catholic Church-Liberia, Liberian Council of Churches and Islamic community for institutional and spiritual support, to the Liberia Peace Building Office, The Cater Center, United Nations Population Fund(UNFPA), NOVAFONE Inc, United Network of Young Peacebuilders(UNOY), Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), The Center for Justice and Peacebuilding @Eastern Mennonite University(EMU), Shirley Ann Sullivan Education Foundation(SASEF), UNMIL, Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa(GPFA), Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding(CEMESP), our own board of directors for sponsorship and assistance. It would not be remissive of us if we fail to give a special recognition to the Ministry of Youth& Sports, RL headed by Hon. Eugene Nagbe for his trust and support.
We also take this opportunity to recognize young individuals who volunteer their time, talents, potentials and passion to raise awareness of MOP’s efforts to encourage youth participation in peace and security.
Our future builds on peace and security, let’s get involved. Peace education has the power to expand opportunities and transform lives. It is time to partner with others. May peace prevail in our generation!
I would like to on behalf all the 500 young Peacebuilders who gathered in Amman, Jordan August 22, 2015 and over 3.5 billion youths globally, present this Declaration to the following:
• The Office of The President, Republic of Liberia
• The House of Senate
• The House of Representative
• The Chief Justice of Liberia
• Ministry of Youth & Sports
• Ministry of Information Culture and Tourism
• Press Union of Liberia
• The Special Representative of the United Nations to Liberia
• Federation of Liberian Youth
• Inter-faith Council of Liberia
• Open Society Initiative in West Africa
• Action Aid
• The Carter Center
• Group of 77
All protocols observed.