MESSENGERS OF PEACE

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The recent visit of the delegation from the Peace Building Commission based in New York and the outcome of discussions with young peace messengers was another eye opener. We dialogued about the need to allow young people handle the affairs of sustainable peace and on the need to have a better peace culture through an equal partnership with youths.

A post action review of youth engagement in peace and security issues in our office; dialogued about cultural and moral matters in peacebuilding in the first place because we care about our character. We, as volunteer peace messengers, understand that for peace to prevail, it requires individuals who are capable of handling difficult issues-people who can be counted on to play their social roles and concerned as well as responsible citizens-people who are dependable. A colleague mentioned to me that the Chairman of the PBC definitely knows his stuff as he conducted the meeting in a professional manner.

Our dialogue went further to mention that the sort of individuals of good character and integrity necessary for sustainable peace are rare and cannot be easily found. However, the minds of young people could be trained to play crucial social roles for sustainable peace in Liberia.

The current culture for peace in Liberia, as exhibited during the preparation for the visits from New York, is over politicized and under moralized. The involvement of young peace builders has to transcend political affiliation, favoritism and associations. Instead of engaging youth based organizations based on personal recognition, it we need a new traditionalism fueled by work ethics and contributions to sustainable peace in Liberia.

Messengers of Peace (MOP)- Liberia cares intensely about its peacebuilding initiatives and how the UNSCR 2250, if properly implemented would lead to a better peace culture. At this point of our growth and development, we need a better peace culture for inclusiveness, awareness raising and education. We need a new peace science that would address the challenges around youth participation in peace and security matters, one that is not based on the old model that young people are recipients of peace aids and therefore, cannot be involved in decision making processes for peace.

Young people are desperately motivated to unleash their potentials and serve as peace advocates. We want to be contributors to sustainable peace and not mere direct beneficiaries. We need to get beyond tokenism and actively engage young people. It is important to give youth ownership and full participation to peace building programmes as a way to empower them.

Young people are simply fed up with appallingly corrupt and ineffective peacebuilding programmes. We need a new peace culture that works in the best interest of the people of Liberia. By extension, we need a disciplinary justice; security system and a funding mechanism that is open to youth based organization not intermediaries.

Until next week, when we come to you with yet another piece on Dialogue Among Peace Messenger-Stories from volunteer peace messengers, it is Peace First, Peace above all else, may peace prevail in our time.

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