MESSENGERS OF PEACE

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Every day is a challenge and as young people we need to prepare for it, train for it and test for it. With the advent of the digital media and other emerging technology, the world is becoming smaller, young people are interacting more and understanding what is specific to our culture, what is universal and making peace a choice becomes important.

The first half of this year has been hectic and has revealed the importance of traveling to various countries as well as interacting with groups of young people from diverse cultural groups. A thing which stands out when interacting with people is the natural default to terrifying, violent and chaotic state. According to Andrew Solomon a Professor of Clinical Psychology and an author of the book “Far and Away”, Travel is both a window and a mirror.

The need for multiculturalism and the promotion of fundamental human rights, freedom, equity and justice is a choice that our new global development agenda should pursue.

As young people, we need to do extra in order to conquer dispassionate quest for violence and violent extremism. In Liberia, given the outpouring of support for a violent free elections campaign and elections in 2017 as well as the growing number of civil societies engaging in peace programmes, we have an inspired, talented and diverse youth workforce eager to work on peace and security projects.

While the potential for violence remains given the potent mix of poverty, high level corruption, ritualistic killings, mob violence and pursuit of religious ideology and young people around the country do not have access to building blocks for sustainable peace; making peace a choice for young people becomes critical. There is an urgent need to reach young people with facilities and resources that would support their engagement and subsequent commitment to sustainable peace in Liberia.

Conflicts, violence and violent extremism in societies are inevitable- it is the result of choices that we make as individuals, as a society and as a nation that makes all the difference. Peace to us at Messengers of Peace-Liberia is a choice and one that everyone should make.

The blue print to sustainable peace is clear, everyone-including Government, Non-Governmental Organizations, International Donor Community and the Private Sector should make strong commitment to a set of guiding principles that promote peace. First is the investment in human social security, the meaningful involvement, engagement and active participation of young people in peace and security programmes. We need to put in place systems for early warning and support outreach programmes for peace.

While in The Hague, I met with several groups of young people who agreed to making peace a choice and advancing the cause of global peace. It was a privilege to learn from them and to share my experience on peace advocacy in Liberia and across the world. The momentum for global peace has gained a new urgency as the world grapple with airport bombings and insurgency. We must play our part to ensure peace. The choice is ours as young people to make.

Until next week, when we continue our dialogue among Peace Messengers-What young people say is their recipe for peace, it is Peace First, Peace above all else. May Peace prevail on earth!

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