MESSENGERS OF PEACE

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This week, we commence our series on the commemoration of the International Peace Day commemorated every year on 21 September. This year, we have outlined a number of activities to coincide with the day to include an international video conference with other young people in the USA, Peace talk with young Liberians, religious leaders & traditional leaders and government at the University of Liberia auditorium and a peace prayer vigil at the Slip- way community as well as ringing the peace bell.

While the International Day of Peace, commonly known as “Peace Day”, is devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples, it is for Messengers of Peace-Liberia, an occasion to reiterate the active participation of young people in peace building initiatives and programme.

It is no coincidence that the theme for this year’s International Day of Peace is The Sustainable Development Goals: Building blocks for Peace.

The adoption of the UNSCR # 2250 as well as the efforts put in place for the implementation of the sustainable development goals provides a historic watershed in many respects. The resolution provides a blueprint through which young people can be mobilized and supported, as equal partners, in the implementation of peace building initiatives and programmes. It provides justifications for the meaningful involvement and participation of young people. Furthermore, it provides an opportunity for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a culture of peace.

Most often, the quest for power, control and ownership cloud the drive to sustainable peace. It is problematic where a system for collaboration and partnership is deficient in the right kind of cooperative arrangements that would safeguard the meaningful involvement of young people.

According to President Barrack Obama, whether we like it or not, we live in interconnected world. Alliance building, networking and advocacy for peace building and development must be built on open communication, earned trust, and equal partnership.

In the words of UN Secretary-General, Ban ki-Moon, “The people of the world have asked us to shine a light on a future of promise and opportunity. Member States have responded with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development… It is an agenda for people, to end poverty in all its forms. An agenda for the planet; our common home. An agenda for shared prosperity, peace and partnership”

As young people involved in peace building operations, we must demonstrate integrity by promoting our values and principles. For years, we have had to put up with the peace agenda of others. We’ve been asked to carry others along (even though we collaborate with others in government, private, media and international donor community as well as organizations).

In the past, young people have been involved in violent and extreme violence with their consultation and involvement. Now, the way people look at peace has changed and we have lots of work ahead. Given these changes, we need to strengthen cooperation and take advantage of the tools in place.

We need to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive, sustainable peace through engagement with others. Ultimately, we’re accountable to our conscience and to the generation behind us.

There is no excuse for any form of violence. Peace knows no excuse. As we finalize our preparation for this important day, we call on all young people to get involved. Until next week when we come to you with yet another piece on Dialogue Among Peace Messenger- The way people look at peace has changed-Part II, be on the lookout for the video on “youth from around the globe on how the sustainable development goals can help build peace”; it is Peace First, Peace above all else, may peace prevail in our time

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