The founder and Executive Director of Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa (GPFA), Madam Leymah Gbowee, has said that the young people are the custodians of peace in any society, and as such national stakeholders should ensure that those positive attitudes that would help contribute to the maintenance of peace are encouraged among youths.
She said that this can be done by the creation and establishment of appropriate programs, such as peace clubs and youth gatherings where ‘togetherness’ (unity inspite of diversity) and peace can be preached and maintained.
Madam Gbowee made these comments at the official launch of “A Dollar For Peace” fundraising campaign initiated by friends of Messengers of Peace Liberia (MOP-L), where she served as chief launcher of the campaign. The event was held at the Catholic Archdiocesan Center on the St. Theresa Convent campus in Monrovia.
MOP is poised to construct 15 peace clubs throughout the country where young people in those areas will interact and preach the messages of peace in their localities. The group is, however, seeking funding to carry out its project in those areas.
The 2011 Nobel laureate expressed her disappointment over what she called Liberians’ insensitivity to cardinal issues. She noted that people now a day prioritize things that are very unimportant and overlook things that are germane to the existence of the state and its people, like peace.
This comments was in direct response to the low attendance at the MOP’s “A Dollar for Peace” campaign, which she said should have attracted a good number of people, especially stakeholders, if the peace that Liberians enjoy should be maintained forever, but that was not the case.
Madam Gbowee, “The attendance here clearly speaks to me that people have placed priority on things that are totally unimportant. But I’m pleased to see few of our young people here who deem it necessary not to go the popular way, because in our country majority of our people take the negative way to be the popular way.”
“But it is good to go the unpopular way because some of us think that’s the best way. You may be perceived by your friends because you have refused to follow the popular way. But going the unpopular way distinguishes you from the masses and makes you independence and conscious minded persons.”
She lauded the young women and students present at the occasion for choosing the path of preaching peace, an initiative she said, will tremendously help the country and unborn generations.
She also praised the efforts of MOP executive director, Ms. Gwendolyn Myers, for the level of work that she is doing with the young women are members of the MOP.
Serving as co-launcher of the event, United Nations policy advisor based in New York, Dr. Samuel Doe, said that the issue of peace in Liberia cannot be overemphasized, especially as Liberians have gone through the worst as the result of the civil conflict.
Also present at the occasion was the founder and Managing Director of the Liberia Observer Corporation, Mr. Kenneth Y. Best, who in his usual fashion of proving historical analysis, challenged the young people to make reading a hobby, which he said will go a long way in making them good students.
Meanwhile, the MOP’s boss, Ms. Myers is calling on general public and philanthropists to assist her organization realized its dream by taking peace clubs to other young people in the hinterland. She said that it cost US$500.00 to establish one of the clubs. Madam Gbowee and Dr. Doe pledged US$1500 and US$1,000 respectively to commence the project.