Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) believes young people are key to building peace because peacebuilding is a generational process that needs the inclusion of all to be sustainable. Historically, young people have been stereotyped as security risks, resulting in some governments overlooking youth’s contributions to peace, and instead targeting them as risks to law and order. Thanks to the work of youth activists the approach of policy makers is shifting.
Under the United Nation’s “Youth, Peace and Security” agenda, more opportunities for young peacebuilders are being created; however, challenges remain, and truly inclusive practices are not yet the norm. This shows the need for continued action and advocacy. To support this, QUNO launched work to strengthen youth inclusion so UN policies reflect young people’s priorities. QUNO initiated a series of listening exercises to hear directly from youth peacebuilders.
On May 31, QUNO hosted the first discussion, which engaged young people living in the United States. Participants shared experiences of building peace in their communities and discussed the obstacles they face participating in peace and development work. The conversation bolstered what has been seen in the policy space: young people want to build a peaceful and just world and are taking action even when access to formal political and peacebuilding processes does not exist.
Learn more: Quaker United Nations Office