November 20, 2014, Asuncion, Paraguay | During the Global Peace Convention 2014 in Asuncion, Paraguay, the Global Peace Foundation, the Global Young Leaders Academy, the Paraguayan Ministry of Youth and KOGA Social Lab, a regional social business venture lab, charged the spirits of over 1,000 youth. Participants gathered from nations including Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Guatemala, Bangladesh, Australia, United States, England and Nepal among others. Each individual that gathered stood as a leader within his or her own community and was inspired by the vision of a brighter, more peaceful future world.
Globally there are approximately 1 billion youth in the world today. This presents tremendous opportunity but also creates an imperative, more than ever, for leaders of moral and ethical standing to guide and engage the upcoming generations, making the International Young Leaders Assembly timelier than ever.
In his video message Ahmed Alhendawi the United Nations Special Envoy of Youth said, “This is the moment in time that nations should be investing in adolescent development.” He continued, “Our common future will be determined by how we provide opportunities for youth to have access to freedoms and opportunities.”
Ambassador Alhendawi noted that in addition to being one of the youngest nations in the world, Paraguay is fast becoming a leader in supporting youth development. The nation’s untapped human resources provide a myriad of developmental opportunities for the nation, the Latin American region, as well as the world. The energy and power at the International Young Leaders Assembly was a perfect display of why Paraguay was a fitting host for the sixth IYLA.
Each panelist spoke to inspire the youth participants. Anuar Gossen, the representative from the Paraguayan Ministry of Youth charged the assembly to lead. “We have to be the change that the world expects us to be. We have to join forces in this effort,” she said.
Liz Cramer of the Paraguayan Ministry of Tourism encouraged the young leaders to take ownership for the future of their nations. “There must be a level of ownership in order to engage in successful development,” she said. “We shouldn’t depend on outside forces to validate our efforts.” She urged the youth not to let challenges and fears keep them from pursuing progress.
Other speakers touched on the revolutionary strength of youth, while emphasizing the need to connect to one another in cooperative and collaborative efforts. When the dream and vision of a world of peace and wellbeing becomes a personal passion among young leaders, the potential for growth is infinite.
Mr. Jim Flynn, the International President of the Global Peace Foundation, spoke on the need for moral and innovative leadership. “The promise and potential of the world requires leadership,” he told the assembly. He noted that technological advances have created tremendous opportunities, however, without moral and ethical leadership, these advances could be used for harm. He called for efforts to fill in the ever growing “gap between external development and ethical maturity.”
He also called for development rooted in universal principles. “When you ground your direction in values that are drawn from the long history of human endeavor, the lasting and enduring impact you can make is significant,” he said.
He closed his speech with guiding words to the youth assembly, “Let a noble vision guide your steps, place your motivation on the highest plane. Tap your entrepreneurial and innovative spirit to dream big and act big, to build a world that is free of conflict, corruption, poverty and disease and filled with opportunity and wellbeing for every member of the global human family.”
These words encapsulated the message of the assembly, and a call for moral and innovative leadership.
In addition to the assembly, the international and national IYLA participants attended private meetings with former presidents Alvaro Colom from Guatemala and Jaime Paz Zamora from Bolivia.
Following the Global Peace Convention, delegates participated in a cultural exchange program in Aregua, where they visited a community art school, El Cántaro, and joined an eco-adventure leadership program in Tobati. They also visited Salto Monday and the Itaipu Dam.
The destiny of the world depends on the successful cultivation and engagement of the youth. The Global Peace Foundation and its partners have sought to meet this urgent call through initiatives such as IYLA, and global service alliances. The International Young Leaders Assembly was held in conjunction with the Global Peace Convention 2014 in Asuncion, Paraguay on November 19-21.