UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth Delivers Message to African Youth

Global Peace Foundation
November 7, 2013
Global Peace Leadership Conference
November 7-9, 2013
Abuja, Nigeria
Theme: “Moral and Innovative Leadership: Building Sustainable Peace for a Prosperous Future” 
Ahmed Alhendawi, UN Secretary General's Special Youth Envoy at IYLA 2014.

Ahmed Alhendawi, UN Secretary General’s Special Youth Envoy addresses the International Young Leaders Assembly at the United Nations.

The following is a message that Ambassador Ahmad Alhendawi, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth offered via video message at the Global Peace Leadership Conference 2013 closing plenary.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

It’s a great pleasure to address you today. And let me start by congratulating the organizers, the Global Peace Leadership Council, the Global Peace Foundation for convening this important event.

As you know, at the time, the people around the world are concerned with development more than ever before, it’s crucial that we have the discussion and the important tools that will enable us to build the future we want.
And the future we want is a peaceful one, a future where all members live as equals in dignity, rights and opportunities. And my role, as U.N. General Secretary Envoy on Youth, I advocate strongly for the needs and demands, aspirations for young people around the world.

Youth can act as both beneficiaries of and ambassadors for peace, but only if we let them. And young people are increasingly aware of their importance and their important role in the quest for peace.

In places like Kenya, many young people came together after the post-election violence 2007, to work together, ensuring that this is not repeated. They educate their peers and peaceful dialogue and a culture of tolerance, taking ownership of their role in peace building.

Similar examples exist all over the world, so what is my message today? My message to you: that we should work with young people we should harness their potential, make sure that we are partnering with them, because the culture of peace is not about teaching an agreement. Politicians can sign peace agreements, but young can carry this and implement it on the ground.

Peace requires believers. To have peace we need advocates, promoters, believers, to work as strongly to advocate for peace. Young people they have the potential to do that.

We have a youthful generation. And in Africa, it’s a youthful continent, and the number of young people will double in the next 20 years. We should not recycle our failures. It’s time for us to take action and to live up to our responsibility in promoting peace.

I really believe in this young generation in Africa. I believe they can bring about peace that is long awaited in many parts in Africa. The UN is proud to work very closely with many youth organizations.

And to explore ways on how to collaborate with young groups and young people, to reach peaceful societies, and to continue driving our planet, to reach a more prosperity and development for all.

We are also committed to working with young people around the world and with all stakeholders. The United Nations here is standing for the values, human rights, dignity, democracy, peace and security.

Young people must be seen as full partner in this tremendous processes, especially where their interests are central. Even to see young people in these processes ensure that their perspective is included as part of the solution for political, social and economic development in any context is a must.

But the interesting part is that also becomes partially their responsibility to ensure that these decisions are implemented. So its not only about teaching decisions, its very much about implementing them, about having young people holding governments accountable to the implementation of these agreements.

Young people can then become truly part of the developmental processes, at all levels, and in turn, young people contribute in maintaining the peace and stability of their communities.

So let us not forget that the role of youth is crucial to maintaining international peace and security. We at the United Nations are ready to partner with youth, and to work with all young people around the world, to continue advocating, and strengthening the values of the United Nations: peace and Security, human dignity, democracy, and human rights.

I wish you a very successful conference, and I look forward to learn about the outcomes of your meeting. Thank you very much.

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