Greetings to the YaLa Young Leaders peace movement – and congratulations on reaching 1 million young members from the Middle East and North Africa! At a time of turmoil and polarization, it is very encouraging to see so many young people show their commitment to building peaceful societies.
No other region is undergoing such dramatic upheavals, or witnessing such horrendous violent extremism.
Far too many people across the Arab world do not feel included in the economic and governance structures of their country. This crisis of exclusion helped produce the Arab Spring – but the hopes of change that were aroused remain largely unmet.
Meanwhile, time is running out for Israelis and Palestinians to reach a two-state solution. Continued settlement activity, and continued hatred and despair, have kept the parties polarized despite an urgent need for compromise. The dire humanitarian situation in Gaza is further cause for grave concern.
One million young people, with one million solutions, can transform the region and the future. Thank you for being voices of moderation and for standing up for freedom, tolerance, justice and peace. The United Nations will continue to stand with you.