Global Forum on Youth, Peace and Security

The Global Youth Forum on Youth, Peace and Security kicked off this morning in Amman, Jordan. Meeting at King’s Academy in the Hasmhemite Kingdom of Jordan, over 500 participants joined young peacebuilders from 100 countries to urge the international community to recognise and use their full potential to build peace. The Forum has brought together a unique mix of young peacebuilders with high-level officials and technical experts. Youth participating in the Forum will contribute as speakers, moderators and rapporteurs.

The first-of-its-kind Global Forum is held under the Patronage of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II in partnership with the United Nations and civil society organisations. Convening the Forum and moderating the opening sessions, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, said, “Young people have not been traditionally represented when it comes to forming the global peace and security agenda.”

Speaking to the participants, the Envoy declared that, “This Forum marks a new global agenda on youth, peace and security and supports the role of young people as peace builders.”

At the opening ceremony, HRH Crown Prince Al Hussein spelled out his vision for young people to be meaningfully included in the global framework for peace and security. Crown Prince Al Hussein announced that “Jordan will work through its membership in the United Nations Security Council for the Council’s adoption of an agenda on youth, peace and security to ensure the inclusion of youth in efforts towards building sustainable peace and security.”

Highlighting Jordan’s role in countering extremism and radicalisation, as part of a long-term solution and prevention strategy, Crown Prince Al Hussein, said, “When youth believe in a mission, they will dedicate their lives to fulfill it.” He went on to tell participants that, “Youth are the strategic asset. They are the real wealth.”

Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund,who was speaking on behalf of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said, “Young people are essential to the establishment of lasting security.” Osotiemehin continued to say, “While media reports may portray youth, especially young men, as a threat, this is a gross distortion.” He added that young people “are often among conflicts’ first victims – and they can lead as champions of peace.”

The United States of America’s Secretary of State, Mr. John Kerry, addressed the gathered participants and young peacebuilders via video message.

Madam Irina Bokova, Director General of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) amplified the inclusion of youth voices in the cause of peacekeeping and development.

Other speakers at the opening included Victor Ochen, Ugandan peace activist, who was also nominated for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize, and inspirational young peacemakers from Colombia and Syria. Alaa Toutounji, a youth peacebuilder from Syria, told the gathered audience of young peacebuilders, “Do not underestimate the importance of our youth in Syria, who are working tirelessly to build a future free of hate and violence. They deserve to be believed in.”

Ahmad Alhendawi also met with media to further promote the power of youth for peace.

The Forum will conclude Saturday, 22 August, with the adoption of the “Amman Youth Declaration”, which will present young people’s vision of their role in preventing conflict, countering violent extremism and building peace.

In the coming months, the Declaration will be used to engage high-level decision makers to adopt a new international framework. See the Envoy’s personal contribution to the “I Declare” social media campaign.

Peacebuilders at the Forum:

Sunset in Amman:

Dabke dance after dinner to celebrate the end of Day 1!

The Forum is being hosted by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and co-organised, on behalf of the United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD), by the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth (OSGEY), the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Search for Common Ground and the United Network of Young Peacebuilders.