The role of Africa’s youth in peace building  is crucial

19Jan 2022
The Guardian
The role of Africa’s youth in peace building  is crucial

Peace is a concept of societal friendship and harmony in the absence of hostility and violence. In a social sense, peace is commonly used to mean a lack of conflict (such as war) and freedom from fear of violence between individuals or groups.

Throughout history, leaders have used peacemaking and diplomacy to establish a type of behavioral restraint that has resulted in the establishment of regional peace or economic growth through various forms of agreements or peace treaties. Such behavioral restraint has often resulted in the reduced conflict, greater economic interactivity, and consequently substantial prosperity.

"Psychological peace" (such as peaceful thinking and emotions) is perhaps less well defined, yet often a necessary precursor to establishing "behavioral peace." Peaceful behavior sometimes results from a "peaceful inner disposition." Some have expressed the belief that peace can be initiated with a certain quality of inner tranquility that does not depend upon the uncertainties of daily life.[3] The acquisition of such a "peaceful internal disposition" for oneself and others can contribute to resolving otherwise seemingly irreconcilable competing interests. Peace is not often in the state of excitement although we are happy when excited, but peace is when one's mind is quiet and satisfied.


  United Nations International Youth Day, arguably the most important day on the U.N. calendar you may not have heard of. However, there are roughly 1.8 billion reasons you should take note. Today's 'peak' youth generation represents the largest in human history, and more than half the global population is under the age of 30. Perhaps even more consequential to the security and economic landscape is that lower income--often volatile regions-- house a significant majority of young people worldwide. Poverty, inequality, conflict and displacement threaten stability and peace.      growth.  

Recognizing the imperative of these demographic and security dynamics the U.N. Security Council, under a U.S. presidency, unanimously adopted Resolution 2250, on Youth, Peace, and  

While youth can be a boon to economies, hundreds of millions of young people are neither in school nor work; and many labor markets can't keep pace in creating enough jobs to absorb new entrants contributing to alarming levels of unemployment. And though youth yearn to work, innovate, and be entrepreneurial, the inability of hundreds of millions to do so is undermining growth and costing the world billions of dollars, driving migration and destroying the social fabric of many communities.  

Despite their talent and ambition, as longer term financial prospects dwindle, far too many are losing hope in their future. Academics may debate whether scant evidence demonstrates a direct causal link between youth and violence or conflict, but there is little doubt that as conditions weaken, youth are more likely to be drawn into illicit or criminal economic activities.

Similarly, though youth tend to drive social, political, and peace movements, they don't necessarily have a meaningful voice in reforms or regime change and are too often sidelined from governance and decision-making.

participation in governance, dispute resolution, and online engagement.

Youth are frequently spoken of as the "future", but in doing so we risk neglecting and marginalising them in the present - and this has dangerous consequences. If the U.S and its partners fail to sufficiently engage, support and nurture youth's aspirations and leadership, our adversaries are lined up to do so and we would not wish to see the likely outcomes of their influence over ours.

Instead, we should more deliberately orient our diplomatic initiatives and development investments toward strengthening young people's capacities and supporting youth-led or -serving organizations. Across Central America, for example, Jóvenes Contra la Violencia Centroamérica is a youth-led movement focusing on prevention.  . If we want to improve prospects for security, we should start by improving prospects for youth. This means listening to their interests and promoting their ability to contribute to global prosperity and peace.

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