This is the second event in the Wilton Park Youth Dialogues: powering the future and takes place in partnership with the British Council, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the WANA Institute, Jordan, and in association with Restless Development and the Institute of Development Studies.
Young people make up a third of those affected by conflict. More than 600 million young people live in fragile or conflict affected areas; at least 25 per cent of those affected by the Syria crisis, for example, are aged 10 to 24. In addition, the protracted crises in Syria, Iraq and nearby countries mean that over 4 million youth in the region are at risk and could, in turn, pose a risk to their communities and the wider region. Unable to work and often traumatised, many of these young people may see joining an armed group or leaving their country altogether as the only choices open to them.
Yet many young people are actively contributing to peacemaking and peacebuilding. This dialogue will examine how their actions can be supported and strengthened. What barriers do these young peacemakers face – and how can they be overcome? What lessons can be taken from the UN Secretary General’s Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security and from other relevant initiatives, such as Conclusions of the Council of the European Union on the role of the youth sector in preventing and combating violent radicalisation of young people, or the OSCE’s workshops on Youth and the Prevention of Violent Extremism.
The conference will also showcase emerging local initiatives to empower young people and support them in their role in peacemaking and peacebuilding. How can such initiatives be scaled up to optimise young people’s grassroots efforts, in the face of extremism and radicalisation? And what role can formal and informal education play in developing young people’s citizenship, their active participation in their own communities and in wider society? And how can a culture of peace be supported where young people are heard and represented in a new model of governance?