Six-day UNESCO training on sensitisation and advocacy workshop on global citizenship, peace building, sustainable development and entrepreneurship skills development is underway at the Independence Stadium friendship hostel.
The training is centred within the frame work of the UNESCO participation programme 2016-17 on “youth/students engagement to foster global citizenship, sustainable development initiatives and peace building in the Gambia.”
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the representative of the UNESCO director in Dakar office Hadjan Doucoure said UNESCO’s mission is: “to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among nations through education, science and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law.”
She said the preamble of the UNESCO constitution declares that: “Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.”
“Peace is not given, as if by magic! Peace is a gift of mankind to each other it is those who give peace that have peace is a two-way street. To receive peace, you have to give peace,” she said.
She added: “Nowadays, young people are highly engaged in transforming conflict, counting violence and building peace. For example, through universal access to information and communication technologies, young people are often drivers of political changers: Therefore, their role in building peace, preventing violent extremism and any form of radicalization cannot remain unrecognized.”
She said in December 2015, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2050, the first ever thematic resolution on youth, peace and security. This resolution recognizes youngsters as pivotal actors to achieve peace and sustainable development.
“I am very pleased to see so many dedicated young people in the audience because we cannot talk about sustainable development without the active involvement of youth,” she added.
She said to maintain a strong focus on human rights, strong and universal educational systems, and stimulating entrepreneurship and global citizenship is more important than ever.
“Indeed, we understand that without support, it has shunned many from participating fully in peace building activities. If young people are given the chance, and provided the necessary skills to take the lead in their own affairs, they can help build bridges to join the gaps our fathers and forefathers have left behind,” she stressed.
Adding: “Worldwide young people make up a quarter of the world’s population. Therefore, you are a driving force behind change. By inviting you to this event, we hope that after one week of intensive trainings and brainstorming you will return home empowered with new visions and skills, motivated to become factors of change on the level of your communities, friends and family.”
“We strongly encourage you to spread the message beyond and far after this event,” she added.