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“Say yes to peace – ‘give peace a chance’!”
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“Say yes to peace – ‘give peace a chance’!”

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Brian Dan MigoweThe International Day of Peace observed on 21 September is designated by the UN General Assembly as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace among nations and peoples. Brian Dan Migowe, 25, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Kenya, writes that today more than ever, Commonwealth youth are immersed in a campaign to achieve that goal through involvement in this year’s theme, “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace”.

The modern world is becoming smaller, highly integrated and technologically more advanced. It is also becoming highly fragmented, less peaceful and unsafe for both present and future generations. The world is today passing through an environment full of tension, violence, declining values, injustices, reduced tolerance and reduced respect for human rights. The gun culture has already taken a dominant position in most of the developing countries, threatening the future of the youths who deserve a peaceful and better quality of life.

The youths constitute the majority of demographic populations in most Commonwealth states and as such, help develop the desired cultural qualities of personal integrity, personal discipline and open mindedness. The youthful period is a period of passions, emotions, activities and vigour. Because of their frontline positions in any country, youths’ input to any development programme will go a long way in achieving desired objectives and a more inclusive, collaborative and adaptive process.

There is no doubt that there is a greater need to create a culture of peace and a conflict-free society for all. As a young person in today’s society, I acknowledge that world peace is possible in our lifetime. The challenges we face have always been the same; racism, inequality, discrimination, poverty and lack of equity. The only difference, perhaps, is that today more than ever before there are many who are standing up for their rights.

Knowing that we are all connected, my success is influenced by others and when they suffer it will affect me too. It will affect us. The world has gotten smaller in many ways, and continues to even get smaller in its depth of interrelations as the environment for engagement, cooperation and inclusivity widens. You can go to the internet and connect with different people from around the world in an instant press of a button, yet we have lost the control of these technological advances in our time, and sit watching hatred spread as it slips through our hands and into the world.

There are wonderful role models throughout our history – people who had the courage to stand up to tyranny and who faced incredible odds. Mahatma Gandhi lived not in our present time but in his vision. His visionary foundations of peace guide the world principles on peace today. As do children like Anne Frank, who believed in the goodness of people until her life was taken by a system that did not even see her as a person. Nkosi Johnson,a young boy from South Africa, who I must say would have been my age mate today, who knew his HIV status did not make him less than any child, and who believed  every child deserves equal opportunity. This is the breath of peace, equality and equity in opportunity.

Malala Yousafza the Taliban and demanded girls receive the same education as boys. This day is dedicated to those like her, who brave tough times to create a better peaceful future for all.

Even as we mark this day, let’s mark it with actions. However small, these will be compounded to bring the change we want. Both in the world and in every community, we need to have peace.

All human beings share the same needs, and there are many ways that we can make our community peaceful and spread this around the world. We don’t always need a big group to make a difference. The smallest groups can start making change that will spread to others.

Peace cannot be achieved through violence; it can only be attained through understanding. Herein lies the key to peace. Cooperation, tolerance, confidence and understanding are all factors that determine relations between two sides, whether on the global or individual level. These remain to be the focal points of the Commonwealth Youth Peace Network as we approach the 21st of September, 2016.

photo credit: “Peace Please” sign at the peace rally and march on Washington, DC via photopin (license)
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About me: I am a law student with a passion for writing and youth advocacy. I observe people, nature, the environment and daily life and am enthusiastic about sharing them on pen and paper.

I am an open-minded individual who acknowledges the diversity of the world’s population. Sometimes I am awed by how life plays out, but in writing I make the story as I want it. My hobbies are swimming and indoor games.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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