The youth of today should be seen as agents for peace-building, this is according to Auckland City Councilor Alfred Filipaina, during his speech to participants at the opening of the four day, Wansolwara Youth Peace-building Conference‟ beginning today at the Hotel Grand Chancellor, Auckland Airport, New Zealand.
“As young people you need to be the change, the change has to start with you. I wish you luck on this journey to building peace in your respective countries. When looking at conflict prevention in the Pacific, it is important to take into account cultural values and modern knowledge to resolve conflicts,” says Filipaina.
Filipaina advised the 20 youth delegates from Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia that the road to leadership is paved by service and it is about educating young people and empowering them so that they promote best practices in peace-building.
Roki Carl, the only participant from the Northern Pacific says; “the conference has been effective because it is crucial to explore best practices in youth advocacy and we are made to think about how young people can work together to effect positive change in their communities and beyond.”
Ana Kolokihakaufisi a youth delegate from Tonga voiced the importance of exploring the reasons as to why conflict happens and how to involve the youth to be agents for peace-building.
Aman Kushal Singh from Fiji shared similar sentiments and articulated that; “so far it has been exciting, we have got to know each other really well. A safe environment has been created by delegates and this is needed at this peace building conference to foster mutual understanding and initiate good dialogue to take place.”
This is the first Pacific Regional Youth Peace-Building Conference of its kind. The aim is to build on this activity and enable several in-country peace building initiatives for youth in different Pacific Island Countries (PICs). .
A youth statement will also be issued at the end of the conference which will call on Pacific leaders to give more prominence on youth participation as peace-builders with the hope that it will be acknowledged in the Pacific Islands Leaders meeting in September as well as the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth, Australia in October.
The workshop is being facilitated by the Pacific Nkabom Steering Committee which is a group of young people who represented the Pacific region at the Nkabom Commonwealth Youth Leadership Programme in 2010 in Rwanda, Africa.
The conference is supported and funded by the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP Pacific), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
For further information on the Wansolwara Youth Peace-building conference please contact Pacific Nkabom Youth Steering Committee members Katrina Mau [+64220294559] or Alafale Andrew Fonoti Lesa [+64210421589] or email: [email protected] or [email protected]
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