NEW YORK (IDN) – The #Youth4Disarmament initiative has been recognized as Best Coalition Building Project of 2020 by a Billion Acts of Peace. The initiative was nominated alongside 11 other inspiring projects, chosen from more than 8 million Acts for Peace.
Billion Acts of Peace, an initiative of the PeaceJam Foundation, is a global movement led by 14 Nobel Peace Prize winners and youth around the world with the ambitious goal of creating 1 billion acts of peace by 2021. [2020-12-17]
#Youth4Disarmament is an outreach initiative established in 2019 by the United Nations to engage, educate and empower young people in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation.
“This is a great recognition that youth leadership and action are both inspiring and vital to ensuring our collective peace and security,” said Izumi Nakamitsu, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs. “Young people, the largest generation in history, have a critical role to play in raising awareness and developing new approaches to bring about change to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction and conventional arms, including their proliferation.”
The project connects geographically diverse young people with experts to learn about current international security challenges, the work of the United Nations and how to actively participate.
“It is humbling to be acknowledged alongside distinguished young leaders,” said Soo Hyun Kim, who leads the project at the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs. “Change only takes place when we think and act,” she added. “The voices of young people must be heard.”
The award ceremony coincided with a range of milestones that have both advanced the role of young people in international peace and security, and opened opportunities for youth to make meaningful contributions within the area of disarmament. They include the five-year anniversary of the adoption of United Nations Security Council resolution 2250 (2015) on youth, peace and security, and the anniversary of resolution 74/64 on youth, disarmament and non-proliferation, adopted by the General Assembly in 2019.
“For me, disarmament is not just about taking away weapons from someone,” says Bethlehem Beyoro from Ethiopia, who joined the #75Words4Disarmament Youth Challenge in 2019. The initiative invited young people to express what disarmament means to them and their communities in 75 words. “It is also about working on the mind of that person so that he or she believes that the usage of arms to establish their ideology, interest, religion or power is wrong,” Ms. Beyoro wrote in her winning submission.
The Office for Disarmament Affairs will continue to build fruitful coalitions with interested entities to impart knowledge and skills to young people and empower them to make their contribution to disarmament and sustaining peace, as national and world citizens. [IDN-InDepthNews – 17 December 2020]
Image credit: UN