This week, Dr Akil Awan will be addressing the United Nations Global Forum on Youth, Peace and Security, and will be hosted by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan under the Patronage of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II.The high profile event is envisaged to be the first gathering of this kind in history, signifying an important turning point towards a new international agenda on youth, peace and security.
Dr Awan has been invited as one of the expert voices to speak on his research on young people, radicalization and political violence, and the work he has conducted with the United Nations on youth political engagement more broadly, to help shed light on the issues that will help frame the new agenda and roadmap during the forum.
Stemming from the thematic debate organized by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan during its presidency of the UN Security Council in April 2015, it will build on on-going efforts to decisively step-up global attention to young people’s contribution to peace and chart a common agenda.
Today’s generation of young people (10-24 year old), at 1.8 billion, is the largest the world has ever known. The growth in youth population is particularly prominent in developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and in the Arab States. While a predominantly young population offers a country an unprecedented opportunity for innovation, development and economic growth, today’s young people live with a growing threat and reality of violence and armed conflict.
Often, policy decisions relating to young people completely ignore their voices and instead seek to either see young people as ‘the problem’, or propose solutions on their behalf. In a bold and laudable move, the UN Global Forum has chosen to instead see young people as a crucial untapped resource for peace and security. The forum will invite over 500 delegates, representing young people, youth-led organizations, non-governmental organizations, governments and UN entities, to come together to agree on a common vision and roadmap, in order to partner with young people globally.
The outcome of the 2 day forum will be the signing of the “Amman Declaration on Youth, Peace and Security”, which will present young people’s vision and roadmap towards a strengthened policy framework in support of young people’s roles in preventing and transforming conflict, countering violent extremism and building lasting peace. Crucially, the Amman Declaration will be entirely developed by young people, and will be used in the months following the Forum to engage high-level decision-makers towards the adoption of a new international framework.
The Forum will also see the launch of a global multimedia and communication campaign (#youth4peace) aimed at highlighting the important efforts of young people who are shaping their communities constructively despite the violence and risks they face; creating a space for youth to share opinions on the role of youth in countering violent extremism and promoting peace; and curating an online global conversation on the role of youth in peacebuilding conflict transformation and countering violent extremism.