Peace Corner Podcast: Activating Youth to Build Peace in the US (S4E2)
There are 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 15 and 29 in the world today. Youth are often overlooked and pushed aside, yet, are one of the most active agents for peace and security. Young people are often key figures in political or social movements. However, this leadership rarely translates into being able to actively represent themselves at the decision making level. Five years after the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security, how are young people continuing to push beyond policy and what are the challenges and opportunities ahead of us? What kind of opportunities and challenges has COVID-19 created for young peacebuilders around the world?
For the 2nd episode of the Peace Corner Podcast, Zander at +Peace sat down with Jordan Stevenson at STAND: the Student-Led movement to end mass atrocities & Mena Ayazi at Search for Common Ground. On today’s episode, we dive deeper into Jordan & Mena’s work on US Youth, Peace, and Security (YPS) legislation and working in the peacebuilding field.
“The Youth, Peace, and Security Act of 2020 is an exciting and bold piece of legislation that will take a UN Security Council Res. 2250 and turns it into practical policy for the US government. What it does is, number one, it recognizes the important and critical role that young people play in peace and security processes. Number two, it amends US foreign assistance to directly support youth led programs and youth led initiatives that the United States supports. Oftentimes, youth organizations and youth led initiatives are at the bottom end of the food chain of a distribution and this is really trying to shift those systemic barriers. Number three, it helps include young people and some top level decision making within US foreign policy through the establishment of a Youth Advisory Council. And, number four, which I think is the most important thing that this bill does, is it sends a message to the world that young people matter, young people are important. It is long overdue that the government start prioritizing young people in peace and security processes.”
Mena Ayazi, Search for Common Ground