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Youth, Peace, and Security

Children and youth are the cornerstone of building sustainable, peaceful, and tolerant societies. With more than 370 million children living in conflict zones, they must be prioritized in peace and reconciliation processes. The IAYG family’s leadership in youth, peace, and security – extended in education, activation, and mobilization, in communities that range from the world’s safest to the most war-torn – are a long-term investment into better societies for all people, young and old.

Strengthening Peace in the Minds of Children and Youth

Today, there are more than 3.5 billion children & youth, the vast majority of whom live in the Developing World. More than 370 million children live in active conflict zones, and hundreds of millions more see societal divides and ethnic conflict every single day. Advancing peace, tolerance, and respect for communities will require working with young people as partners in peacebuilding and catalysts of peace. Whether we invest in the role of young people in peace and security and empower a generation of children & youth as champions of tolerance will spell the difference between strong societies enjoying lasting peace and a continuation of the conflicts that devastate thousands of communities today.

All young people need to be engaged as stakeholders in the advancement of peace and tolerance. Education, empowerment, and engagement during these formative years can mold lifelong champions of peace, active civic participants, and engaged citizens committed to diversity, tolerance, and national unity needed to sustain peace and societal well-being. As current and future citizens, decision-makers, and community leaders in their societies, the education and values instilled in young people now will be the fundamental determinant of future peace and prosperity in the societies this historic generation of youth is destined to lead. 

Efforts to promote peace and tolerance in the minds of young people are particularly pressing with regard to youth in active conflict zones and humanitarian crises, as well as the more than 11 million refugee children worldwide (comprising more than half of the refugee population). These young people are already critical players in alleviating conflict. Prioritizing the interests and voices of young people in peace processes, empowering young people as leaders in peacebuilding and activation, preventing radicalization, and rehabilitating youth misled into war and conflict back into their communities are all critical steps needed to protect the rights of young people in crises, prevent the exacerbation of conflict, heal fragile societies, and realize the role of youth as catalysts of peace in societies torn by war.

In the twenty-first century, a world without serious conflict is within reach – but only if the people who will lead that world are at the centre of this process and empowered to make it a reality. Building a generation of peaceful, tolerant young people continues to be one of the IAYG family and its partners’ highest priorities.

Our Commitment in Brief

The IAYG family’s extensive leadership in youth, peace, and security reaches across societies rich and poor, from the world’s safest to the most wartorn, from early childhood to early adulthood. In addition to research and knowledge gathering on youth, peace, and security, the organizations of the IAYG family educate, empower, and mobilize young people as champions of peace – extending the IAYG family’s mandate as the champion of empowered communities of children & youth and our institutional leadership mobilizing their impact worldwide.

The IAYG family’s commitments focus on three guiding goals:

  • Education for peace: The IAYG family, through organizations like GGCDP and public-sector partnerships, advances education that creates globally connected, engaged young people committed to peace. Our extensive commitment to education for peace includes helping direct national education policy, providing technical support to governments, and direct administration of educational programs.
  • Activating young people in peacebuilding: As an institution that mobilizes entire communities of young people as champions of better communities, we engage unprecedented populations of young people as catalysts of peace. IAYG family institutions like Clubs for Peace mobilize entire communities of young people – often in communities scarred by war and conflict – to advance peacebuilding and conflict recovery.
  • Defending the rights of youth in peace processes: In humanitarian crises and societies impacted by conflict and war, we support the rights and priorities of young people as critical stakeholders in peacebuilding processes.

In 2019 and 2020, the IAYG family and its partners will continue expanding its work in youth, peace, and security, especially prioritizing the poorest. These commitments include:

  • Expanding technical support to governments in the developing world in engaging youth in work for peace and security;
  • Supporting the extended engagement of young people in international institutions related to the advancement of peace and security, including the IAYG family and its partners;
  • Expanding programming in local and vernacular languages, especially in the Great Lakes and Sahel regions

Learn more about the IAYG family’s work in youth, peace, and security:

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