(December 10). An international coalition gathers around young people to support the commitment of the new generations to build a peaceful future, based on human rights; a renewed oath to open the next two years of Rondine’s students global “Leaders for Peace” campaign. This is what emerged from today’s online event “EDUCATION IN TRANSFORMING PEACE AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN A FRAGILE WORLD: TOGETHER TOWARDS 2022 AND 2023” promoted by Rondine Cittadella della Pace, Rondine International Peace Lab (the network of trained Rondine alumni), in collaboration with the Permanent Representations of Italy and Costa Rica to the United Nations.
The event has taken place on the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and exactly three years after the launch of the Appeal that Rondine’s students addressed to the 193 Member States of the United Nations in New York City in 2018, asking Governments to commit to provide training for young peace leaders from all over the world.
“The speeches we hear today are the voices of many young people, girls and boys who are the living testimony of the importance of this confrontation. They are the leaders of tomorrow and have an important role as agents of a new narrative of peace and dialogue”. Said H.E. Ambassador Maurizio Massari, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations in New York. “In this sense, Rondine is a source of inspiration and an example for how it puts young people at the center. Peace and peaceful coexistence are built on dialogue and mutual understanding, values that these students respect having lived through dramatic experiences“.
The initiative was an opportunity to discuss the twelve proposals that emerge from “Our Common Agenda” – the report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, published in September 2021 as recalled by H.E. Ambassador Rodrigo A. Carazo, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the United Nations in New York: “It is time to open up to young people, as Secretary Guterres did with three new initiatives he announced. It is time for a new era for education, with young people as protagonists. Current challenges to democracy push us to develop a new culture of trust, especially between people and governments. It is a great honor for me to participate in this event – continues the Ambassador – the strong message we transmit today is not only for human rights, but also for the many challenges that young people are facing to realize human rights, and therefore we must act“.
The establishment of a Youth Office and a Special Envoy for Future Generations within the United Nations, an “Education Transformation Summit” in 2022 and a “Future Summit” in 2023. The Secretary’s three proposals General of the United Nations give a clear direction by putting young people back at the center as Marija Vasileva-Blazev, Special Advisor to the Envoy of the United Nations Secretary General for Youth points out: “One thing I have learned working with the Youth Envoy is that wisdom does not come with age, which is why initiatives such as the Leaders for Peace campaign are needed to support young leaders to work for peace on the front line, promote social change, and full respect for human rights. This is why – concludes Marija Vasileva-Blazev – the program that our office coordinates together with UNESCO and the OHCHR will be aimed at human rights education for, from and with you, young people”.
In 2021, Rondine obtained special consultative status at the United Nations Economic and Social Council and joined the C20 (civil society forum of the G20 countries) to encourage governments to rely on multilateralism to resolve conflicts. This approach would add a fourth “P” to the three existing People, Planet and Prosperity, that is the “P” of Peace, but also the “P” of Projects, such as those implemented by Rondine alumni in their communities of origin, at the end of their studies and training, as told by Nnaemeka Phil Eke-Okocha, alumnus of Rondine and founder of the ADESSO project in Nigeria; “I am proud to have spent the last two years in Rondine and to have returned home to carry out my project to improve the access of public schools to quality education. Who is the most affected by the conflicts? The answer is young people – continues Phil – that’s why we will launch our Peace Club where we will involve young Nigerians on the issue of the consequences of conflicts, climate change, human rights and SDGs”
Together with him Amina Surkovic, participant in the Mediterranean Frontier of Pezace project and educator. Amina presented her project at the Research Department of the War Childhood Museum in Bosnia and Herzegovina. “My project will support students in recognizing diversity as an empowering factor and in developing the ability to accept plurality of opinion. I chose this museum – continues Amina – because it is one of the few places in a still divided country where young people from different backgrounds meet and where an open dialogue can be established, allowing the construction of shared narratives. This sense of power of young people in shaping better and more peaceful societies is exactly what Rondine asks of us when we return to our countries”.
“Young people are blocked and it is no longer bearable 73 years after the declaration of human rights – says Franco Vaccari, President of Rondine Cittadella della Pace – for more than 20 years we have been working with young people in Rondine and here we see that in the word young people there are already all the differences: fragility, disability, belonging to minorities and majorities, gender, the fact of living in current or recent armed conflicts. Differences produce conflict, so conflict is inevitable. So we have to take new glasses to see the conflict as a positive opportunity for growth and change”. Vaccari concludes. “But the conflict and its dynamics must be known. Then a new culture of relationship can be born that contains all the differences. This is why we hope that the next two years of campaigning with you can be a collective and international effort to build trust“.
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