Written by James Okere

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In 1998 a United Nations (UN) resolution proclaiming August 12th as International Youth Day was adopted during the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth. In 1999, UN General Assembly further endorsed the recommendation. On 12th August 2000, the first International Youth Day was celebrated. This celebration has continued every 12th August till date. The declaration of International Youth Day and subsequent celebrations were to create an avenue for World Youth mobilization and sensitization by countries and her institutions to become better persons in the society including in wealth creation. These sensitization spanning in areas including education, socio-economic, employment issues etc are supported by governments, civil society groups, organizations, individuals, communities at local level, national and at international levels.

The maxim, the youth as future leaders can only be achieved in an atmosphere where the youth have been inculcated with the right values of life; for which International Youths Day advocates for.

Each year’s International Youth Day goes with a particular theme. For this year 2017 the theme is “Youth Building Peace”. The theme of the year’s celebration is to recognize the importance of youth efforts in ensuring peace is achieved in the world which would aid in achieving sustainable development of The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. The Theme is practical and forward thinking geared towards sustainable human development for a better society.

The world is interested in the lives of these young ones. Countries are interested that they raise admired and unique youth. The youth are the future leaders of any community or country. Thus their values and orientations are important in world discuss.

It is in view of the above that it therefore becomes paramount to have a mobilized and empowered youth. Empowered youth are positive minded persons. They are youth that have developed vision. They are youth that have discovered their purpose of life and can persevere in a particular line of action. They are youth that are enlightened. They are youth who have aligned themselves with mentors that have aided their lives development.


Recall that United Nations declared 21st of September every year as World Peace Day. On 16th June 2015, the UNESCO Director-General, Ms Irina Bokova, launched UNESCO’s new integrated Framework of Action – “Empowering Youth to Build Peace”; a programme with the goal to support the positive civic engagement of young people and youth initiatives online, to support cohesive societies, to advance peace on the basis of respect, human rights and dialogue. UNESCO DG further opined on this online thinking when she stated thus, “Today, we must build the defenses of peace in the minds of young women and men, and this must start also online, by mobilizing the full power of the internet for peace”.

Therefore, WORLD PEACE CAN BE PURSUED BY AN EMPOWERED YOUTH: this is the challenge of the world in this year -2017 International Youth Day.

The world is interested in this peace issue that the European Centre for Peace and Development(ECPD) University of Peace (based in Europe) was established by the United Nations; a unique International Educational and research institution actively involved in human security, reconciliation and tolerance as preconditions for stable peace and sustainable development.  

To promote peace, the ECPD Youth Forum was established in 2013 with the aim to raise awareness of the Young People of the importance of post-conflict reconciliation and tolerance for building peace and Sustainable Development.


    1. Education/Knowledge Development: A sure way of making the youth become Peace Builders is to encourage them to read books and other relevant publications. Education will build their competences and skills and by equipping them with creative tools and knowledge. We can also encourage the youth to read via donating books as gifts to them. Reading develops the mind to appreciate the roles peace platform performs for individuals and societal accomplishments in life.
  1. Seminar/Conference Participation: To further build the world youth for peace, there is then need to expose them to attend conferences and seminars which build their mind for life pursuits and greatness. Inspiring conferences have also become great way to influence the youths positively. The thoughts shared at such gathering shape the youth mind sets towards accomplishments. With such values; they pursue peaceful co-existence.
  1. Building Entrepreneurial Spirit: To enable the world youth become agent of peace, there is the need to get them occupied with gainful activities that would generate economic activities amongst themselves. Some of these activities include in these areas: tailoring, carpentry/wood works, hair dressing, printing of recharge card, film making, bag production, internet development (website and blog designs), shoe making etc. These economic activities would generate talent and skills development amongst the youth, thereby making them champion values of peaceful co-existence in our communities.
  2. Provide these young women and men with skills and opportunities to engage positively in their societies. This would equip the youth with knowledge, skills and values that empower them to live peaceful, constructive and productive lives becoming responsible global citizens, at the same time being resilient to any form of abuse or manipulation, including radicalization and violent extremism.
    1. Youth to be mobilized to reinvent their future, thus thinking deep of what they would be in future including raising awareness and fostering unique power of youth in peace building and their potential as peace builders.
    2. Youth need to be supported as builders of peace and democracy, and their potential and power have to be developed in order to sustain a process of change.
    3. The need to equip young people with new knowledge, information and skills required for peace building as well as for conflict prevention, and to improve individual ability to resolve conflict and interact peacefully with others. Hence, through negotiation, and facilitation; fostering dialogue for building peace would be championed.
    4. Youth as agents of positive social change thus empowering youth to be creative and responsible global citizens and at the same time harnessing the internet’s full potential for peace, as to widen opportunities for dialogue and civic employment, nurturing youth concerns and visions.

Let me commend the United Nations for this 2017 International Youth Day theme “Youth Building Peace” which is indeed apt in view of the human and societal conflicts that is prevalent. The world at peace via the youth contributions is indeed sort for. We need peace between one and another. We need peace between one community and another. We also need peace amongst nations.

Let us celebrate with the world youth as they strive to become agent of world peace. Let us join in the vanguard of advocating for peace at whatever level we find ourselves. Let this year’s theme give all a re-think to embrace peaceful resolution of all disputes.

At the global level for the world to think of ending extreme poverty by 2030, there is need for total pursuit of global peace in the world. To this end, all continents and regions of the world including our local communities must mobilize her youth to pursue peace in the entire world.

If peace is pursued strongly, then resources would be available to develop infrastructures of countries thereby creating employment. Countries of the world should not give room to tolerate any issue that would threaten world peace and development. In deed citizens have right to peace.

Congratulations our youth for being agent of peace advocate at whatever level we found ourselves.

My eBook Developing Your Self is available via,  http://www.lulu.com/shop/james-ngozi-okere/developing-yourself/ebook/product-23176780.html, and  http://www.lulu.com/shop/james-ngozi-okere/developing-yourself/paperback/product-23176814.html

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