Tag: YESPeace Network

‘A Voyage of Discovery’ YESPeace Network International Strategy Workshop 2016

UNESCO MGIEP hosts the first YESPeace Network International Strategy Workshop in collaboration with – Pravah and ComMutiny Collective, New Delhi, 2016.

UNESCO MGIEP along with – Pravah and ComMutiny Youth Collective – two leading youth-based NGOs in India co-designed and co-facilitated the first YESPeace (Youth for Education, Sustainability and Peace) Network International Strategy Workshop on Tuesday, 16 February 2016, New Delhi.

The workshop sought to bring to the forefront and discuss the challenges, opportunities and innovations encountered by youth and how EPSG can be used as a tool to enable young people to build more peaceful and sustainable societies.

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The previous day, Monday (15 February), at Talking Across Generations (TAG) 2016 – which also saw the launch of YESPeace India Country Programme – the major points discussed were the relevance and importance of Education in building peaceful and sustainable societies – especially through youth-led initiatives.

image 3“If TAG2016 emphasized the need of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development, then the YESPeace Network International Strategy Workshop stood to pave the way towards realizing it.”Abel Caine, (Head) Youth and Communications, UNESCO MGIEP

YESPeace Network

The YESPeace Network is a global platform that seeks to mobilize, educate, engage, challenge, enable and empower youth around the world – towards building a peaceful and sustainable future through Education for Peace, Sustainable development and Global citizenship (EPSG).

YESPeace Network International Strategy Workshop (Participants)
Organisation, Country
1. Palestinian League for Human Rights, Syria/Sweden
2. Seeds of Peace, Afghanistan/USA
3. 3blassociates, Bahrain
4. University of Malaya, Malaysia
5. Leaders of Tomorrow, Jordan
6. World Bank, Afghanistan
7. Youth Peer Education Network (Y-PEER), Kyrgyzstan
8. GenPeace & Pax, Philippines
9. Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Youth Development, India
10. Seeds of Peace, India
11. Symbiosis University, India
12. Manzil, India
13. Restless Development, India
14. Prantkatha, India

The workshop aimed at providing a space for youth experts over the world to collaboratively discuss the issues, challenges, opportunities with/for young people in the area of EPSG.

Key objectives – YESPeace International Strategy Workshop:

• To develop a shared understanding of the context, opportunities and challenges involving youth and education for peace, sustainability and global citizenship in the countries represented in the room and the world in general.
• To seek value addition and strategic contribution to the suggested plans for YESPeace (Youth for Education, Sustainability and Peace) India – SMILE programme, with special focus on the curriculum and methodology
• To develop a shared vision and preliminary design for YESPeace Network national country programmes

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“We need to provide a space beyond family, friends, leisure, and career, where the youth mobilize themselves to discuss/learn Education for Peace, Sustainable development and Global citizenship (EPSG)- bridging the gap between the self and the society, and building a systemic learning environment by moving on to educate other youth about EPSG.” – Neha Buch, CEO, Pravah

During the course of the workshop, the participants were taken through a rigorous journey of introspection and analysis of the current condition of youth-led initiatives on Education for Peace and Sustainable development in their respective countries, and the world in general.

One major aspect of the workshop was to introduce the delegates to the YESPeace India SMILE programme – and seek/gain valuable insights and feedback, which would help strengthen the pilot programme of YESPeace India, by making it more robust and effective.

Key insights from the Workshop:

– Studying existing policy paradigms in the country.
– Stock taking of current EPSG organizations in the country.
– Emphasis on conflict resolution and deep self-awareness.
– Starting a new movement if none exists.
– Designing of an open source curriculum that can be shared and localized to each context.
– Blended learning approach with global evaluation.
– Making the curriculum inclusive for youth belonging to diverse backgrounds esp. those with different abilities and from disadvantaged groups.
– Inter-generational regional dialogue promotion.
– Emphasis on cross-border learning and programmes that have the potential to foster cross-border youth participation.
– Funding possibilities for expansion of YESPeace Network: endowment, bilateral, donors and CSR.
– Devising a mechanism to make the YESPeace Networks self-sustainable.
Next steps:
In the coming months UNESCO MGIEP will be rolling out the YESPeace India SMILE programme along with Youth-led Monitoring of SDG 4.7 – which is a set of framework that particularly monitors SDG 4.7. Also carried parallely throughout, would be the mapping and establishing of partnerships for YESPeace networks in other countries.


Abel Caine (Senior Project Officer) – a.caine@unesco.org

Piyali Sarkar Debnath (Programme Officer) – p.sarkar@unesco.org

Deepika Joon (Programme Officer) – d.joon@unesco.org

Sajid Sheikh (Programme Coordinator) – s.sheikh@unesco.org

For more about the YESPeace Network: Download brochure

UNESCO MGIEP launches its Campus Ambassadors Programme at CEE in Ahmedabad – read more

UNESCO MGIEP launches YESPeace India

15th February, New Delhi – UNESCO MGIEP took the next big stride after Malaysia, and towards youth empowerment, with the launch of YESPeace—the Youth for Education, Sustainability and Peace—India Country Programme. This marks the beginning of a journey to transform the – 356 million strong – youth of India into Global citizens, through the unique lens of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development.

The launch event was co-hosted by UNESCO MGIEP in collaboration with Pravah & CYC (Commutiny Youth Collective), partners of YESPeace India.

The highly-charged conversations, at TAG 2016, amongst youth leaders from across the world, on – Can education radicalize youth for peace? – provided a perfect setting for the YESPeace India launch. But what really stole the limelight that day was the part where the youth themselves took to the stage to launch the YESPeace India country programme.

‘Education is what gives individuals the knowledge, aspiration and values to live in dignity and act for common good. This is why it the most basic foundation for building lasting peace and sustainable development’
– Irina Bokova

Abel Caine, Head of Youth & Communications Team, UNESCO MGIEP, India
Abel Caine, Head of Youth & Communications Team, UNESCO MGIEP, India

YESPeace Network  is a network of networks, which offers online and on-the-ground global engagement opportunities for young people. The network’s interactive and creative potential supports youth action by providing an online space for young people and youth organizations to learn about, support, and co-create campaigns and projects, as well as build the bridges that link local, regional and global youth actions. The on-the-ground programmes at national levels provides the space to raise awareness, and influence issues, which are locally and globally relevant and empowers young people on Education for Peace, Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship.

It has been selected as one of the flagship programmes for the youth priority area of UNESCO’s Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development with a special focus on Sustainable Development Goal 4.7. The programme aims to provide young people with access to policymakers and to the arenas where policies are enacted.

Neha Buch, CEO, Pravah, India
Neha Buch, CEO, Pravah, India

During the launch session, Neha Buch, CEO Pravah, our India partners along with CYC, provided a brief glimpse of the YESPeace India SMILE programme (Students’ Mobilisation Initiative for Learning through Exposure). The programme takes the youth through an enriching and rigorous journey of self-discovery, in which the youth is introduced to a transformative learning experience, especially through the lenses of Peace and Sustainability – helping them emerge as Global Citizens equipped with a strong sense to build a more peaceful and sustainable society.

The programme aims to build a systemic learning environment on Education for Peace and Sustainable Development where the learner eventually becomes empowered and further goes on to transform society by reaching out to a larger base of youth.

Talking Across Generations 2016—Can education radicalize youth for peace?

By Sigrid Lupieri, Public Information Officer, UNESCO MGIEP

15 February, New Delhi—From heated debates on the value of education, to the first live concert by Pakistani and Indian bands Junoon and Indian Ocean, UNESCO MGIEP’s Talking Across Generations 2016 edition drew more than 500 participants. For those who missed it, this year’s theme focused on the role of education in preventing and combating violent extremism around the world.
Held at the India Habitat Centre in central Delhi, the event opened with a panel discussion on the theme “Can education radicalize youth for peace?” Addressing a packed auditorium, Dr. Anantha Kumar Duraiappah, director of UNESCO MGIEP, said this year’s topic arose from witnessing increasing violence against civilians based on such criteria as religion, caste and gender. “The use of the word ‘radicalize’ is intentional,” Duraiappah said. “We feel that education systems today aren’t able to address this.”
Yuri Afanasiev, UN Resident Coordinator and the UN’s top official in India, stressed the risks that countries face when societies do not grant their young people opportunities and a future. One of these risks is that frustration can boil over into violence. A young population, however, also presents an opportunity. “When we are young we have the clarity to see things which become fuzzy when we get older and we realize that there are about 50 shades of black,” he said.
According to Afanasiev, a well-structured education system is not ideologically driven, but allows young people to ask questions and gives them the tools and abilities to find answers for themselves. Education systems should also ensure that young people are able to navigate and critically assess the large amounts of information available to them anytime, anywhere. “There is so much misinformation out there,” he said. “Sometimes in life we need to empty our minds and start again.”
Dr. Karan Singh, chairman of the UNESCO MGIEP governing board and member of India’s Upper House of Parliament, said that education needs to provide values and a framework through which to assess the world. “From information we need to construct knowledge, from knowledge we need to construct wisdom,” he said.
The panel discussion, moderated by NHK senior commentator Aiko Doden, focused on the personal experiences and backgrounds of the panellists—ranging from Afghanistan to South Sudan. Awista Ayub, an Afghani-American who heads the South Asia Programme of Seeds of Peace, said that young people must learn to hold on to their cultural identities while also accepting perspectives different from their own. Palestinian-Syrian activist Salim Salamah said he felt that the Syrian education system had let its young people down by not preparing new generations for change and for promoting a culture of authoritarianism.

Graphic recording of the TAG 2016 discussion session
Graphic recording of the TAG 2016 discussion session

For Simon Kuany Kiir Kuany, a former refugee from South Sudan and current student at Symbiosis International University, the role of education is to give meaning to students, while teaching them to walk in other people’s shoes. “Education needs to teach people to be better human beings,” he said, as the audience, mainly comprised of university students, cheered. According to the last panellist, Dr. Liz Jackson, an assistant professor at Hong Kong University, education is about countering prejudice and apathy—also forms of extremism.
At the end of the discussion, UNESCO MGIEP’s Youth Team unfurled its YESPeace Network flag and officially launched its second national chapter in India in partnership with Pravah and Commutiny the Youth Collective (CYC). A network of networks for youth leaders and young people ready to take on the challenge of changing the world, the YESPeace Network now has national chapters and local youth volunteers in Malaysia and India.
In the late afternoon, participants congregated once again for the TAG’s signature, town-hall style debate among young people, policy-makers and UN officials. This time, however, the debate culminated in a youth statement, which will be presented in upcoming international youth forums and circulated to all UNESCO Member States. During the debate, moderated by Zee Media’s Mandy Clark and Neha Buch of Pravah/CYC India, young people spoke about the risks of education being used as a tool for indoctrination, the challenges of promoting education when parents can’t afford to feed their children, and how to better involve young people in decision-making processes.
At the end of the day, Junoon and Indian Ocean gave a rousing performance, playing their respective hits “Sayonee” and “Kandisa”. Combining their signature blend of rock music, Sufi mysticism and sweeping folk melodies, the two bands, playing together for the first time, embodied the spirit of cross-cultural understanding in a time of fraught Indo-Pakistani relations. In the crammed auditorium, after a day of debates on education and peace, fans stood up and danced, and demanded an encore.

9th UNESCO Youth Forum: Widening horizons and global citizenship

It may have been a week since the 9th UNESCO Youth Forum wrapped up in Paris, but our youth ambassadors have only just begun their journeys to becoming agents of change.


The experience of meeting peers from across the globe, attending capacity-building sessions, decoding the SDGs or simply being in the company of youth leaders has left an indelible mark on their minds.

As they look back on being part of the 9th UNESCO Youth Forum, they recap their highlights and tell UNESCO MGIEP how they are ever more determined to lead the way towards sustainable development.


“The most interesting part was meeting people from across the world. I’ve never been in a room with people from such diverse backgrounds! I found the conversations with the other young participants truly enriching, especially as they forced me consider the issues from a wide range of perspectives. I hope we will stay in touch! I also learned a lot in the sessions during which we exchanged ideas about sustainable development and education. The group was able to come up with solutions that I find stimulating and thought-provoking.”
—-Laura Manach (France)

“This experience has given me the knowledge of global citizenship and SDGs; I want to create a big project in which I’ll can collaborate with the educational authorities in my country to create different programs that can be applied to all the students. The capacity-building session was really informative, especially the different apps that were shared with us. I am keen to use a similar kind of crowdsourcing to replicate this knowledge in my community and my association.”

—Jacqueline Rivera Ortega (Mexico)

“The forum was a unique platform which brought together over 500 young active citizens to share innovative ideas and take action towards the realisation of a peaceful and sustainable world. The most exciting moment was the capacity building session organised by UNESCO MGIEP and ESD. My participation helped me acquire a better understanding of the YesPeace Network as a network of youth advocating for education, peace and sustainable development. A few days before the forum, my participation seemed impossible; it’s really amazing how dreams come true when you don’t give up!”

—Victoria Ibiwoye (Nigeria)



“As a global citizen, I had the opportunity of sharing and learning from the brilliant, young and innovative minds of the many energetic youths that attended. A candle that was already lit inside me is left burning and now I for sure know that I have to do something in my own small way and together with the global youth network that I have now to make this world a better, peaceful and more sustainable place so that I will be proud to hand it over to the coming generation someday. UNESCO MGIEP brought us together and within few days we have grown and are still growing into a family, a family brought together by a common purpose of seeing a much more better world.”

— Simon Kuany Kiir Kuany (South Sudan)

“The diversity of cultures was a real revelation and learning about each participant’s country, be it Ivory Coast, Fiji, Syria, Japan, Ecuador…was an eye opener. A total of 500 youngsters from 150 countries under one roof strengthened my belief that we are more powerful as one. It reinforced my belief that by simply sharing stories (as we did during the capacity building session) and exchanging points of view, we can make a concrete impact on society. Above all, this forum made me realise that we all have an active role to play in this inter-connected world.”
—Nina Vallin (France)


“The biggest takeaway was feeling the passion which the youth has. In Japan, few students are passionate about doing something for sustainable society. However, at the forum I met quite a few students who are concerned about the world and our future. I not only respect them but am also encouraged be a global citizen. This forum was a treasure house of ideas. For sustainable future, we have to put our knowledge which we got through this forum to practical use in our community. ”

— Yaame.I (Japan)


“The opportunity to meet people from across the globe undoubtedly helped me learn a lot about different cultures. More importantly, the exchange of ideas enabled me to discover other ways of looking at problems. I feel like my opinions have evolved and I am a bit more informed of today’s issues. MGIEP’s team made the three days even more enriching for us. Also, being in UNESCO and having an overview of how it works has been a really unique experience.

—Julien Morin (France)


Photos copyright UNESCO/Pilar Chiang-Joo