By UNESCO MGIEP
UNESCO MGIEP launches #YouthWagingPeace: Youth-led guide on Prevention of Violent Extremism through Education (PVE-E) at the 39th UNESCO General Conference 2017

3 November 2017 | Paris, France

The UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) launched the #YouthWagingPeace: A Youth-led guide on Prevention of Violent Extremism through Education (PVE-E) during an intersectoral event on Prevention of Violent Extremism (PVE) held under the auspices of the 39th UNESCO General Conference on the 3rd November, 2017. The event further saw back-to-back launches of numerous other UNESCO publications and brochures on PVE-E.

The #YouthWagingPeace: A Youth-led guide on PVE-E has been developed by young individuals who work within the area of Violent Extremism (VE), have been affected by VE and are former-extremists. The guide is a representation of the need to engage young individuals who are facing the on-ground, day-to-day struggles relating to VE and the various factors that lead towards extremism.

The launch of the guide was a part of a panel discussion that commenced with four experts in the areas of PVE-E. The panel discussion included Ms. Carolyn Nash (Executive Director of Myanmar Leads and Coordinating Lead Author of the Guide of the #YouthWagingPeace guide) around what works and what does not in preventing extremism from the perspective of education, the internet, youth and culture.

An insightful comment shared by Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General, UNESCO during the launch helped set the tone for this discussion – “Violent Extremism cannot be outwitted by Hard power. We need soft power”; and that, prevention should begin “from classroom benches”.

E. Pekka Puustinen, Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of Finland to UNESCO and co-chair of the Group of Friends of PVE continued the panel discussion by reiterating the Director-General’s call for more focus on the soft power of UNESCO to tackle violent extremism. Ms. Carolyn Nash expressed that “teaching and instructing young people in tolerance and critical thinking doesn’t work, but creating an environment for the organic growth of these important skills works.” Ms. Nash also emphasised the importance of patience, “we are talking about a cultural shift/change here, and this will take a lot of time, and we should, therefore, find a good tradeoff between our short and long-term interventions.’’ Ms. Nash concluded by insinuating the importance of action, ‘’we must act now, start wherever you are and with what you have, doing the little that you can do.”

Mr. Leonardo Párraga, Executive Director, Fundación BogotArt and 10th UNESCO Youth Forum participant called upon the delegates to implement the recommendations of UNSCR 2250 on youth but also those presented by his colleagues from the 10th UNESCO Youth Forum.

Concluding remarks were shared by Dr. Anantha Kumar Duraiappah, Director, UNESCO MGIEP and Mr. Sarvana Kumar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. Mr. Sarvana further related the Indian experience as far as the importance of empowering youth is concerned and reiterated the Government of India’s commitment to continue supporting the work of UNESCO Category I institute, the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development. Dr Anantha Duraiappah re-iterated the need to build the capacities for emotional intelligence to empower the intellectual intelligence.

Following the post-launch panel discussion, UNESCO MGIEP and the Coordinating Lead authors #YouthWagingPeace Guide held bilateral discussions with Member States to brainstorm on how to implement the guide at the grassroots-level around the world. The team met with Mr Patrick Donaldson from the Permanent Delegation of Australia to UNESCO to express its gratitude to the Australian Government for the support offered by them in the development of #YouthWagingPeace and to discuss plans, including the immediate ones of publishing the Guide online as well as launching the French version of the Guide in collaboration with the Centre for Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence in Montreal, Canada. The launch and circulation of the French version of #YouthWagingPeace were also discussed with Madame Julie Miville-Dechênes, representative of Quebec Government of UNESCO.

Future activities such as regional and country-specific capacity building workshops for teachers, policymakers, school administrators and young people were also discussed with the delegates.

In a nutshell, the #YouthWagingPeace Guide affirmed that young people are not noisemakers, instead cerebral individuals who can work together to produce a remarkable document of high quality. It is a testimony to what young people could do if given a chance, the resources and the necessary guidance.

Related articles and links:

What works and what doesn’t in the prevention of violent extremism: discussion on UNESCO’s actions and launch of UNESCO’s latest publications

Launch of #YouthWagingPeace at the UNESCO General Conference

For details, contact:

Mr Simon KUANY, Project Officer – s.kuany@unesco.org

Mr Sajid SHEIKH, Project Officer – s.sheikh@unesco.org

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