International Youth Day: Youth Building Peace

The World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) is a global nonprofit organization representing and coordinating a membership of over 100 national United Nations Associations.
Emilia Hannuksela from UNYA Finland addresses the audience during International Youth Day
Emilia Hannuksela from UNYA Finland addresses the audience during International Youth Day
Friday, August 11, 2017

NEW YORK, USA - The role young people play in contributing to peacebuilding has been recognized by the UN Security Council through its resolution 2250. Other frameworks have followed such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and “Sustaining Peace”. Unfortunately, the narrative portraying young people as protagonists of violent acts is still pervasive, when the general evidence is that young people are not only committed but also contributing to building peace around the world. For this, this year’s International Youth Day with the theme “Youth Building Peace” focused on highlighting these positive stories.

International Youth Day 2017 was celebrated at the United Nations with an event structured around two youth led panels. The first panel focused on Youth-led Peacebuilding and Violence Prevention and the second panel focused on Youth Sustaining Peace and Reconciliation. Emilia Hannuksela, Board Member at the UN Youth Association of Finland and Associate Expert at the Finnish Human Rights Centre, participated on the second panel and shared her experience on working in the integration of refugees in Finland. She further highlighted how youth led organizations have key in building bridges and filling the gaps in refugee integration and talked about the creation of a youth advisory group with a channel to the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the implementation of UNSCR 2250. See our Storify for further insights into the event.

The opportunity was also ripe to launch a social media campaign we did in partnership with UNA Colombia, UNYA Finland, UNA Malaysia and UNA Uganda. Young people answered two questions:

  1. Why should people be involved in building peace?
  2. What kind of peacebuilding work do you do at the community level?

The campaign also served as an opportunity to challenge the members of the WFUNA Youth Network and young people around the world to record a one minute video answering these questions and posting on social media using the hashtags #YouthDay, #Youth4Peace and #ActOn2250.

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