THE ROLE OF YOUTH LEADERSHIP IN PROMOTING PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT By
MUHAMMAD ASAD TAHIR JAPPA
Founder/CEO, Anwar Jannat Memorial Foundation, Pakistan
BEING A PAPER PRESENTED AT THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON YOUTH AND INTERFAITH COMMUNICATION, ORGANIZED BY NEW ERA EDUCATIONAL AND CHARITABLE SUPPORT FOUNDATION, NATIONAL LIBRARY, JOS, NIGERIA, FROM 24-25 OCTOBER, 2009
Once Martin Luther King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly”. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan says that, “In this new era, people’s actions constantly-if often unwittingly-affect the lives of others living far away. Globalization offers great opportunities, but at present its benefits are very unevenly distributed while its costs are born by all.” He emphasizes six shared values, which are of particular relevance to the new century: freedom, equity and solidarity, tolerance, non-violence, respect for nature and shared responsibility. The modern world is becoming smaller, highly integrated and technologically more advanced. It is also becoming highly fragmented, less peaceful and unsafe for both present and future generations.
Spectacular advances in science and technology over the last five decades have revolutionized the entire world. Investments in research and development have resulted in innovations and inventions in both product and factor markets. The benefits of these advancements however, have yet to reach the poor living in many countries across the world. Poverty is on the increase and we are sitting on millions of human landmines. The world today is passing through an environment full of tensions, violence, declining values, injustice, reduced tolerance and respect for human rights. The gun culture has already taken a dominant position in most of the developing countries, threatening the future of the youth who deserve a peaceful and better quality of life. There is a greater need to create a culture of Youth Leadership in society through an active participation of youth in civic activities. Adult leaders, parliamentarians and policymakers at community, municipality, state, national and international levels should agree that they are responsible for ensuring that the 21st century is characterized as a century of Youth Leadership.
The world today is indeed in search of a new culture and a common system of values and new behavioral patterns for individuals, groups and nations, because, without them, the major problems of international and internal peace cannot be solved. The replacement of the existing culture of violence by a culture of peace can only be achieved in a longer perspective. In a period of transition and accelerated change marked by the expression of intolerance, manifestation of racial and ethnic hatred, violence towards those regarded as “others” and the growing disparities between the rich and the poor. Action strategies must aim at ensuring fundamental freedom, peace, human rights, and democracy and at promoting sustainable and equitable economic and social development all of which have an essential part to play in building a culture of peace.
What do we expect from the youth with the creation of the culture of peace? The youth with their new ideas, new energy and neutral background, can contribute to peace development. They are ready to participate in community work. Youth should be treated as partners-partnership by youth in all social activities, of governance, community activities-should start in an active manner with the entry of the child into the golden age phase of 15 to 25 years. Youth should realize that they should not wait for the inheritance of the world; they must realize they have already inherited the world while entering into the golden age. Development of youth as...
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