Photo Journal: Youth in peace building

By Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

The Peace building and Development Institute in Sri Lanka in partnership with Peace building and Development Institute – International Peace and Conflict Resolution Division of American University has arranged a week long training on “Youth & Conflict: Integrating Youth in Peace building Training” at Palm Village Hotel in Uswetakiyawa.

The training program was held from April 23rd to 27th 2007. It was the first annual International and Regional Peace building and Development training Program in Sri Lanka. Participants from all over Sri Lanka from all communities participated in the training program.

The views cast by the participants are compiled and reflected here:

Jude Sutharshan from Jaffna:

“Youth are the most vulnerable group in present war situation in Sri Lanka. Youth are being abducted, killed and disappeared on daily basis in Jaffna. Many youth are vacating their native land due to fear, and safety. The victims of the war can realize the brutality of the bloody war better than anybody. If the youth who suffer are given an opportunity in peace building, it will be more effective than any other initiative.”

Janaki Dias from Colombo:

“Youth have novel ideas and have the energy to implement their ideas. They are our future. I think youth should be entrusted with more responsibilities in peace building.”

A.C.M. Mahir from Kathankudy:

“The youth have the capabilities to create new thinking and make social changes, which lead to new ways for peace. They should influence the leaders, who have power in building peace. The leaders should be able to lead the society towards peace. The youth can create a relationship across dividing lines, and raise their voice for peace and against war.”

Jeyathevan Kaarththigeyan from Trincomalee:

“Sri Lanka will have more elders than youngsters in twenty years. We all are well aware of this issue, and the reason for it is cruel war . Therefore the youth who think about the country and the future of the development of the country should join hands in peace building, which will lead the rest of the society to think about sustainable peace.”

Christie Y.Jeyanandan from Batticaloa:

“Youth are the future leaders. They have to be identified and let take part in peace building. They can be manipulated easily and misused. The youth should be handled carefully and selected to share the space for peace. If we plant the seeds for peace in their minds, we can put the county on the path to peace. They are the key to peace of a country.”

Ponnuthurai Sivakumar from Kilinochchi:

“Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders. The youth should be motivated towards peace, not towards war. The grassroots level should be brought to the mainstream, and be given a chance in national level. The youth are committed, therefore make use of the force for the betterment of the country. We have to make them feel the country is theirs, and they have a duty to commit.”

A.G.Naushad Ahmed from Pottuvil:

“We have to understand the differences and work together on commonalities. The youth have this capacity to work. They are very enthusiastic. We have to create an environment for them to understand and coexist for all communities to live in peace and harmony. The youth can change things, they can either make or break. The leaders should give an opportunity to the youth to take part peace building, and listen to them.”

Stanislous Nimalraj from Jaffna:

“Youth are adventurous, and energetic. They can think with new ideas and relate easily with others in the community. Youth can break the barriers easily, unlike the adults. The chance should be given to them in building peace.”

Muhammed Sanoon from Valaichchenai:

“Youth are the backbone of a country and they are the leaders of tomorrow. They think differently and are creative, enthusiastic and more reliable to carry out certain tasks. They are the most vulnerable group, which could be easily manipulated in a conflict situation. They potentially play an important role in peace building”

Source: humanityashore

Contact: Dushi.Pillai@gmail.com

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