“The educated society is more peaceful society”, John Garamendi, United States Representative (D-CA) at US Congress repeated this phrase several times. Attending two great events (Devex Forum and Global Peace Summit) in the month of June (2016) made me rethink, how a human being as an individual can influence peace process through education and involvement of youth in peace-building processes. In December, 2015, UN Resolution 2250 adopted unanimously by the Security Council determines the age for the youth (as persons between 18 through 29). This document has a significant meaning for 600 million young women and men live in the fragile states, including the regions impacted by the conflict without any access to the education of high quality, opportunities to participate in forming of civil society and paid employment. The UN was formed after the Second World War as my host organization, Youth For Understanding, and both of them share a common goal and values: to prevent the world from war and apply measures to promote peace and security.
During 65 years, Youth For Understanding being an actor in the system of international relations has been reinstating the values: international solidarity, promoting quality, transparency, sustainability, shows that cross-cultural exchange has life-learning impact. In its International Basic Standards, YFU “serving for a better world” defines how to solve all the issues through a dynamic, mutually respectful process is the norm of consensus. However, it causes difficulties when children have been born and brought up in the atmosphere of fear and crisis that influences their future. Dr. Rima Salah (formerly the Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, Assistant Clinical Professor at the Yale Child Study Center) with her counterparts in the book “Pathways to Peace: The Transformative Power of Children and Families” (MIT Press, 2014) outlines that a culture of peace starts within the community where children live and rise. In her interview to Marylin Wilkes (the MacMillan Center, Yale University), Dr. Salah also points out that positive parenting can create a lovely environment for children which later on brings a positive impact in their future and could be transmitted through generations. While identifying the YFU activity with the above-mentioned theory, it is necessary to mention that international exchange along with a placing of international students with host family in the United States and abroad, cultural immersion develop tolerance, understanding other values, attitudes, skills, and sensitivities. Further, this experience will help students to become more respectful, tactful and skilled in intercultural relations. Thus, youth becomes a voice, voice of peace. Young ambassadors who endorse themselves to build a “better world” will be able to take a part implementing one of the Millennium Development Goals in future: Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies.
My goal as an Atlas Corps Fellow serving at YFU and PhD student from Tomsk State University is to help students and youth become more inclusive through education and cross-cultural exchange to promote peace, justice and humanity.
International Basic Standards For Educational Exchanges of Youth For Understanding (YFU). Washington. 2011. 47p.
Leckman, J. F., Panter-Brick, C., Salah, R. (2014). “Pathways to Peace: The Transformative Power of Children and Families”. MIT Press, 2014. 480p.
UN (2015). Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. URL: http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/70/1&Lang=E
UN (2015). UN Security Council Adopts Historic Resolution on Youth, Peace and Security. URL: http://www.un.org/youthenvoy/2015/12/un-security-council-adopts-historic-resolution-on-youth-peace-and-security/
UN (2015). Security Council, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2250 (2015), Urges Member States to Increase Representation of Youth in Decision-Making at All Levels. URL: http://www.un.org/press/en/2015/sc12149.doc.htm