‘One Youth, One Nation phase 2’ is a Youth Peace Campaign organized by the International Youth Alliance for Peace (IYAP)for the 2nd consecutive year .The Sri Lankan youth is still negligent of the International Peace Day. Not only are they unaware of the exact date, they are also ignorant of its significance. This became the reason behind the initiation of the campaign ‘One Youth, One Nation’.
The campaign was centered around acknowledging and celebrating the peace day as well as creating a stage for open communication, sharing stories and networking amongst the youth. Established in 1981 Unanimously under the United Nations Resolution 36/37, the ‘International Day of Peace’ (Peace Day) is observed worldwide every 21st of September. According to the declaration of the UN general Assembly this day is devoted to “commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples.” (UN). The theme for 2017 is “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.”
The One Youth, One Nation Campaign phase 2 in Sri Lanka was initiated in order to share the goals and to educate the youth on how to strengthen the ideals of peace within and in the community. IYAP conducted a nationwide massive cluster of workshops on the same day. These amounted to a total of over 60 workshops across 18 districts of Sri Lanka.
“The Sri Lankan Youth are the backbone for inspiration of the community”, says IYAP. Which is why IYAP took measures to create awareness among the young, of the importance of Peace and the relationship between youth and peace. This also included of how they can contribute to build peace in the community. To drive these facts home and as encouragement to share their own stories of peace, testimonies from a diverse group of speakers were shared in these workshops.
Beginning these valuable two hour sessions with an energizing game on peace, in addition to the above the objectives covered and the topics discussed included the following areas as well. Promoting intellectual dialog and mutual understanding. Enhancing their imagination and thinking power to come up with innovative peace building processes. Promoting peaceful co-existence. Providing development opportunities to empower the younger generation to create positive change. Teaching the young ones how to develop the community by building peace, protecting human rights, empowering youth, etc.
Rolling out this massive campaign and bringing together the youth of the country to become One Youth, One Nation was no mere feat. This is why IYAP reached out and built a collective of partners, some of which are voluntary organizations working with youth. The organizations who partnered with IYAP in this enormous effort of bringing One Youth, One Nation to life are Jaffna Social Action Centre (Jaffna)Family Well-being Centre(Anuradhapura),Tamil National Youth Club, All University Students’ Development Association, Presidents’ Scout Guild (Vavuniya),Rotaract Clubs of Vavuniya, Chullipuram, Chunnakam,ACBT and EDULINK,Enable Lanka Foundation,Uravugal Sangam(badulla), Warriors Youth Club (Puttalam), Chankanai Youth Federation, Sarvodaya,Saraswathy Community Center(Jaffna) and Mannar Institute of Development, Pokkisham(trincomalee), and international parts Active Citizens-British Council Sri Lanka, World Merit Colombo , and CYPAN Sri Lanka. And International Schools such as Ever Green International School(Gelioya) & Alethea International School(Colombo)
At the end of productive two hours, not only did the participants manage to define peace according to their own beliefs, but also opened up a dialog on the depth of the concept of peace. This proved that the IYAP and the collective of organizations were headed in the right direction. This self-education process led the youth to identify the concept of peace to be ‘Positive Change’. The open discussion also included conversations on how can they help build peace and if they are ‘Agents of Positive Change’.
In their own words, given below are a few testimonials on the workshops from the participants, officials and partners.
“Our, ‘One Youth One Nation’ campaign represents young people from diverse socio-economic contexts across the country. While making an effort to understand their values, ideas and beliefs. this campaign helped us unite the younger generation across various communities in order to advocate peace through various measures. We at IYAP, strongly believe that such an effort would undoubtedly empower the young and create an understanding of the society they live in.” – Thirukumar Premakumar – Founder President of the International Youth Alliance for Peace.
It was a courageous attempt to instill the message of peace and unity within the future of Sri Lanka- Facilitator, Darshatha Gamage.
“The initiative by IYAP through their program of peace building is a small step in getting all of the youth involved for something far more larger than what meets the eye.”Rtr Afraa Mohamed, RAC ACBT
With such a positive outcome for the 21st September efforts, all IYAP has left is to move forward, because this is just the beginning of One Youth, One Nation. In order to bring about ‘Positive Change’, groom ‘Agents of Positive Change’ and become One Youth, One Nation, IYAP along with their collective of partners has a long way to go.
Until then IYAP leaves us with the message:
Peace is to have inner peace as well as peace among the people and the Youth is the foundation of a Nation. Let’s come together to become One Youth, One Nation for the prosperity of Lanka Matha.