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News Story: UNESCO Holds Peace Workshop for Youth

UNESCO in collaboration with the Youth Bridge Foundation, YEN Foundation, and SpeakAfrica Foundation held a ‘Youth For Peace’ Workshop on October 18, 2011 at the British Council in Accra. The workshop was held to help Ghanaian youth develop the vision, skills, and behaviours to promote peace especially as the country prepares for its next elections in December 2012.

The workshop featured three open forums on Politics for Peace, Peace Demands Tolerance and the Dynamics of Employment and Peace. Some renowned politicians and social figures were present to express concern on maintaining the peace in Ghana.

According to Ms. Shamima Muslim, a young Ghanaian female broadcaster, “it is important for us to respect and tolerate the views of other people” for peaceful living because “we all have different sides to the same story”. Honourable Dan Botwe, a politician and Member of Parliament stressed on the need for the youth to be involved in politics. He was quick to add however that they must do this responsibly and with good intentions, that is, “for the good of the country”. Honorable Botwe also mentioned the media’s position as the fourth estate and how they play a vital role in ensuring peace, reminding young people of the conflict the media started in Rwanda.

Another broad area of discussion was youth unemployment and how it contributed to chaos and conflict. Participant students from tertiary institutions raised issues of how the programmes they read in school do not meet the demands of the job market. The problem has led to the formation of the Graduate Unemployed Association, made up of University graduates who though have good certificates, are unemployed. A representative from the Ghana Multimedia Incubator Centre, a business incubation centre that seeks to develop the skills and businesses of young people who want to set up ICT business, urged young people to develop their own businesses based on what the society needs and find centres like theirs to help grow their businesses. He said this to prevent young people from totally depending on Government to give them jobs.

At the end of the workshop, all the youth present pledged to be Peace ambassadors everywhere they found themselves. They also entreated Governmental and Non-Governmental organizations to integrate the youth within social and political processes in order to forestall efforts to mobilize them to perpetuate conflict.

As Ghana prepares for its next elections in December 2012, there is a need for proactive measures to promote peace and cultural tolerance, especially with the Youth, who are increasingly being empowered by emerging technologies.

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