Youth, Peacebuilding and Nonviolent Communication
Today the young people constitute the bulk of over 1.5 billion people who live amid fragility and conflict. These numbers alone justify the inclusion and consideration of youths in policymaking and planning. But in practice, the meaningful participation of young people in peacebuilding has been hindered by discourses that overwhelmingly depict youths as victims or villains. While some studies highlight the link between the growing ‘youth bulge’ and political violence, due to social and political exclusion and lack of economic opportunities, the positive outcomes arising from youth involvement.
Lately, there is an emerging global consciousness to highlight the potentials of youths as active leaders and key partners in peace processes. This is indeed a crucial area, even more, the case in conflict zones where the combination of a ‘youth bulge’ and shrinking employment opportunities can result in young people being easily drawn into internal armed conflict, riots and acts of terrorism.
The ethos of non-violent communication, so well enshrined in Gandhi’s thought and practice provides several insights and trajectories to engage youth in peace building. The Workshop aims to highlight various pedagogies as well as experiential studies to transform the negative connotation of ‘youth bulge’ with’ youth surge for peace ’. Such an approach corresponds well with the recent UN emphasis on promoting youth participation as a vital component of ‘preventing diplomacy’. Intergenerational exchanges, possible linkages with local, regional and national governments and reaching back to local peace traditions are few remarkable highlights of Youth, Peace and Security proposal ( YPS) of the UN General assembly resolution number 2250 passed in December 2015. This year only, the UN is planning to publish a progress study report on the youth and peace building exercise and experience on the global scale mandated by the UNSC. This alone fact makes our seminar timely and topical i.
In this backdrop, the UNESCO Chair for Peace at MCPR plans to initiate a two-day International Seminar to discuss various non-violent pedagogies and practical trajectories to promote a culture of peace. It aims to explore varied narratives of youth building peace in their communities as well experiential learning from conflict zones from and foster peace skills and to create peace constituencies among them.
Communicational and collaborative spaces in terms of mutual exchange and inter-personal networks are absolutely important to create the culture of non -violence as the most incentivized social capital. Compassionate and active listening is one of the paramount pre-requisites for the reorientation of peace priorities. Arts, sports, films, literature, informal networks and learning centres are few possible entry points into this vital structure of entrenched forms of non-violent communication. Gandhian ideals of nonviolent communication based on the subjectivity of truth and de-hyphenation of dominant discourses serve as the natural springboard of the thematic centrality of the seminar.
The two-day conference seeks to disseminate newer ideas and narratives from the local and global level, practised and shared by youths in their conflict management techniques across the conflict societies in the past and present. We, at MCPR, aims to organically share our valuable insights of the conflict domains and peacebuilding practices and their subsequent demonstrative effects on peace actions in other communities. To the discussion and get the ball rolling, we tentatively proposed few possible thirst areas for serious deliberation-
A) How we can develop communication and collaborative channels among youths with knowledge sharing in non-violent ways.
B) How we can develop proactive modes of cognitive engagement with youth and pre-empt their possible estrangement with socio-economic exclusion resulting in harmful activities.
C) How we can inspire and motivate youths to work in an autonomous environment with a sense of Agency and multicultural literacy aiming to promote the comprehensive notions of peace.
Possible sub-themes of the seminar could be tentatively divided into-
Peacebuilding and Youths: Global and Local Experiences
Non-violent activism in theory and practice: Gandhi and Beyond.
Reconciliation, Intercultural exchange and Community cohesion: Youth as Peace Agent
Representation of Youth In words and images: Beyond the Binaries
Social media, inter-personal networks and Non-violent Communication
Youth bulging Vs Peace Surging: Possible Futures