Discussing solutions to violent extremism with Nigerian youthMay 17, 2017
Nigeria Youth 4 Peace Initiative (NY4PI), a network established by peace practitioners to coordinate the activities and contributions of young peacebuilders in Nigeria to building a more peaceful nation, held a one-day national summit on “Youth Participation in Countering Violent Extremism: Opportunities and Challenges”.
The event, hosted at the Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies (IPSS), Ibadan University, attracted a diverse group of scholars, practitioners, and students. It featured discussions and interventions by a panel of experts drawn from the IPSS, the Society for Peace Studies and Practices (SPSP), Search for Common Ground (SFCG) and the United Nations.
UN Peace and Development Advisor, Zebulon Takwa, delivered a key note speech in which he highlighted the role of education in preventing violent extremism. He stressed the importance of getting it right in Nigeria; from the policy level, down to equipping teachers in the classrooms with the right tools to build community resilience to violent extremism.
Educating our youth, he argued, is fundamental to ensure that we respond to ongoing extremism and prevent violent extremism from being passed on to the next generation.
“Failure to educate youth means we leave a generation behind whose full potential will remain untapped, meaning their ability to elevate their human development is lost,” Zebulon stressed.
With the passing of UN Security Council Resolution 2250 in 2015, the role of youth in peacebuilding and preventing violent extremism has been elevated. Youth can no longer be seen as passive bystanders to peacebuilding, but must be actively engaged in processes of building and shaping peace.
The NY4PI, with its objective to create a platform for youth to engage in peacebuilding, thus becomes a key stakeholder in transforming UNSC 2250 into a reality in Nigeria. As the United Nations works towards supporting a Nigerian infrastructure for peace, it will continue to work with such critical stakeholders for more inclusive peacebuilding processes in Nigeria.