“You cannot give what you do not have” – Efforts towards building Peace should include how people can generate internal and individual comfort and peace, then their contribution as a group.
The world over has been engaged in activities to mark the annual youth day, held on the 12th.August of each year. The theme of this year is “Youth Building Peace”. Young people are the majority today; this means that they are a powerful force and ingredient for collective action. This year’s theme demonstrates the incredible role that young people in their numbers, can play in causing peace. In so doing, the theme introduces a new player to efforts of advancing regional and continental peace – the Youth. Additionally, Security Council, Resolution 2282 (2016) recognizes that the scale and challenges of sustaining peace requires partnerships between stakeholders, including youth organizations. It also reaffirms the important role youth can play in deterring and resolving conflicts, and are key constituents in ensuring the success of both peacekeeping and peace building efforts.
Young people have proven a force to reckon when mobilized, skilled and inspired to take positive action. Youth programs like AIESEC, YALI, GHC and others tap into the imagination and potential of young people to cause change in communities around the world. Youth have also successfully mobilized themselves to challenge pervasive political systems – in the Arab spring, cause cohesion in the aftermath of ethnic divide, in Kenya, advocate for rights – Malala. There is no doubt that the present youth population bulge has brought with it a youth dividend for peace and economic prosperity.
Related to the narrative about young people’s contribution towards peace, is the assumption that every young person is at peace?.
For young people to make these expected and meaningful contributions towards peace, they should somehow be experiencing the emotional state of being at peace. Young people identify with the opportunities, challenges and risks of being a youth, first at an individual level, then as a group. “You cannot give what you do not have”. When young people are not at peace with themselves, they are more prone to distracting peace than creating it, hence efforts towards building Peace should include how people can generate internal and individual comfort and peace. Here below are personal insights on individual peace;
Survival and Securing Early Gains; Youth are the present and not the future. You are young once and being a youth today, calls for attention to what the next few years of not being a youth will look like. What you choose today as a youth, might as well influence which way your life will go in the aftermath of youthhood. Every young person needs to have a view of themselves as agents of individual change and start exploring their limits and potential early enough before anyone identifies them. There are three components to being in charge of your destiny;
– Emotional Intelligence; Manage your thoughts, control your reactions and structure your actions in a positive way.
– Belief in your own right to play in the big league; You are your own limit. There is no passion in playing small.
– Living Healthier lives; Emotionally, Physically and Spiritually. Desist from substance use, over drinking and sexual networks.
Success and Creating Wealth; Living in peace, requires that one has overcome fear of want. The greatest breakthrough that anyone can make against the fear of want is to create wealth. By wealth, I mean beyond income and cash. How do you create wealth?
– Vision; Craft a mental picture of what your quest for wealth. If unplanned, every opportunity looks aligned, including gabbling, pet thievery etc.
– Decision making; Forego immediate needs and focus on long term goals. Forego a new smartphone for a book to invest in your mind.
– Networks; Connect with people that will exalt you and depart from relationships that will exhaust your motivation and positive energy.
– Property; Cars depreciate while real estate appreciates. Land continues to be rewarding and acquiring this along with other forms of property guarantees long term security against want.
– Cash; Find an honest way to earn money. Money is not wealth but is very key.
Young people living in peace with themselves is key to their contribution to peace elsewhere. It starts with individual peace. Young people, whose lives are not balanced in a way that guarantees internal peace, often will struggle in situating themselves in the march for mainstream peace. Internal insecurities and mediocrity erode one’s esteem and cut back on their potential to function as agents of peace. As we build a compelling case for youth as agents of peace, we should equally be investing in youth to overcome internal insecurities and other barriers to self actualization.