MESSENGERS OF PEACE
The lessons learnt from our dialogue among peace messengers in Abuja last week continue even as we commemorate the first anniversary since the adoption of the UNSCR # 2250, which provides a solid platform for the engagement, involvement and participation of young people in peace and security matters.
When asked about activities in place for the commemoration of the first anniversary of the adoption of the UNRCR # 2250 during an interview on “Coffee Break,” an UNMIL Radio program, last Tuesday, December 6, 2016, I reiterated as I’ve done in several fora that while it is of utmost significance to have UNSCR # 2250 as a platform for young people, it is equally important to get its ratification by governments and international community, including the private sector.
Young people should be given equal participation in the work for peace and security and it is incumbent on government and others to provide the resources for this level of engagement with adolescents for peace. The voices of young people for global peace need to be heard.
It is never enough to cry over spilled milk as more often than not, young people take an adversary instead of an advocacy stance. We need to be assertive not aggressive; and the time to do so is now. It is time for us to reflect on what we have been able to accomplish since December 9, 2015. UNSCR 2250 was officially launched in Liberia by Messengers of Peace-Liberia Inc (MOP) together with the Ministry of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism, Search for Common Ground, the Swedish Embassy, United Network of Young
Peacebuilders, The Carter Center-Liberia and other partners on May 18, 2016.
From lessons learnt in the past year and most recently in Abuja, youths in peacebuilding initiatives come with different but relevant skills; and these skills are complementary. Some of these skills are global in nature and they focus more on the big picture, are results-oriented and they come with high levels of emotional intelligence quotient.
We also learnt, as we reflect on the traction from UNSCR # 2250, that continuity is of critical importance to peace advocacy. It is not often a wise decision to change a winning horse as commitment to a cause and integrity are essential ingredients for peace and security.
My professors and trainers during the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA) training on dialogue and mediation would further enlighten us on this as not knowing if it is the right lesson or not, that in perceived conflict situation, one side does not take the blame, and responsibility for conflicts should be shared. Reading the Daily Observer’s editorial of September 9, 2016, on ‘Competence or Integrity’ confuses me a lot because at Messengers of Peace-Liberia Inc (MOP), we tend to lean towards integrity; which, in our opinion, cannot be compromised.
As young people growing up in a post conflict environment and working in peace and security, we need to manage our expectations more, and at the same time manage the expectation of those before us. We also need to take responsibility for our actions and inactions, as I learnt the hard way. It is not enough to blame others but to take blame for others. Adolescents in peace and security work should give of themselves.
If you’re reading this article and would wish to contribute to inter-cultural dialogue among peace messengers, please send your article (s) to www.liberianobserver.com referring to this column and we would be glad to publish it unedited.
And until next week when we come to you with another article on the opportunity for peace, it is peace above all else, peace first, may peace prevail in our time.