Gwendolyn S. Myers

MESSENGERS OF PEACE

Dialogue Among Peace Messengers – Harnessing the latent energy of youth in peaceful elections-Part 2
By: 
Gwendolyn S. Myers/Founder &Executive Director, Messengers of Peace-Liberia Inc (MOP)

The dialogue on harnessing the latent energy of young people towards a peaceful electoral process continues.

Harnessing the latent energy of young people for the peaceful conduct on the next Presidential elections in Liberia is not merely a strategy, but the strategy for the peaceful conduct of the elections. Never again should young people be drawn into violent extremism and elections violence. The time has come for our politicians to harness the latent energy in young people for peace and for young people to unleash their potentials for peace.

Latent energy among young people is huge and cannot only be harnessed but could be transformed for sustainable peace, security and development. The youth who has been made obtuse by violence will say he is not conscious of violence. Youths are gifted, creative, and innovative and have time on their side.

Harnessing the latent energy of young people is a preventive measure as well as a precursor for sustainable peace. However, most governments, according to the United Nations, spend more resources responding to crises than preventing it. A case in point was the Ebola Epidemic in 2013/14 and the quest for Government to invest in human security.

According to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, “Too many prevention opportunities have been lost because Member States mistrusted each other’s motives, and because of concerns over national sovereignty. Such concerns are understandable, in a world where power is unequal and principles have sometimes been applied selectively.” He went on to state, “Prevention is not merely a priority, but the priority. If we live up to our responsibilities, we will save lives, reduce suffering and give hope to millions.”

Over the past years, we have observed that when a young person fails in their personal experience, it is always because he/she has never received anything or benefited from adequate human security. The only sign that young people opt for peace is because he/she has been sensitized in peace education and provided with the good things of life. We need to teach young people about self-awareness mediation, and compassion so as to harness their latent energy.

When we are unaware of the impact of our negative or disruptive actions as young people, it affects our decision making process. Mediation teaches us to distinguish between useless rumination and constructive anguish.

The challenges before us are grave and young people are at the receiving end. In order to harness the latent energy of young people for peace and security issues, we need to address issues of inequality, marginalization, exclusion, corruption, weak institutional support and poor governance. We also need to invest more in the social security of our youth and it is on this basis that we commend the Youth Opportunities Projects supported by the World Bank because of its very strong potential to contribute to peace, security, stability, economic growth and the wellbeing of the country.

As part of our contribution to harnessing the latent energy of youths to peace, a sum of L$10,000 would be given monthly to each published article on peace and security issues. Interested youths ages 8-25 can submit their articles to The Liberian Daily Observer in Paynesville or Messengers of Peace-Liberia Inc (MOP) office, 2nd floor of Presbyterian Building on Broad Street, adjacent Lonestar Cell. Contact us via email: messengersofpeaceliberia@gmail.com or +231770125282, +231777661143, +2317770358383.

Until next week when we come to you with Part 3 of “Harnessing the latent energy of youth for peaceful elections,” it is peace above all else, peace first, may peace prevail in our time!

Liberian Observer

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