Youth explore peace through creative expression
To commemorate International Youth Day on 12 August, UNICEF and Taiping Peace Initiative gave 50 young people the opportunity to participate in the process of peace-building for the future.TAIPING, 9 August 2009 – Faced with the challenge of becoming the peace-builders of the future, 50 youth aged between 15 and 18 from Taiping, Perak, used stories, songs, art and drama to share their perspectives of peace during a Youth Leadership Training jointly organised by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Taiping Peace Initiative (TPI) over the weekend.
The workshop saw participation by secondary school students from selected schools, NGOs and service clubs in Taiping, and was themed “Youth and Peace” to reflect the leadership of young people in building sustainable peace for the future.
“UNICEF and the Taiping Peace Initiative believe in the rights of young people to express their views on matters that affect them, as spelled out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” said UNICEF Representative to Malaysia and Special Representative to Brunei, Mr Youssouf Oomar.
"Young people can energise action today and fulfil the promise of tomorrow. This leadership workshop will help develop their potential to become global citizens, by engaging them to think about their role in promoting peace today and for the future,” Mr Youssouf added.
“We believe that peace education for children should start from a young age. We fully support UNICEF’s goal to train young Malaysians to be future national leaders and peace ambassadors,” said Mr Beh Yang Toh, co-founder and coordinator of the Taiping Peace Initiative.
The city of Taiping – also known as the Town of Everlasting Peace – provided the perfect backdrop for the participants to explore different perspectives and meanings of peace, and collectively discover some solutions to the problems confronting their generation today.
Guided by youth facilitator, child therapist and former actor Chris Ng, the young people shared their views on conflicts in their daily lives through images and sketches that revealed issues like personal frustrations, miscommunication with parents and teachers, as well as school and domestic violence.
The sessions culminated with the youth developing their images of peace in murals and making a personal and group pledge on their role in “keeping the peace” for the present and future.
This workshop is a strategy by UNICEF and TPI, in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to empower young people and children with leadership skills and civic participation opportunities, so that they are able to realise their rights and build the foundation for strong communities and societies.
The workshop also featured a special session on peace by Dato’ Anwar Fazal, advisor to Taiping Peace Initiative.
NOTE TO EDITORS:
ABOUT the Taiping Peace Initiative
ABOUT International Youth Day
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Indra Kumari Nadchatram, UNICEF Malaysia
Shiao Eek, Tee, UNICEF Malaysia
International Youth Day 2009
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