Peace and friendship do not have nation, colour and religion
Peacebuilding Youth Forum for adolescents from bordering districts of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan
In June 2019, the Youth Forum brought together young people from Isfara and B. Gafurov districts of Tajikistan and Batken and Leilek districts of Kyrgyzstan to showcase the vital role that young people play in strengthening the social cohesion and intercommunal conviviality with their peacebuilding competencies.
"I thought all Tajik boys were aggressive. I was standing nervously at the border with the flag to wait for the Tajik team to come. But when I saw their smiles, I relaxed".
This forum is part of an initiative on cross-border cooperation for peace and development that is implemented in border districts of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan with the financial support of UN Peacebuilding Fund. Activities under this initiative has built peacebuilding competencies and skills for innovation among 753 Tajik and Kyrgyz adolescents, supported adolescents in developing 12 innovative solutions for promoting intercommunal tolerance, engaged adolescents in 2 cross-border cultural exchange events, including media camp under the slogan “Messages for peace” that produced 15 adolescent-authored media products on peace and tolerance.
“Platforms, such as this Forum brings together adolescent’s girls and boys who become friends, learn about each other, come up with new ideas that in result contributes towards better social co-existence and inter-communal relations. This is how adolescent become agents of social cohesion in their communities and bring positive change” - said Khushbakht Hojiev, Head of adolescent Programme of UNICEF Tajikistan.
Adolescent girls and boys from both countries took a center stage during the Forum, leading sessions, moderating panel discussions, showcasing best examples of cross-border collaboration and also conveying message of peace and friendship with their peers and public from across the border. By the end of the Forum, adolescents and young people from the two countries concluded that they, if given a chance, can play a bigger role in building social cohesion and improving cross-border cooperation through their active engagement and meaningful participation in the lives of their society.