Fire in the Belly: Online

The 3rd Youth, Peace & Security Seminar “Fire in the Belly: Lessons from young women peacebuilders from Somalia, Libya and Northern Ireland on inspiring leaders for peaceful change” was held on 1 October 2021. The full recording of the event is now available online.

The panel included:

  • Monica McWilliams: Emeritus Professor of Women’s Studies at the Transitional Justice Institute at Ulster University, Board member of the John and Pat Hume Foundation and a former Chairperson of Interpeace.
  • Hajer Sharief: A Libyan peace and human rights activist. She co-leads the work of the Together We Build It (TWBI) organization in Libya.
  • Ilwad Elman: A young female leader at the forefront of the Somali peace process. She co-founded the Elman Peace Centre and is an Advocate for the Kofi Annan Foundation.
  • Emma Johnston: A youth worker in NI, working with Youth Action Northern Ireland. She is a representative on Northern Ireland Women’s European Platform, the UK Joint Committee for women and the Irish NAP For Women Peace and Security.

The panel discussion is introduced by Professor Brandon Hamber, the John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace.

The seminar series is a partnership between Ulster University (INCORE, the Centre for Youth Research and Dialogue & TJI), The John and Pat Hume Foundation, John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in PeaceInternational Fund for Ireland (IFI), and Interpeace.  

Seminar UN Envoy on Youth

The Chair facilitated a session on Thursday 20 May 2021, with the UN Secretary Generals’ Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake. In her talk the UN Envoy on Youth discussed UN priorities and issues concerning youth, peace and security.

This dialogue was part of the new seminar series entitled Youth, Peace and Security Leadership Series. The seminar series explores the positive contribution of youth to peace. Every 6-8 weeks, an online platform will be created for young leaders to share their experience from around the world.

The seminar series is a partnership between Ulster University (INCORE & TJI), The John and Pat Hume Foundation, John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace, International Fund for Ireland (IFI), the Centre for Youth Research and Dialogue and Interpeace.

To review all posts about the series, click Categories, Events and “Youth Leadership Series” on right side bar.

UN Youth Envoy & Young Leaders

On Thursday 20 May 2021, the UN Secretary Generals’ Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake, held a unique meeting with 20 young people from across 10 local and regional organisations in Northern Ireland and the border regions.

Jayathma Wickramanayake

This was part of the new seminar series entitled Youth, Peace and Security Leadership Series.

In preparation for a public dialogue with the UN Secretary Generals’ Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake, 10 youth organisations were consulted and detailed discussions took place. Here Elizabeth McArdle of Ulster University and Youth Pact who led the webinar with the Chair, captures the spirit of what was discussed and shares two padlets reflecting content put forward by the youth groups who took part. 

Young People as contributors to peace

Padlet. To view the details click this link.

Resolution 2250 recognises the contribution that young people make to peace and security locally and globally. Young leaders explained the work and roles they undertake to build grassroots communities and peace-building initiatives locally; from community gardens, to podcasts on mental health; from drumming workshops to recording My Story; from lobbying and campaigning to civic action and marches. 

To see the work and actions of this group of young leaders, click this link.

Young participants spoke about the building of tolerance within our society; with competing identities that need to find space to exist. Where tolerance is lacking, then violence spills over.  However, tolerance was viewed as a pitstop on the journey, with real acceptance and connection with other different people and cultures being part of a lasting peace.  

Issues of education were fore-fronted with the educational under-achievement of Protestant young people highlighted and access issues for young people with disabilities adding to issues of systemic inequality.  For these, young people called for greater engagement with the formal education structures and local politicians. 

Mental Health

This is a serious presenting issue, for the UN youth Envoy and for the young people locally.  Links were made between young people living in poverty and under pressures, and their experiences of mental health.  The pressures on young people and their access to mental health services has been exacerbated due to Covid-19.  Immediate investment is needed by governments to address these issues and give young people the support to recover from the educational and social isolation of the past year.  

Padlet. To see the details click here.

This is a snapshot of the discussion with the young people on 20th May 2021; with further discussions of the gendered nature of peace-building and conflict; the daily actions of bread-and-butter peace-building and the ‘silent pandemic of mental health’.  

To see more of the young people’s concerns, passions and actions, click here.

Youth, Peace & Security Leadership Series

This dialogue was part of the new seminar series entitled Youth, Peace and Security Leadership Series. The seminar series explores the positive contribution of youth to peace. Every 6-8 weeks, an online platform will be created for young leaders to share their experience from around the world.

The seminar series is a partnership between Ulster University (INCORE & TJI), The John and Pat Hume Foundation, John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace, International Fund for Ireland (IFI), the Centre for Youth Research and Dialogue and Interpeace.

To review all posts about the series, click Categories, Events and “Youth Leadership Series” on right side bar.

Youth, Peace and Security Series

The Chair is delighted to be help organise and launch the new Youth, Peace and Security Leadership Series. The seminar series will explore the positive contribution of youth to peace. Every 6-8 weeks, an online platform will be created for young leaders to share their experience from around the world.

The seminar series is a partnership between Ulster University (INCORE & TJI), The John and Pat Hume Foundation, John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace, International Fund for Ireland (IFI), and Interpeace.

Youth, Peace and Security Leadership Launch

The Youth, Peace and Security Leadership Series will be launched on 8 March 2021 with “The Missing Peace”, championing young people as positive contributors to peace, register here.

By way of background, 0n 9 December 2015, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted Resolution 2250. The resolution is an important landmark for recognising the positive role young people can play in conflict and post-conflict settings. The UN Secretary-General commissioned Graeme Simpson to carry out a global study on youth and peacebuilding mandated by UNSCR 2250. The study was presented to the Security Council in April 2018 and to the UN General Assembly in September 2018. A key message of this report, and subsequent work, is to recognise and support young people as positive contributors to peace, moving away from a deficit model that sees young people as a threat to security.

Launch Programme

To launch the series Graeme Simpson will share his experience from working not the report and subsequent processes. Speakers will include:

  • Graeme Simpson, Lead Author UN Independent Youth, Peace and Security Progress Study: “The Missing Peace”
  • Professor Mo Hume, Professor of Latin American Politics, University of Glasgow
  • Paddy Harte, Chairman, International Fund for Ireland
  • Chair: Professor Brandon Hamber, John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace at Ulster University

Register

RSVP essential to receive the live stream link which will be sent 48 hours before the seminar, so please register here.

Graeme Simpson is the Principal Representative (NY) & Senior Peacebuilding Adviser, Interpeace, a global peacebuilding organization working in 20 conflict and immediate post-conflict zones around the world. He was appointed by the UN Secretary-General as the Lead Author of the Independent Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security: The Missing Peace. He is also an Adjunct Lecturer in Law at Columbia University School of Law in New York City, where he teaches a seminar on transitional justice and peacebuilding. Graeme has an LLB and a master’s in History from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He was co-founder and Executive Director (1995-2005) of the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) in Johannesburg, SA.

Youth, Peace & Security Leadership Series

This dialogue was part of the new seminar series entitled Youth, Peace and Security Leadership Series. The seminar series explores the positive contribution of youth to peace. Every 6-8 weeks, an online platform will be created for young leaders to share their experience from around the world.

The seminar series is a partnership between Ulster University (INCORE & TJI), The John and Pat Hume Foundation, John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace, International Fund for Ireland (IFI), the Centre for Youth Research and Dialogue and Interpeace.

To review all posts about the series, click Categories, Events and “Youth Leadership Series” on right side bar.

Celebrating Rights, Right to Celebrate

On the evening of 9 December 2020, the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY) and her Youth Panel hosted a seminar to explore how the protections found within the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) can provide a framework for children and young people to confidently celebrate their identity and their culture in a non-conflictual way without threatening the identities and cultures of others.

Specifically, the event was a consultation and discussion aimed at assisting the Youth Panel to draw up a statement on how children’s rights can support children’s and young people’s expressions of identity and culture in a non-conflictual way. This is important in the context of the ‘Decade of Commemorations’ such as the Easter Rising and Battle of the Somme in 2016 and including the establishment of Northern Ireland as a state in 2021.

Professor Hamber was asked to address the group to help lay a foundation, along with other keynotes, for the group deliberations. In his input Professor Hamber reinforced the importance of young people’s participation in peace processes, and how research has routinely found young people feel excluded from mainstream peace processes. Professor Hamber made specific reference to United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2250 adopted in 9 December 2015. This resolution, deals with the role of young people in issues of peace and security. Most important this resolution points to the positive role young people can play in peace processes.

Building on the “The Missing Peace” report, which was commissioned by the Secretary-General and authored by Graeme Simpson, Professor Hamber made the point that we should look at young people as an asset in peace processes rather than treating them (and particularly young men) as a threat. When it comes to issues such as commemoration, the point is not to force certain understandings of history about the past on young people, but give them the freedom to express their views and ensure their voices are heard. We need to let young people interact with the past, that is “it’s not about educating or sharing parents’ views. We need to give space for young people to interrogate the past and interpret it through the lens of present”.