The positive effects of a Secretariat-organised summit aimed at Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) is being felt across the Commonwealth.
More than 100 young people from Commonwealth member countries attended an online training event, organised by the CVE Unit, and came away equipped with skills and knowledge to build peace in their communities.
The webinar, entitled The Power of Youth to Build Peace in the Commonwealth, engaged Commonwealth youth in wide-reaching discussions about Preventing/CVE, peacebuilding, Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting theme 5 (rule of law and youth leadership in decision-making) and gave young people a platform to share ideas and ask questions of experts in the field.
Amy Longland, Programme Officer at Commonwealth Secretariat CVE Unit, said: “This summit is particularly important as it equips young people and leaders with the skills to participate in decision-making, and how to get involved and be seen as valuable partners in solving the global issues which affect them.
"The feedback we've received has been very encouraging and we hope participants will be able to take what they learned and apply it to the real world, to make a lasting impact. And, in fact, we already see this happening."
At the end of the summit, participants were asked to complete a self-evaluation form; they found the summit useful and relevant to their work.
One participant said: “I was surprised by the plethora of approaches that I was unfamiliar with - for example empowering tribal leaders in a peace process, owing to their diverse backgrounds.
"This diversity of approaches will motivate me to look for voices from different places for my own research and action.”
Another wrote: “Through this workshop I have now realised that it is important for youth to play a role in nation building.
"The workshop permitted us to enhance the peacebuilding knowledge of women. Furthermore, we built trust between youth and the government because youth mobilisation in peacebuilding efforts is more likely to be successful if young people are given the capabilities and opportunities to work with local and national governments.”
A panel of five experts in youth peacebuilding also produced insightful, varied and cutting-edge policy papers which provided the basis for discussion during the event. All these papers have been published online and are an accessible resource provided for free by the Commonwealth Secretariat.
The panel's work also features in a five-episode observational podcast as they discuss and formulate their papers and contribute their ideas to peacebuilding efforts across the Commonwealth.
The podcast, CommonView can be listened to below: