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by Jakob Staubmann, Hedi Bousnina, A. Sharief

On 07.02.2024, the International Association of Youth and Students for Peace (IAYSP) held a conference at the prestigious UN Building in Vienna. The event aimed to promote the vision that every young person’s contribution matters for peace. With a mission to empower youth and students to become global citizens through character education and peace projects supporting the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs), the IAYSP is dedicated to advancing world peace.

The conference featured various activities and initiatives undertaken by the IAYSP. These include the Peace Designer Project, which aims to equip young people with the necessary skills and knowledge to become effective peacebuilders. Through seminars, peace projects, cultural events, and character education, the IAYSP strives to create an environment where young individuals can actively engage in promoting peace.

The conference also highlighted the importance of commemorating UN days and events that support the SDGs. By emphasizing these significant occasions, the IAYSP encourages young people to understand and contribute to the global efforts in achieving sustainable development and peace.

The speakers at the conference emphasized their goals and repeatedly invited all youths to cooperate and participate in making the dreams of youth for a peaceful world come true. Following their inspiring words, an open discussion was initiated, leading to the emergence of several thought-provoking questions.

However, one aspect that was noticeably missing from the discussion was the inclusion of burning issues faced by youth in various parts of the world. One audience member raised a valid concern regarding the lack of attention given to the situation of women and education in Afghanistan, as well as the struggles faced by youth in countries affected by dictatorship or war, particularly in the Middle East.

It is disheartening to witness the loss of lives among the youth due to conflicts that could potentially be resolved through peaceful means. Unfortunately, the interests of certain individuals often take precedence over the real facts on the ground, leading to the unfair sacrifice of young lives for the sake of personal gain or political ideologies.

While the IAYSP conference aimed to promote peace and empower youth, it is essential to acknowledge that there are pressing issues that demand attention and action. By addressing these concerns, such as the situation of women and education in Afghanistan and the impact of dictatorship and war on youth in the Middle East, the IAYSP can further strengthen its mission and contribute to the creation of a more inclusive and peaceful world.

It is through open discussions, like the one initiated at the conference, that the voices of those affected by these burning problems can be heard. By actively engaging with the challenges faced by youth, the IAYSP can play a vital role in advocating for change and working towards sustainable solutions.

As the conference at the UN Building in Vienna came to a close, it is evident that the IAYSP’s commitment to advancing world peace remains unwavering. By continuing to empower youth and students, promoting character education, and addressing pressing global issues, the IAYSP stands as a beacon of hope in the pursuit of a more peaceful and inclusive world.

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