31.10.2016 - ODG

Empowering Young People for Peace


On 31 October, during her visit to Quebec, Canada, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, gave a keynote speech at the 2016 Junior Chamber International (JCI) World Congress. The event took place introduced by Mr Paschal Dike, President of JCI, before an audience of JCI delegates from countries around the world.

“The future is here in this room,” said Irina Bokova addressing the young audience. “The future lies in our common resolve to act together, to build stronger foundations for peace,” she continued, underscoring that humanity cannot look peaceful when millions of young people are denied human rights. 

"Sustainable development is unthinkable while young people face exclusion and inequality.”

Irina Bokova highlighted that these ideas stand at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Agreement.

“These agreements were struck between Governments – to have lasting impact, they must be embedded in societies, owned by women and men…especially young women and men…” said Irina Bokova, underlining UNESCO’s work to empower young women and men and provide opportunities for them to lead, to nurture them as peacebuilders, as change-makers.

“This must start on the benches of school,” she said calling for new approaches to lifelong learning and for harnessing the full power of education to prevent violent extremism, to teach mutual understanding and respect across all boarders.

The Director-General thanked her audience for their commitment and reiterated UNESCO’s readiness to continue supporting young people in taking forward this shared conviction that their voice matters to make peace happen, to build a better future for all.

JCI is a membership-based nonprofit organization of young active citizens ages 18 to 40 in over 120 countries who are dedicated to creating sustainable impact in their communities. JCI most recently renewed its partnership with UNESCO in 2014 to contribute to civic engagement of young people to bolster the foundations for sustainable development and for lasting peace.

“Each of you shares the conviction your voice matters to make peace happen, to build a better future for all. I share this conviction, and you may rest assured, UNESCO stands with you.”

JCI website

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