The Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) held on Monday, June 21, 2021, the second session of the Leadership Training in Peace and Security Program. The Program is held in partnership with the UNESCO Office for the Maghreb, the Conference of the Ministers of Education of French Speaking Countries (CONFEMEN), and the Conference of Ministers of Youth and Sports of French Speaking Countries (CONFEJES).
The key Program aims to hone the leadership skills of young people as they are the agents of change who are capable of establishing peace and building the societies we want. It also seeks to make them true ambassadors of peace in their societies by providing them with knowledge and tools through exchanges with inspirational leaders and experts.
At the beginning of the opening session, held both face-to-face at ICESCO headquarters and via videoconference, Ms. Ramata Almamy Mbaye, Head of the Sector of Human and Social Sciences at ICESCO, welcomed participants, noting that the Program represents a platform for knowledge, research, and experience exchange among leaderships, experts, and young people.
In his opening address, Mr. Nidal Benali, a trainee in the 2021 Leadership Training in Peace and Security Program, President of the National Local Youth Councils Network in Morocco, stressed the need to join efforts to achieve peace and security through building the capacities of young people to become active citizens.
For his part, Mr. Abdel Rahamane Baba-Moussa, CONFEMEN Secretary-General, highlighted the importance of incorporating peace and security in school curricula and programs, stating that education is the key to peace. The CONFEMEN official called on states and governments to build education systems that allow for life-long learning and embraces education on the principles of peace and security.
Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, ICESCO Director-General (DG), talked in his address about the Organization’s vision in the field of peace and youth leaderships and stressed the need for decision-makers to open to young people and their ideas as it is only logical to include them in shaping the future. Dr. AlMalik reaffirmed that achieving prosperity and sustainable development hinges upon promoting and capitalizing on the youth’s innovative capacities in various fields, ensure their active participation and build their leadership capacities.
During the session discussion, ICESCO DG answered the questions of the Program trainees, university students, and civil society activists from different Member States, reaffirming the need to build partnerships, promote cooperation among countries and societies, and foster scientific research to come up with innovative solutions to the conflicts undermining peace.
The DG urged participants to seek the truth and refrain from taking rumors and fake news at face value. He also recommended they travel and immerse themselves in other cultures to enhance their views about the other and build a better future.
The Expert Session featured several remarkable presentations, including “Education for peace” that Dr. Conrad Hughes, Director of the International School of Geneva, delivered; and “Global citizenship and peace” that Dr. John Crowley, Chief of Section for Research, Policy and Foresight at UNESCO, delivered.
The session also featured a presentation on “The significance of the Gender-based perspective in establishing peace and security” that Dr. Lina Abi Rafii, Executive Director of the Arab Institute of Women, delivered. She stated that the desired change cannot be achieved without a proper understanding of the world we live in, calling on young people to strive to improve the situation of women as it is a way to achieve peace, security and prosperity.
The Leadership Training in Peace and Security Program will continue with several virtual training sessions that will be held between June and September 2021. The Program focuses on 10 modules focusing on peace issues. The 2021 trainees will form the first group in the ICESCO Youth and Women Network for Peace.