Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassadors plan full calendar for Year of YouthMarch 22nd, 2023
by Zainab Hassen
The Year of the Youth is upon us and the Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassadors Network (CYPAN) is gearing up for a calendar full of intersectional and sustainable events to be carried out under its banner.
The 1.5 billion young people across the Commonwealth have been hard at work building peaceful and resilient societies. This year the CYPAN programme hopes to further extend support and celebrate its significant impact on global discourse.
At the heart of every solution are the youth and we are the main drivers of change and progress. I hope to continue the work that my predecessor has set out but also include pivotal and intersectional changes to our approach moving forward, keeping the diversity and strength of the youth as the anchor for all our CYPAN endeavours.
CYPAN brings together young people from across the Commonwealth to upscale and optimise grassroots, national, regional and Pan-Commonwealth efforts to promote peace, respect & understanding and prevent violent extremism.
CYPAN aims to foster collaboration among members and create space for policy advocacy as it relates to peace and countering violent extremism. It is an initiative that is completely youth-led and supported by the Commonwealth Secretariat.
Peacebuilding aims to prevent the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of violence, so it can take place before, during and after conflicts. It is a long-term and collaborative process, as it involves changes in attitudes, behaviours, norms and institutions.
Perception of the young vacillates between the two extremes of ‘infantilising’ and ‘demonising’. On the one hand, youths are viewed as vulnerable, powerless and in need of protection. On the other, they are feared as dangerous, violent, apathetic and as threats to security.
In reality, if you look at most grassroot level approaches to peacebuilding they are fuelled by the youth. From Tiananmen Square, China to Main Street, Colombo, Sri Lanka, we have youth at the very centre of peacebuilding efforts.
CYPAN itself has done quite a bit of work under the peacebuilding umbrella and has to date impacted and engaged with over 30,000 youth with more than 130 programmes and events held offline and online.
Our priority areas include:
- Strengthening the Commonwealth network and restructuring for growth – Executive committee revival and restructuring of CYPAN network
- Creating sustainable and intersectional impact on the ground – Creating knowledge and action through global regional and local dialogues and awareness campaigns on peacebuilding, root causes of conflict, intergenerational issues, country specific issues and challenges.
- Fostering regional and local collaboration and celebrating youth – Creating regional collaborative groups to implement large scale campaigns; highlighting issues on the ground and becoming peace champions across the Commonwealth
- Highlighting the key activities and programmes that CYPAN will be embarking on which are:
- the collaborative peace summit
- research papers and reports components
- training and capacity building programme
- grassroot level events with key stakeholders and intergenerational dialogues across the Commonwealth.
Zainab Hassen is a passionate development practitioner with almost a decade of demonstrated and evidenced work in areas like gender, advocacy, media and peacebuilding. A national of Sri Lanka, Zainab’s work with CYPAN is complemented by his academic background in law, international development and human rights.