UNICEF has announced Colombia’s first national youth program for peacebuilding, jointly launched with the Colombian government and Bogota‘s Santo Tomas university, which aims to provide Colombian youth tools for building peace in their regions.
By May 10, 3,500 young people between the ages of 14 and 28 years will enroll in the diploma program, called “Peace over Time.” The educational initiative is a joint project between the presidential Colombia Youth program, the United Nations Fund for Children, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA ) and Santo Tomas.
UNICEF stated that while in recent years, Colombia has taken important steps toward peacebuilding and ending the armed conflict and peace building, “it will not become a reality without the commitment and participation all Colombians who for decades have wanted live in a country without violence and with more equity and development opportunities.”
|“I invite the youth of Colombia to think of peace, to fight for our rights and to forget about armed conflict or violence. As young people we must seize these opportunities to move forward and live a peaceful Colombia.”|
Toward this end, said UNICEF, the voices of adolescents and youth are critical to discovering new solutions, ideas, and actions that promote reconciliation and peace.
Yajaira Murry, an indigenous youth leader from the western Choco state and victim of the conflict, strongly supports the initiative, saying “I invite the youth of Colombia to think of peace, to fight for our rights and to forget about armed conflict or violence. As young people we must seize these opportunities to move forward and live a peaceful Colombia.”
Lucy Wartenberg, assistant representative of UNFPA, said that “the diploma will enable young people know their rights, including their sexual and reproductive rights, and to find new resources and opportunities to achieve [their goals] both personally and as social leaders. “
The peacebuilding program will make use of information technologies and social media as effective means of education, training, and development to generate real social change.
Santo Tomas has established a curriculum to give graduates the capacity for analysis, reflection and projection concerning problems facing the country, so that in the near future they become actors that actively contribute and participate in building peace in Colombia .
Those wishing to participate in the program must meet the following requirements:
- Be interested in building peace; be between 14 and 28 years of age
- Be a member of a state or municipal Youth Council or similar organization
- Have access to the internet for at least seven hours a week.
“Peace Over Time” has already registered 1,300 youth, and registration will continue until May 10, reported newspaper El Universal.