Youth Day Celebration in Myanmar: Enhancing the Participation of Political Party Youth in the Peace Process
“Youth Building Peace” was the theme of the 2017 International Youth Day. The Myanmar Multiparty Democracy Programme conducted a two-day workshop in relation to the theme, in order to enhance the role of the political youth as civic actors in the peace process.
During the period of the NLD Government the peace process has been one of the major priority issues. Peace has furthermore been a very sensitive issue throughout the entire transition period. In the contemporary transition and peacemaking in Myanmar, it is important that youth get the opportunity to be involved in the process and have a say in the debate as equal civic actors. The youth are the ones to lead the country in the years to come, and their engagement is much aligned with a successful transition.
Workshop day 1: briefing and panel discussion
Mr Nyut from the Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC) was invited to partake in the Youth Day workshop as a resource person and to conduct a briefing on “Myanmar’s Conflict and the Understanding of Myanmar’s Peace Process”.
“Our country is still behind other countries, but if we choose to acknowledge the leading role of young people and the capacities that young people have, then we will be closer to other countries,” said Mr. Nyut.
Following a question session, where the participating multi-party youth was given the chance to ask Mr. Nyut further questions, the program proceeded with a panel-discussion. The theme of the talk in this section was “Peace Dialogues”. Partaking in the panel was U Sai Kyaw Nyut (UPDJC), Dr. Sithu Swe (UNFPA) and Wint Tae Kaung Myat (MIPSS) and the debate was moderated by Salai David Van Bawi Mang (Youth Coordinator – DIPD).
The panelists discussed several themes concerning the current peace process, including: How the youth and young women can participate in the peace process (Gender and Peace), Peace Education, United Nations Security Solution #2250 and the common challenges of youth participation in peace processes.
Workshop day 2: Visualizing peace and the founding of a Multiparty Youth Platform
The second day of the International Youth Day celebrations was kicked off by watching the video-message from the UN Secretary General and the U.N. Secretary-General’s first Youth Envoy. After that the peace singers, Saw Phoe Kwar, Lin Htet Oo and Zun Zi (Visual Artist & Creative Advocacy Trainer) shared experiences on the peace process in speeches and by singing songs of peace.
The singing was followed by more activities of creative character, as the participants were asked to visually portray their understanding of peace. Some participants even used the opportunity to write and present a poem on the meaning of peace.
“We need to make a mutual understanding for the peace process, we need to share our culture to each other, we need to communicate to each other and if we can build up a trust to each other, we will then get peace, definitively,”said Zunzin (Visual Artist and Creative Advocacy Trainer).
After the celebration and creative section of the second day, followed a talk on “the Youth and Young Women’s participation” presented by Daw Khin Ma Ma Myo from Myanmar Institute for Peace and Security Studies.
The second day was wrapped up by the participants splitting into groups to discuss how the multiparty youth could help out each other, raising awareness of the importance of engaging youth in decision making and peace making processes. The respective groups wrote down the ideas, and presented them to each other. Amongst the ideas were building common peace education programs, making a lobbying network, campaigning for more youth inclusion together as multiparty youth etc. The discussions were very engaging lively and constructive, and had an outcome of tangible ideas that a future multiparty youth-network can put to life.
During the two-day workshop 16 media groups participated. The media conducted stories by interviewing the political youth and the participating resource persons. The MMDP International Youth Day workshop was widely covered in the news, as it made several highlighted stories in newspapers and other broadcasting media.
In total 65 multiparty youth from across the country participated in the workshop, and they successfully founded a Multiparty Youth Platform currently called the “National and Multiparty Youth Working-Group for Peace”. DIPD will continuously support the youth participation in the peace process in Myanmar through the Myanmar Multiparty Democracy Programme (MMDP), which will continue to engage in activities and counselling of the multiparty youth in Myanmar.
Read more about the Myanmar programme here: www.myanmarmultiparty.org
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