August 10, 2017

Youth Building Peace: In Their Own Words

For International Youth Day on August 12, young people describe the importance of participating in peace building around the world.

For Alvasam Ahadain, the word peace means one simple thing.

Peace means hope for us,” says the 22-year-old from Mindanao in the Philippines. “If we use our youth in a rightful manner, [peace] will in fact be achieved—not only here in my community, but across the globe.”

Alvasam Ahadain is just one of the nearly 2 billion youth, aged 10–24, living around the world today. He is part of a generation coming of age at a time of rapid political, technological, and environmental change. 

But it’s also a generation that is learning how to build peace. In celebration of International Youth Day, here are some reflections on the importance of peace from four young people who have participated in EDC’s programs—and who are already making a difference.

Jacquelyn Yurag, 22
Participant, Mindanao Youth for Development (MYDev) Program, the Philippines

Jumar Nawaf Omar, 21
MYDev participant

Peace is important because its absence means that we cannot live comfortably.

I am here in Iligan City right now, volunteering for Catholic Relief Services [EDC’s MYDev partner]. The organization is helping internally displaced persons. Because of this experience, I learned how to distribute hygiene and household kits. I also found new friends because I volunteered.

I learned that it’s possible for Christians and Muslims to unite and [that religion] should not be a hindrance. It was here that I learned that peace can be achieved and that both Christians and Muslims can work together.

Syafiyah Nabilah Arman, 22
Participant, Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative Innovation Challenge, implemented by EDC
Malaysia

This challenge inspired me to be more involved in community projects to improve other people’s lives—not just for my own satisfaction in my life. I felt so much more satisfied by giving back.

Meeting everyone from the team, I learned a lot. I learned that there are many things that I can venture into, that there are endless possibilities for me to do my part. . . . I want to work with the youth and expose them to the new world that they don’t get in their normal lives. To inspire them with new possibilities.

How can you not have peace when there are possibilities everywhere?

Inshira Asama, 26
MYDev participant

For me, peace is a necessity because it is the most important thing that we need to learn in life. I believe that peace is the solution to achieve a better future. If you have personal peace, you are living a beautiful life.