By Keenan Govender
Global Peace launched its Futures Forum in a virtual event on Friday, the 5th of February 2021. The event included a Global Inter-Generational Dialogue (IGD), that comprised of an international panel of young leaders in dialogue with the United Nations (UN) Deputy Secretary General, H.E. Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, and H.E. Mrs Graꞔa Machel, who is also a member of the UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Development Goals Advocacy Group and Chair of Global Peace. The global IGD was moderated by Dr Okito Wedi, and in addition to the two esteemed speakers, panelists were drawn from 5 continents.
The virtual launch was the culmination of 100 IGD’s hosted by Global Peace, which were convened in 100 cities across the world, and brought together young people with their current leaders to dialogue about the future they want, and to co-create social compact vehicles to allow current and future leaders to work together to create a better future.
The Global Peace IGDs have collated common aspirations, challenges and concerns related to issues of climate change, health, employment, gender, inequality, conflict, technology, and population, which have been synthesized into a select number of thematic areas. Youth who participated in the IGDs have been invited to join the Futures Forum, where they will work with like-minded young people from around the world to evolve ideas, policies, and innovations.
The Futures Forum will catalyse the engagement of young leaders with stakeholders in government, the private sector, academia, and civil society, on topical issues that directly impact on the well-being, livelihoods, and the future of youth. The Futures Forum seeks to generate new ideas and innovation for collective action to build solutions to global issues.
Global Peace has resolved to work together for a better world, and the Futures Forum places youth at the helm of driving solutions to pressing global issues as innovators, influencers, investors, and implementers. This investment will reap rich dividends, as the youth of today will be the leaders of tomorrow. Hanna Pertiwi, the panellist from the Indonesia IGD, and a panellist in this event shared that she, wanted to join Global Peace because it is a place which gives youth a platform to speak up and share their ideas and allow for global connections amongst youth.
During the global IGD, Mrs. Machel and Ms. Mohammed were both proponents of youth defining their place in the multilateral space, while better defining what partnership means. On youth defining their space in the world, Ms. Machel said, “The UN Charter states ‘We the people’ but it is the faces of young people that we need to see, youth need to define who is the WE! We need young people’s energy, commitment and leadership.” On the need to define the meaning of ‘partnership’ for young people, Ms. Mohammed stated, “Today we have a cohort of young people who have never been better connected – we have leadership now! We can better define what partnership means. Individually and collectively, we can make the change. Voices and actions must come from the country level.” Another vital point which was prevalent in the dialogue was that of the impact of COVID-19 on youth, specifically in terms of education. Panellist David Jack, co-founder of Openventures IO, raised the concern of barriers to education during the pandemic, stating that 192 governments have closed schools to stop the spread of COVID-19. He shared that there must be a focus on education and re-engaging these young students and leaders who unfortunately do not have access to education today.
In closing the virtual launch event, Dr Okito Wedi aptly encapsulated the ethos and purpose of Global Peace and the Futures Forum, by sharing that the chat discussions/inputs by participants was incredibly active as it seemed that young people were jumping out of their seats to share their thoughts and ideas and ensure that these were included into the conversation. She further expressed that a new social contract is being created where young people are at the front of it, heading it up with the removal of the lottery of geography. The virtual launch and global IGD was a resounding success- with the participants resolving to commit to the work of Global Peace, and the Futures Forum, by expanding the vision, network, and innovation of young people towards working together to build a better world.