Path to Peace Building

Path to Peace Building

| By Naheed Israr |

Generally, conflict is perceived to be essentially a difference of opinion, which extends to intolerance and later to violence in the regions like Pakistan. Conflict and violence are not created in a vacuum; they take roots where law and order are weak, poverty and inequality, poor governance, corruption, and religious fundamentalism are present.

These critical factors of conflict are not limited to one socio-economic segment. Economic and business sectors are severely hit by frequent outbreaks of violence, resulting in stunted economic growth. However; youth, women, and children are the most disadvantaged ones in the face of conflicts and violent outbreaks. Especially young people who grew up in situations where vulnerabilities result from an unequal distribution of resources, are more susceptible to and overwhelmed by radical ideas.

In Pakistan, youth are considered to have the potential to help resolve conflicts by spreading awareness about peacebuilding, engaging in public discourse on peace and contributing to the general well being of the community through a positive and productive attitude. Given that they are more passionate and energetic, more open to critical thinking and innovative ideas, they are ready to take bold initiatives unlike their older counterparts who are more calculating. This trait naturally makes young people leadership material.

However, in reality, it seems the role of young people in peacebuilding is limited. Although, they have been made part of local peacebuilding efforts but they lack motivation and energy. The reason, a significant percentage of youth lack proper capacity – building and guidance which are the major inhibitors to their contribution in society. Their efforts would have a greater impact if on different levels they were better educated in peacebuilding and conflict resolution strategies.

Empowerment and capacity-building in peace development may take different forms, including through formal curricula and non-formal education spaces. Examples include formal secondary and tertiary education, as well as non-formal training in conflict transformation and peacebuilding.

In addition, there is also a need to involve youth in extra-curricular and sports activities. In this regard, various student societies’ i.e. music, theater, debate, literacy societies need to be revived and strengthened. These can be good alternative platforms to engage youth in positive activities and venues for training them as ambassadors of peace.

More serious and earnest efforts aimed at active engagement and involvement of Pakistani youth in the peacebuilding process and various spheres of life could lead towards a peaceful and safe society.


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