Around 2065, the world’s youth population is projected to reach its peak, at just under 1.4 billion persons (13%). At the same time, the impact of young people in conflicts are increasingly more significant, not least thanks to the role of social media and online social movements. In conflicts such as the Arab Spring or the Belarusian democracy movement the driving force has often been young people. It is clear that there is a need to focus on youth involvement in security, conflict and peace building.
In 2015 the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2250 Youth, Peace and Security which recognizes that “young people play an important and positive role in the maintenance and promotion of international peace and security”. Throughout the UN processes, young people all over the world have advocated for an increased role and recognition in security and defense policy.
What is the role of young activists in global conflicts? How does the youth contribute to the empowerment of social movements as well as peace talks and conflict resolution? And what can the UN, its member states and civil society do in order to strengthen and amplify young voices?
In collaboration with The Stockholm Association of International Affairs (Utrikespolitiska Föreningen Stockholm) the Stockholm Free World Forum arranged a panel discussion to discuss these questions and many more.
Olga Matveieva, associate professor at Dnipropetrovsk Regional Institute for Public Administration, with research focus on issues of civic activism and sustainable development of communities.
Julius Kramer, Youth, Peace and Security Adviser for UN:s peace mission in Somalia, UNSOM.
Hanna Waerland-Fager, programme and educational manager for youth, peace, security and defence, as well as leader of the network #ungsäk at Folk och Försvar (Society and Defence).