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UNOY Peace Builders: An International Organization Dedicated To Youth As Agents Of Peace
December 31, 1969
United Network of Young Peace Builders (UNOY, pronounced “You Know Why”) is a global network of young people and youth organizations committed to the establishment of sustainable, peaceful societies. UNOY Peace Builders understands the importance of youth in society and the impacts they are capable of making as agents of peace, as the world’s population under age 30 is nearly 50%. As well, they choose to focus on the integration of youth in peace building because young people are most open to change, are future-oriented, are idealistic and innovative, courageous, and knowledgeable about their peers’ realities and needs.
Members of UNOY are dedicated to building a world consisting of the peace, justice, solidarity, and human dignity necessary for respect for nature and humankind. Through linking young people, UNOY finds young peoples’ initiatives empowered and more effective, where they are generally neglected and ignored in issues such as development, peace and civil society building, and treaty activities. Since 1989, this organization has been active in areas such as advocacy and campaigning, capacity building, networking, sharing information, research, fundraising and gender issues.
Today UNOY, with its main offices located in The Hague, Netherlands, spans the globe along with its 49 member organizations in their pursuit of promoting the role of youth initiatives in building peace—particularly in areas of recent conflict, in a non-political, non-religious, non-governmental movement. There are no distinctions amongst youth and youth organizations wanting to become part of UNOY, and no hierarchy is established. Organizations retain their autonomy and work within their own communities to promote youth in peace building.
UNOY projects and activities are based on their Capacity Building Programme and Advocacy and Campaigning Programme, and combine non-formal education in youth work, peace education, community development, and intercultural exchange in their methodology that is dedicated to promoting equal, friendly, and involved relationships with the youth they work with under the understanding that peace education builds democratic, sustainable communities, each person is a teacher and a student of others, and that the development of moral sensitivity, critical thinking, and self-esteem are critical to the peace building process.
The Capacity Building Programme is focused on enhancing the young individuals’ abilities to achieve their goals through the process of learning and developing in projects and activities aimed at providing knowledge, skills, and tools. Workshops and training courses have proven the most effective way to skill build young peace builders and provide a space for exchange amongst young people from across the world with networking, dialoguing, and creating friendships. Training courses are highly participative and based on the experiences of the young people participating, including a variety of presentations, group work, on-line forums, simulation exercises and role plays, visits to organizations, individual reflection, and more. Through the Capacity Building Programme, young people take part in advocacy modules that prepare them for the Advocacy and Campaigning Programme.
The Advocacy and Campaigning Programme targets all levels of decision making in peace building processes—including local, national, regional, and international levels, and works to integrate young people in the process. Although human rights issues are typically at the center of international focus, other issues such as economics and youth movements have also been crucial.
Volunteers are always needed at UNOY, particularly in the areas of graphic design/editing, translation, film editing, and assisting in the annual conference as well as logistics for other events.
Internship opportunities and career opportunities for professionals are also available! You may also choose to donate or become a sponsor of the organization.
For more information, check out www.unoy.org
Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons