The UN Security Council adopted historic Resolution 2250 (SCR 2250) on youth, peace and security earlier this month. For the first time a Security Council Resolution focuses exclusively on the crucial role of young men and women in peacebuilding and countering violent extremism—and education featured prominently.
We know that education has “two faces”—it can play a critical role in shaping factors that foster peace or fuel division, and it can influence whether a young man or woman will engage in violence or not.
SCR 2250 specifically highlights the importance of education in preventing the marginalization of youth and building their capabilities and skills to promote peace. It notably calls on governments to “support quality education for peace that equips youth with the ability to engage constructively in civic structures and inclusive political processes.”
Last week ECCN hosted a Webcast on SCR 2250. I was joined by Saji Prelis, Director of Children and Youth Programs at Search for Common Ground and ECCN’s Co-Chair, to listen to insights from three remarkable young peacebuilders into how education can advance the implementation of SCR 2250: Saba Ismail (Pakistan), Achaleke Christian (Cameroon), and Rolando Jr. Villamero (Canada).
Their presentations surfaced a number of key questions about the role of education, including:
- How can education help youth to avoid engaging in violence and be agents of violence prevention and peace?
- What are some of the unique education needs of marginalized youth—and how can they be met?
- What are some examples of innovative and effective education programs that reach marginalized youth and support them to build more peaceful societies?
These are crucial questions for USAID and ECCN. We should note that SCR 2250 requests the Secretary-General to carry out a progress study on the positive contributions of youth to peace in order to recommend effective responses. Perhaps this offers our new community of practice an opportunity.