Global Peace Inter-Generational Dialogues
On 6th May two SDG Advocates, President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Mrs. Graça Machel hosted the first ever Global Peace Inter-Generational Dialogue in Accra, Ghana.
“How do we build a new set of values in the world that allows us to build empathy, tolerance and respect for each other?” Graça Machel asked a room filled with business leaders, politicians, community leaders, and young people. This was one of many questions raised at the 2-hour interactive dialogue which brought young future leaders into conversations on peace and development with current world leaders.
The Global Peace Inter-Generational Dialogues (IGD), conceived by the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes, aims to accomplish inclusive thought leadership that constructively engages young people in cross-cutting conversations on “The Future We Want” as expressed in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In December 2018, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced that Ghana would host the inaugural IGD as the first of 100 such events to be hosted in 100 cities worldwide in 2019. As said by the President, “I am firm in my conviction of the urgent, critical need to involve young people in decisions that affect them. We cannot talk about sustainable development without the active involvement of youth.”
“The future of Africa and the future of our young people depends on visionary leadership,” Mrs. Machel said in her opening remarks in the Accra IGD. As SDG Advocates, both Mrs. Machel and President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo understand and underscore the importance of including a diversity of perspectives when discussing development. “This young, hungry generation, with a global perspective on opportunities and the aspirations to match, expect their leaders to foster peace,” said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to world leaders and high school students alike.
Young people need the space to be heard and respected by world leaders working to build prosperous, peaceful societies. However, valuing the youth perspective is not enough, they must be active participants in development – a sentiment echoed by Mrs. Machel: “It is your future that we are talking about here today.” She went on to acknowledge the rapidly changing landscape of technology and communication, adding that the implications of these advancements on peace and security require cross-generational problem solving and investment in young people. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo told those gathered that “we must equip our youth with the requisite skills to enable them to compete in today’s world,” then he announced that education in Ghana is now free from Kindergarten to Senior High School and over 30 Centres for technical, vocational and STEM training are being piloted for introduction into basic education in Ghana.
“When we talk about technology making a difference in our lives, as it would, should we in Africa not be thinking how you [young people] will use your technology skills to end the root causes of conflict…poverty, unemployment and inequality…and should you not be talking with your leaders today and joining them to find solutions to these underlying causes?” - Graça Machel
IGDs are a step forward in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The results of these inclusive global dialogues will be combined into a Global Peace Charter and presented to the United Nations Secretary-General in South Africa at the end of the year. The intention is for the Secretary-General to host the first ever Global Peace Forum in 2020 to share the Charter with the world.