Facing Security Challenges and Enhancing Opportunities

2016 OSCE MEDITERRANEAN CONFERENCE ON YOUTH NORTH AND SOUTH OF THE MEDITERRANEAN: FACING SECURITY CHALLENGES AND ENHANCING OPPORTUNITIES

Vienna, 6 October 2016

Ladies and gentlemen, It is great to be here at this important event on the contributions of youth to peace and security. Just at the beginning of this week, I was in Tripoli at an event convened by Libyan youth leaders who are working to train young people in dialogue and reconciliation.

The richness of the discussion, the maturity of thought and the energy by which the ideas were communicated would have inspired many of my peers. I would like to share with you just one story of one of the leaders who launched this discussion group called the Debate and Dialogue Club.

Salem Qamoudi is the founder of a local NGO called Shaik Tahir Al-Zawi Charity. He formed this humanitarian NGO just after the revolution, at the age of 24. In only four years it has become one of the leading local organizations to provide assistance to IDPs and migrants in Libya.

Working in the unstable and dangerous environment, Salem and his colleagues take risks every day by doing what most of us are only capable of talking about.

But Salem and his colleagues are not alone. There are literally hundreds of similar initiatives in Libya. Youth leaders are taking the initiative to lobby Libyan institutions.

They form the vast majority of the journalists that I meet, and they are by far the most active group on social media. They are coming up with ideas and contributions for the new Libyan constitution and they are the main group that mobilizes the population to go out and vote.

What a difference to my day to day work where, I must say, my interlocutors are mainly of my own age group – well above the age of 60

I saw the spirit of togetherness, in an atmosphere of fragmentation.
Outreach to political adversaries, as opposed to the loud voices calling for exclusion and polarization.
Dialogue in a fresh constructive atmosphere, instead of finger pointing.

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