Youth leaders from Lebanese universities nationwide launch Peace Building Clubs, promote volunteerism and youth activism

25 Feb 2011

Youth leaders from 14 public and private universities nationwide will announce the establishment of Peace Building Clubs and on-campus activities around Volunteerism and Youth Activism at a forum organized by the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Peace Building Project and hosted by the Lebanese American University (Beirut campus) on 25 February, 2011.

More than 60 student leaders, the majority of whom have been sensitized to peace building concepts and values over the past three years, are setting up Peace Building Clubs which will serve as neutral, non-political “safe spaces” for students to discuss current, critical issues of concern and share values of tolerance, peace, equality, citizenship as well as civic responsibility.

At the event, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) Programme, government actors, representatives of local non-governmental organizations and civil society activists will exchange experiences about youth activism and volunteerism in Lebanon.

During 2011, quarterly forums will be held around three other themes, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Human Rights, Citizenship as well as History and Memory. Youth gatherings will be held around each theme throughout the year.

In fact, the themes of the four forums compliment the priorities of the 10th anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers (IYV+10) which celebrates volunteering as an expression of common humanity and as a means to build respect, understanding, trust, solidarity and reciprocity as well as engage the will, positive energy and innovation of millions of people towards realizing the MDGs.

Launched in early 2007, the UNDP’s Peace Building Project is part of a comprehensive strategy for conflict prevention in Lebanon aimed at initiating social structural change by empowering institutions and civil society stakeholders to make a long-term impact on reconciliation and peace in the country. More than 600 civil society (youth, educators, media, NGOs and religious leaders) and local government (municipal council members and mukhtars) actors have been sensitized to peace building concepts and engaged in discussions to promote a culture of tolerance and acceptance.