The hope for a peaceful future

Vancouver students attend UN’s Youth as Peacebuilders forum

FDU Vancouver student delegates
Vancouver Campus students Vi Nguyen, Anh Pham, Saurabh Bhatt, Eduardo Vega-Ruiz and Shepherd Guvakuva serve as delegates at the Youth as Peacebuilders forum. (Photos courtesy of @fduvancouver)

November 29, 2017 — A dozen students from the Vancouver Campus represented Fairleigh Dickinson University at the recent Youth as Peacebuilders forum, hosted by United Nations Association in Canada during the U.N. Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial in mid-November.

More than 160 students — including the 10 undergraduate students and two graduate students from FDU — attended the Youth forum, working collaboratively to promote peace in Canada and find resolutions towards peace.

The FDU team members attended three consultations, or discussions, where they identified the “basic challenges that youth face in the 21st century, including lack of education, racial discrimination, cyber bullying, injustice to indigenous peoples, lack of resources and lack of awareness, among others,” says Jay Diyora, a Vancouver administrative science graduate student, who attended the forum.

Distinguished speakers at the Defence Ministerial, some of whom also spoke at the Youth forum, included Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; actress, director and activist Angelina Jolie; U.N. Peacekeeping Chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix and Canadian Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan. Both Jolie and Trudeau spoke at the summit about the need for U.N. peacekeeping missions to involve more women.

The speakers “shared accounts from their personal lives, the challenges they’ve faced, their suggestions for youth and their success stories,” says Yashada Nabar, FDU’s head delegate, an administrative science graduate student. The student delegates were “split up in 13 different groups to work on recommendations based on the themes identified during discussions.” A final report of the youth delegates’ recommendations will be presented to the Canadian government and to the United Nations.

“The future of our world is always in the hands of our youth. Thus, the extraordinary Peacebuilders event was a milestone in the lives of the youth of the world and of Fairleigh Dickinson University,” says Vancouver Campus Provost Cecil Abrahams. “Our students were selected as representatives of FDU, one of the 10 higher education institutions invited to participate in this major event. They not only represented all of FDU well, but also left with an indelible memory of what can and must be changed to make our world a better and peaceful place.”

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