Young people celebrate International Peace Day with ideas for sustainable development

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The European Institute for Sustainable Development celebrated International Peace Day on Sept. 21 with an online panel discussion that included youngsters from various countries and backgrounds.

Participants presented their perspectives and ideas on sustainable development and peace during a live gathering on Zoom led by Nuray Duzenli, the institute’s project coordinator based in Vienna.

Young people from around the world shared their opinions on the sustainability of various aspects of life, including ecological, economic, socio-cultural and political sustainability, as well as defense and security sustainability.

Gabriel David, a 16-year-old student in Angola, underlined the importance of peace during his speech, saying many sources define peace as a state or period in which there is no war or a war has ended but that peace goes beyond that.

“Many people look for peace by trying to get money and power. However, we can achieve peace and make the world a better place by ending hunger, poverty, social and gender inequality and by granting a quality education.”

Felix Kaminski, who serves as the German UN Youth Delegate on Sustainable Development, and his colleague Sophia Bachmann presented their work at the UN as an official part of the German government delegation as well as their work with young people in Germany.

Omar Mbala, another contributor and a second-year student at Suleyman Demirel University (SDU) in Almaty, Kazakhstan, believes that education is the most incredible tool to make the world a place of peace.

“Youths are the main workforce of the community and agents of development and peace as their hearts tend to accept the truth and change sooner than the older generation,” he said.

He said more emphasis should be put on building unity within communities through dialogue centers and cultural and language festivals to embrace their differences to ensure world peace.

The world should first solve the problem of education, according to Mbala, with a broader emphasis put on inclusion and unity within communities to ensure we move forward economically and politically.

“For the world to achieve sustainable development and peace, first and foremost, everyone has to feel free and included, so that a win for one of us is always a win for all of us.”

Putri Ierayana, a 19-year old Indonesian from the Alumni Initiative of the Pribadi Schools, gave an inspiring speech, in which she underlined the need for a political and systematic change to achieve sustainable development goals. Majoring in Business at the National University of Malaysia, Putri reminded the audience of the importance of questioning our daily habits.

Zeynep Girdap and Hansa Teker, two members of the Youth Island Platform, also contributed to the meeting with their ideas for the solution of water and food waste issues.

Aiming to make an active contribution to sustainable development and peace, the Vienna-based European Institute for Sustainable Development was founded in 2019, on the conviction that “there can be no sustainable peace without sustainable development.”

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