As the United States and its partners work to reduce the violence that has uprooted the world’s largest recorded displaced population, an often underused resource is youth. Violent conflicts are concentrated heavily in countries—Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Nigeria and others—with large youth populations. On August 8, USIP held a discussion of new ideas and resources for strengthening the role of youth who are reducing violence, improving security, and opposing violent extremism in their countries. This forum was co-sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the international peacebuilding organization Search for Common Ground, and YouthPower, which promotes positive youth development globally.

While popular culture and public narratives depict young men mainly as perpetrators of violence, and young women mainly as victims, governments and civil society groups alike are working to elevate the critical role of youth in reducing violent conflict and extremism. That effort has seen added attention in the 19 months since a U.N. Security Council resolution focused governments on the task.

This event included prominent U.S. government officials and civil society leaders, and the founder of a Nigerian youth-led peacebuilding organization working amid the country’s conflict with the Boko Haram extremist group. The conversation was streamed live to an international audience.

Continue the conversation on Twitter with #Youth4Peace.

Speakers

Carla Koppell, Opening Remarks
Vice President, U.S. Institute of Peace

Aubrey Cox
Senior Program Specialist, U.S. Institute of Peace 
 
Imrana Buba, Founder
Youth Coalition Against Terrorism (Nigeria)

Rachel Walsh Taza
Program Coordinator, Search for Common Ground

Jenn Heeg 
Co-Champion, YouthPower Learning

Michael McCabe, Moderator
Youth Coordinator, USAID

Andy Rabens, Closing Remarks
Special Advisor, Department of State 

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