The U.S. Institute of Peace gathered 28 youth leaders from countries confronting violent conflict at a meeting with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India, where he encouraged them to sustain their efforts to build peace in their homelands.
This second annual dialogue is a partnership between USIP and the Dalai Lama, a global voice for peace and 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate. The project aims to strengthen the abilities of young people working to build peace in the world’s most violent regions. This year’s group of leaders came from 12 countries, including Syria, Afghanistan, Colombia and Nigeria.
“These youth leaders are peacebuilders who are determined and passionate about ending the violence that plagues their countries," said USIP President Nancy Lindborg, who joined the youth at the Dalai Lama’s compound. “They are the key to a more peaceful future, and these dialogues help strengthen their resolve and ability continue to this difficult work."
“From killing fields, from tragic situations, come all these incredible people. It gives me hope,” the Dalai Lama said of the youth peacebuilders he met in the initial dialogue, in 2016.
The youth leaders’ conference in Dharamsala will include discussions on ways to advance their peacebuilding work. Al Jazeera English hosted an interactive panel discussion with the Dalai Lama and the youth leaders on “The Stream,” which explored ways that people can transform personal loss from conflict into post-traumatic growth for themselves and their communities.
Panelists from "The Stream"
Naomi Aluel Manyok is a young South Sudanese activist passionate about peace, women, and children’s rights. She is currently the Child Protection Officer at “Crown the Woman- South Sudan,” a non-governmental national grassroots organization she founded with six other young South Sudanese women. She represents the organization at various influential national taskforces and thematic working groups.
Aluel volunteers as a Peace Monitor at Centre for Peace and Development Studies in Juba under the Peace Implementation Monitoring Initiative (PIMI). She is also part of Play for Peace-South Sudan and Anataban, both initiatives and platforms by South Sudanese youths to promote peace and justice among children, youths and communities at large.
Paula is the Co-founder of Educacionenpaz.org, a virtual platform for promoting peace education and reconciliation in Colombia and Latin America. The platform has impacted more than 1,800 people in the country. In 2016, she was an innovation consultant at The National Department of Science, Technology, and Innovation in Colombia. In 2012, Paula was volunteer in the non-profit Somos CaPAZes, which aims to educate and challenge children and youth to examine and resolve conflicts and complex issues in their personal lives and their communities. In 2013, she became the Marketing and Innovation Coordinator of the organization.
Paula is also the Co-Founder of VReal People, a Tech Start-up that offers Virtual Reality services and products. In 2016, she created the Proyect PeaceLabs with the Center of Peace and Conflict Studies of Detroit, a space where people can share their stories of change and peace with the objective to create an international network of peace multipliers. Paula has a degree in Industrial Engineering and Business Administration from the Universidad de los Andes, Colombia. She is recognized as a Young Leader of the Americas (YLAI) by the government of the United States. Additionally, she is a 2017 Fellow of the Generation Change program hosted by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP).