The U.S Institute of Peace created the Youth Country Liaison (YCL) initiative to improve linkages between USIP country teams and USIP Generation Change fellows. As part of the initiative, the liaisons provide consultation within USIP and provide a youth-focused lens for USIP regional teams as they design and implement programs and activities. The Youth Country Liaison is a volunteer position for a duration of one year. The initiative has been designed to improve fellows’ leadership and communication skills and obtain experience which can be employed in international peacebuilding organizations. The initiative also supports regional teams by providing youth thought leadership and the unique insights and perspectives that young people bring to peacebuilding.
More than ever, young people are critical to peace and stability across the globe. They foster understanding across ethnic and religious divides, enhance gender equality, and provide alternatives to violence on a local, national, or regional scale. USIP’s Generation Change Fellowship Program identifies and works with youth leaders who are active leaders and advocates for peace in their communities. As part of the fellowship, these youth leaders have undergone USIP’s leadership and conflict management trainings and are in a unique position to provide youth lenses and insights to peacebuilding projects.
USIP regional teams recognize the importance of having more youth inclusion in their work and have worked with the USIP youth team in creating the Youth Country Liaison Initiative to bridge this divide. Working in close collaboration with regional teams, this initiative strengthens linkages between GCFP fellows and USIP teams and supports regional teams in designing and implementing more inclusive youth peacebuilding projects.
Through a rigourous application and selection process, USIP regional and youth teams recently selected one fellow per country or region to be a part of the inaugural cohort of the Youth Country Liaison initiative.