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Director of Interpeace USA is appointed lead author of UN Advisory Group of Experts for Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security

August 19, 2016
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Graeme Simpson, Director of Interpeace USA. Photo credit: Shiho Fukada/Panos for Interpeace

“Young people can break barriers, reach across divisions and forge understanding. The United Nations Security Council has finally recognized the importance of youth.” - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

Last Friday August 12, during a speech at the University of Calgary, on the occasion of International Youth Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, announced the formation of an Advisory Group of Experts for the Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security, as mandated by Security Council resolution 2250 (2015). Secretary-General described that the group will “carry out a progress study on the youth’s positive contribution to peace processes and conflict resolution, in order to recommend effective responses at local, national, regional and international levels.”

Graeme Simpson, Director of Interpeace USA and Senior Adviser to the Director-General of Interpeace, has been appointed lead author of this Advisory Group of Experts for the Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security. This is a wonderful recognition of the expertise that Graeme and Interpeace have been bringing to the issue of engaging youth in peacebuilding efforts for over 22 years in more than 20 countries around the world. Simpson has also worked extensively on issues related to transitional justice and the transformation of criminal justice institutions, has been consultant to both governmental and non-governmental organizations in various countries, and has published widely in books and journals.

Resolution 2250 (2015), adopted in December of 2015 by the Security Council, is the first resolution that recognizes the invaluable role youth play in building more inclusive and peaceful societies, both at a local and international level. Through the resolution, which defines youth as persons between the ages of 18 and 29, the Security Council urges Member States to recognize youth as powerful agents of change and to give them a greater voice and participation in peace processes and conflict transformations. Moreover, recognizing the threat of radicalization among young people, the Security Council, encourages Members States to empower youth, as a way to counter the spread of violent extremism. Through the use of Internet and other technologies, terrorists are recruiting young people and inciting them to commit terrorist attacks. Therefore, the resolution 2250 (2015) urges Member States to engage youth through five pillars: participation, protection, prevention, partnerships and reintegration.

The Advisory Group, has been formed to study the progress of this resolution, considered to be historic, in a time were the youth generation is the largest the world has ever known. Secretary-General described, “Nearly half of the Group’s members are young. Some of them survived conflict. One lost her father in war. Another was shot. Others were refugees.” Graeme Simpson will lead this Advisory Group over the next year, and will continue to work for Interpeace in our Representation Office in New York. The findings and recommendations of the Study will be presented to the Security Council on December 2017.

Graeme Simpson, Director of Interpeace USA. Photo credit: Oskar Kullander

Lead author and members of the Advisory Group:

Graeme Simpson of South Africa, Director of Interpeace USA, was appointed lead author. The Advisory Group members are: Farea Al-Muslimi (Yemen), Luz Alcira Granada Contreras (Colombia), Scott Attran (USA), Chernor Bah (Sierra Leone), Ikram Ben Said (Tunisia), Malual Bol Kiir (South Sudan), Kessy Martine Ekomo-Soignet (CAR), Ilwad Elman (Somalia), Matilda Flemming (Finland), Terri-Ann Gilbert-Roberts (Jamaica), Saba Ismail (Pakistan), Thevuni Kavindi Kotigala (Sri Lanka), Nur Laiq (UK), Mieke Lopes Cardozo (Netherlands), Robert Muggah (Canada), Hussein Nabil Murtaja (Palestine), Funmi Olonisakin (Nigeria), Salim Salamah (Syria), Ali Saleem (Pakistan), Hajer Sharief (Libya), and Marc Sommers (USA).