Opening of the Political and Legal Symposia at EFA 2019

The opening of the Political and Legal Symposia of the European Forum Alpbach kicked off on August 24th.

Together with President Alexander Van der Bellen of Austria, President María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés of the United Nations General Assembly, Chancellor Brigitte Bierlein of Austria, and a number of other world political leaders, BKMC Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer and their spouses attended the welcome and opening ceremony.

The welcome ceremony took place outside with various cultural and traditional performances and was followed by the indoor opening ceremony. The opening featured local, national and international leaders as its key speakers:

  • María Fernanda Espinosa, President of the United Nations General Assembly
  • Alexander Van der Bellen, Federal President of Austria
  • Brigitte Bierlein, Federal Chancellor of Austria
  • Franz Fischler, President of the European Forum Alpbach

© BKMC / Eugenie Berger
© EFA / Andrei Pungovschi, Bogdan Baraghin, Iryna Yeroshko

The first “International Symposium on Youth Participation in Peace Processes” was successfully held!

The first “International Symposium on Youth Participation in Peace Processes” was held in Helsinki, Finland on March 5-6th where BKMC CEO Monika Froehler participated. The youth participants from all over the world openly discussed the improvements needed in the participation of youth in operational and political aspects to realize the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2250 (2015) and UNSCR 2419 (2018).

President of the United Nations General Assembly María Fernanda Espinosa listened to the youth activists’ appeals and said that “young people need support as agents of change” and that “young people help to reform the UN.”

The participants actively shared critical thoughts on the status quo of the actions taken and changes made about the resolutions for youth. Discussing what still needs to be improved in terms of including youth in the peace process, the young peacebuilders presented recommendations for the policy change and how they can contribute.

“Let us say enough to the misconceptions that have allowed young people’s capabilities and capacities for peacebuilding and sustaining peace to go unrecognized and undervalued,” said Wickramanayake.

Under the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland and the governments of Qatar and Colombia, the event was organized by the UNSG’s Envoy on Youth Jayathma Wickramanayake and Search for Common Ground in partnership with the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and United Network of Young Peacebuilders (UNOY).

“Build frameworks to engage youth in the way society is ruled and run. Inclusion is the name of the game,” said Colombian Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo of Foreign Affairs at the symposium.

This symposium brought in lots of positive energy and strengthened bridges between the aspiring young leaders and the world leaders from different sectors and from different parts of the world. BKMC CEO Froehler expressed that lots of enthusiasm was evident during the symposium for “shining a light on youth participation in peace processes.”

Froehler emphasized that “the light gets stronger when we are shining together.”

Watch the livestreamed video of the symposium here: https://formin.videosync.fi/youth-participation-in-peace-processes

Photo by: Nikke Puskala