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Malaysia: Newsline

Youth explore peace through creative expression

©UNICEF Malaysia/2009/Tee
Participants from the Taiping Youth Leadership Initiative present their "masterpiece" on youth and peace at the end of the workshop.

TAIPING, Malaysia,  9 August 2009 – Faced with the challenge of becoming the peace-builders of the future, 50 youth aged between 15 and 18 from Taiping, Perak, used stories, songs, art and drama to share their perspectives of peace during a Youth Leadership Training jointly organised by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Taiping Peace Initiative (TPI) over the weekend.

The workshop saw participation by secondary school students from selected schools, NGOs and service clubs in Taiping, and was themed “Youth and Peace” to reflect the leadership of young people in building sustainable peace for the future.

“UNICEF and the Taiping Peace Initiative believe in the rights of young people to express their views on matters that affect them, as spelled out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” said UNICEF Representative to Malaysia and Special Representative to Brunei, Mr Youssouf Oomar.

"Young people can energise action today and fulfil the promise of tomorrow. This leadership workshop will help develop their potential to become global citizens, by engaging them to think about their role in promoting peace today and for the future,” Mr Youssouf added.

“We believe that peace education for children should start from a young age. We fully support UNICEF’s goal to train young Malaysians to be future national leaders and peace ambassadors,” said Mr Beh Yang Toh, co-founder and coordinator of the Taiping Peace Initiative.

The city of Taiping – also known as the Town of Everlasting Peace – provided the perfect backdrop for the participants to explore different perspectives and meanings of peace, and collectively discover some solutions to the problems confronting their generation today.

Guided by youth facilitator, child therapist and former actor Chris Ng, the young people shared their views on conflicts in their daily lives through images and sketches that revealed issues like personal frustrations, miscommunication with parents and teachers, as well as school and domestic violence.

The sessions culminated with the youth developing their images of peace in murals and making a personal and group pledge on their role in “keeping the peace” for the present and future.

This workshop is a strategy by UNICEF and TPI, in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to empower young people and children with leadership skills and civic participation opportunities, so that they are able to realise their rights and build the foundation for strong communities and societies.

The workshop also featured a special session on peace by Dato’ Anwar Fazal, advisor to Taiping Peace Initiative.



ABOUT the Taiping Peace Initiative
The Taiping Peace Initiative is a partnership between the Taiping Tourist Association, the Taiping Municipal Council, Universiti Sains Malaysia and the United Nations. Its goal is to promote the culture of peace which it defines in three dimensions – inner peace, peace with other people, and peace with the environment.

ABOUT International Youth Day
On 17 December 1999, the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution 54/120, endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day. The Assembly recommended that public information activities be organized to support the Day as a way to promote better awareness of the World Program of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond, adopted by the General Assembly in 1995 (resolution 50/81). The theme for 2009 is Sustainability: Our challenge. Our future. Learn more.


Indra Kumari Nadchatram, UNICEF Malaysia
(603) 2095 9157 • (6) 013 3663452 •

Shiao Eek, Tee, UNICEF Malaysia
(603) 2095 9154 • (6) 012 2070138 •


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