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Youth Circle Dialogue

Youth Circle Dialogue

Persistent challenges such as social divisions, cultural misunderstandings, and conflicts continue to shape our diverse society. A notable absence of platforms for young individuals to engage in substantive conversations addressing these issues and supporting peacebuilding is evident. It is crucial to acknowledge that youth, not only of the present era but also of different generations, hold substantial potential to contribute to peacebuilding efforts and raise awareness about the complexities of peace intersections.

The youth demographic represents a dynamic and vibrant segment of society, serving as agents of transformation and a source of inspiration. With a staggering 1.2 billion individuals aged 15 to 24, young people constitute roughly 16% of the global population. Notably, India boasts the largest youth population globally, with over 600 million individuals aged 15 to 29. As per the Technical Group on Population Projections' Report by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, individuals aged 15 to 29 accounted for 27.2% of the population in 2021, a figure projected to decline to 22.7% by 2036, yet still encompassing a substantial 345 million individuals.

This demographic has often been characterized both as vulnerable and needing a voice. Simultaneously, they are frequently sidelined from serious discussions, career trajectories and occasionally stereotyped as immature or disruptive. The societal placement of youth significantly influences their potential for leadership and their prospective role in peacebuilding. Additionally, the tension between different age groups has long been a defining aspect of intergenerational shifts involving control over power, resources, and influence.

Many young peacebuilders we have engaged with, have expressed concerns about the inadequate representation of certain youth groups in peace processes. From their experiences, youth from diverse backgrounds, those in fields seemingly unrelated to peace, hard-to-reach youth, young women, and individuals associated with specific political orientations are frequently excluded from dialogues, despite their valuable insights and perspectives.

The Youth Circle Dialogue (YCD) program, steered by GPF India's dedication to nurturing dialogue-centred peacebuilding, strives to provide young leaders with the knowledge, skills and viewpoints needed to foster social cohesion and shape a more harmonious society. Through this initiative, we aspire to cultivate a generation of change-makers who actively contribute to enduring peace and harmony in our multifaceted world. Youth Circle Dialogues serve as purpose-driven and engaging exchanges, uniting young individuals from varied backgrounds and generations to delve into the intersections of peace. These dialogues provide a platform to cultivate substantive conversations, promote attentive listening, foster collaborative efforts, and heighten awareness about the diverse factors influencing societal harmony.

While various initiatives promote dialogue and peace, very few programs specifically cater to youth from all generations and backgrounds. Existing solutions often lack the focus on active listening and collaboration, essential elements for social cohesion and intersections of peace with every sector and field of society.

The core objective of the Youth Circle Dialogue is to bridge these existing gaps by establishing a dedicated platform that encourages youth from diverse backgrounds to actively participate in purposeful conversations and providing a dedicated space for young minds to engage in meaningful discussions.

 

In one sentence, YCD is a structured series of interactive discussions that convene youths from diverse generations and backgrounds to explore intersections of peace.

Youth Circle Dialogue Structure

  • Ice-Breaking Activities: Engaging exercises to create a comfortable environment for participants.

  • Video Messages: Sharing impactful videos that highlight the importance of social cohesion and set the context.

  • Performative Arts: Illuminate history, processes, or context through the language of dynamic actions and expressions.

  • Focused Dialogues: Regular sessions that facilitate discussions on various peace-related topics.

  • Story-Sharing Sessions: Providing a platform for participants to share personal experiences and insights.

  • Values Inculcation: Instilling principles of the agenda.

  • Expert Guidance: Esteemed professionals specializing in the discussed topics are cordially invited to share their current and authoritative insights.

The program is led by GPF India (Global Peace Foundation) with knowledge partners and facilitated by experienced peacebuilders. The discussion is open to all; however, it majorly targets people between the age of 15 to 30, encouraging them to take leadership roles in their communities.

The initiative comprises a sequence of sessions lasting 1.5 to 2 hours each, conducted consistently over a designated timeframe, with each session focusing on a distinct topic influenced by partnerships, location, current events, and the community.

Sessions are conducted in community spaces, Cultural Centers, Universities, Open Spaces and even at GPF India's head office, providing accessible platforms for participants to engage.

Navigating Over Diverse Topics for a Better World

Till now YCD has explored more than ten diverse subjects, such as:

  • Interfaith Leadership

  • Environmental Conversation and Peacebuilding

  • Active Listening and Engagement

  • Peace Justice and Strong Institutions

  • Gamers Community for Peacebuilding

  • Women Circle Dialogue

  • Mental Health and Peace

  • History, Heritage and Connect

  • Sustainable Menstrual Health

  • Peace Hub

  • Korean Dream

  • Value Framework

Importance of Dialogue

Dialogue can teach people to respect the world's diversity of opinions and experiences through discourse and develop empathy and understanding for others. This can aid in removing obstacles and promoting more tolerance and acceptance, ultimately leading to a more peaceful and harmonious community and beyond.

Dialogue is a vital component for building a more inclusive and equitable society. However, several difficulties might arise while seeking to promote these dialogues. The young populace is a mosaic of origins and perspectives, potentially challenging consensus. This sometimes makes it difficult to identify common ground and agree on critical matters.

 

Another issue is that, depending on their colour, gender, social level, or place of residence, some young people may enjoy greater privileges than others. It may become challenging for everyone to feel heard and valued due to power imbalances that may develop inside the group leading to violence and unequal opportunities. Moreover, the generational gap poses another hurdle, with differing social justice and identity beliefs.

This is where the Youth Circle Dialogues take centre stage as it:

  • - Builds trust and understanding between young people from various backgrounds and cultures

  • - Provides young people with the skills and confidence to participate in decision-making processes that affect their lives

  • - Creates opportunities for people to express their perspectives and ideas with decision-makers and other stakeholders

  • - Promotes social change and empowers young people to create positive change in their communities

Other Outcomes and Impacts of Youth Circle Dialogue:

  • Enhanced communication and active listening skills among participants.

  • Increased awareness of societal intersections that impact peace.

  • Empowerment of college students to become peace ambassadors.

  • Reduction in misunderstandings and conflicts arising from cultural differences.

  • Positive change agents influence their surroundings through dialogue and peace-oriented actions.

 

The "Youth Circle Dialogue" program aims to collaborate with diverse entities such as government bodies, non-profit entities, and various groups to foster inclusivity and facilitate discussions for a harmonious society.

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