Forest Whitaker’s PeaceEarth Foundation and UNESCO Juba Launch the Youth Peacemaker Network in South Sudan
Youth peacemaker network to harness technology to promote peace-building capacities among South Sudanese youth with the support of Ericsson, and Zain
Forest Whitaker, Oscar-winning actor, humanist and Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), announced today the PeaceEarth Foundation will launch the Youth Peacemaker Network in South Sudan in cooperation with UNESCO Juba, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport of South Sudan, Zain and Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC).
The Youth Peacemaker Network will nurture a new generation of leaders committed to reconciliation and conflict prevention. Participating youth from South Sudan’s 10 States will be trained by local and international experts in conflict resolution, leadership, peace and community building as well as mediation skills. These youth will forge peaceful, non-violent relationships with their peers as they work together with their communities, engage with youth nation-wide, receive mentoring and training in business skills to promote attractive learning and skills-based opportunities.
“Reconciliation is a slow process, and it often takes as much time to get out of a conflict as it took to get in one,” said Forest Whitaker. “That’s why it is so important to work with youth to promote the significance of education, personal empowerment and leadership to build peaceful conflict resolution skills and techniques.”
With 72 percent of the South Sudanese population under the age of 30, a peaceful future for the country is in the hands of the young. “Peace is an enabling factor for the development and prosperity of South Sudan and to the building of a national identity, said Mr. Salah Khaled, UNESCO Juba’s Head of Office. ”It is essential to empower young people and train them with the skills they need to be tomorrow’s leaders"
The program will use the field expertise of its key partners. UNESCO Juba will facilitate the secure access of youth living in remote areas. Ericsson will provide mobile broadband connectivity, computers, and mobile phones from Sony Mobile, alongside basic ICT and social media training and tools for connecting teachers and students through the global education initiative Connect To Learn. Ericsson will provide on-site project management resources, Wi-Fi coverage, and the Ericsson cloud computing solution to support the program.
In support of its belief that mobile connectivity is a tool of empowerment to build peace and a positive agent of change, Zain will provide internet access via 35 mobile broadband dongles with capacity of 1GB per month, as well as mobile phone SIM cards for program participants.
PeaceEarth and UNESCO Juba are working together with South Sudan’s Ministry of Youth, Culture and Sport as well as State-level ministries and Youth Unions to establish computer centers in the State Capitals. These centres will help participants from the Youth Peacemaker Network to share their experiences and access additional trainings through the online platform www.peaceearth.org. Zain will also support additional cooperation with governmental agencies to support and develop Sudanese youth.
Mr. Cirino Hiteng Ofuho, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, said about the project, “The fact that young people will have a place to learn and practice computer skills and communicate with youth from different States and counties, will provide them with future opportunities while also building their relationships and breaking down some of the misunderstandings which lead to conflict in the first place.”
The Youth Peacemaker Network will begin its initial roll-out by holding its first training for young women and men from Jonglei. The training will take place from 12-15 December 2012 at UNESCO Juba, and will cover conflict resolution, leadership, peace and community building, and mediation skills.
Over the next two years, the program will expand to include South Sudan’s other nine States and will continue to support the long-term capacity development of the youth as well as providing mentoring and business skills to promote attractive alternative learning and skills-based opportunities for youth.
For more information on PeaceEarth and the Youth Peacemaker Network, please visit www.peaceearth.org.
NOTES TO EDITORS
About Forest Whitaker:
Award winning artist, Humanist and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Forest Whitaker has dedicated most of his time to extensive humanitarian work. In 2011, he was named UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation for his personal dedication and work in the field of conflict resolution and his commitment to promote humanitarian ideals. He founded the Los Angeles based PeaceEarth Foundation in 2012, and in partnership with Rutgers University, he co-founded of the International Institute for Peace under the auspices of UNESCO. In 2007 he received the Cinema for Peace Award for his selfless and ongoing advocacy for child soldiers, as well as his work with inner-city youth. He was also awarded the Humanitas Prize in 2001. Currently, he serves as a spokesperson for the Ugandan child soldier orphanage Hope North, and is a board member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH). For more information, join the conversation @ForestWhitaker.
About PeaceEarth Foundation:
The PeaceEarth Foundation is dedicated to peace-building and community empowerment in areas of conflict everywhere. Founded in 2012 by Academy Award winning actor Forest Whitaker, the PeaceEarth Foundation works to engage, empower and inspire youth, women, and global citizens to promote peace across the planet. Through on-the-ground programs in Africa and the United States, the PeaceEarth Foundation helps societies affected by conflicts and violence transform into safe and productive communities. For more information, go to www.PeaceEarth.org and join the conversation on Twitter @ForestWhitaker.
About UNESCO Juba:
UNESCO’s mission is to contribute to the building of peace in the minds of men and women. UNESCO Juba is working together with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport and the Ministry of General Education and Instruction, to integrate peace building into educational planning and delivery. The Office’s priorities include increasing literacy rates, promoting lifelong learning, mobilizing science knowledge and policy for sustainable development, addressing social and ethical challenges, fostering cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and in building an inclusive knowledge society through information and communication.
Zain is a leading telecommunications operator across the Middle East and North Africa providing mobile voice and data services to over 41.282 million active customers as of 30 September, 2012. With a commercial presence in 8 countries, Zain operates in the following countries: Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and South Sudan. In Lebanon, the company manages ’touch’ on behalf of the government. In Morocco, Zain has a 15.5% stake in Wana Telecom, now branded ’INWI’, through a joint venture. Zain is listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (stock ticker: ZAIN). For more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit:
About Connect To Learn:
Connect To Learn is a global education initiative launched in 2010. With a growing portfolio of partners now on board, Connect To Learn was designed as a public/private partnership to promote access to a 21st century secondary education for everyone with a special emphasis on girls. The gender focus is due to the challenges girls face in completing their education globally, despite the enormous economic and societal benefits gender parity in education enables. Connect To Learn aims to propagate practical solutions to ensure that people worldwide have access to education, providing secondary school scholarships and other support to keep girls in school, and implementing mobile broadband connectivity in the schools they attend to improve access to learning resources. Connect To Learn is a non-profit venture catalyzed by The Earth Institute at Columbia University as Scientific Advisor, Ericsson as lead ICT partner, and Millennium Promise, an international 501c3, as administrative partner, and other organizations and individuals providing vital contributions. For more information, please go to www.connecttolearn.org. Connect To Learn multimedia content is available at http://www.connecttolearn.org/media/video-library
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