Ministry for Peace – A Youth Ambassador’s perspective

The last two years of the Ministry for Peace have been remarkably successful and I am happy to present to you my own personal reflection. I have also taken the opportunity to include my own input on the future direction for the ministry of peace.  The main points I have to table are a root – level peace programme within schools, social media and correspondence between the ministry and educators. The peace programmes however serve as my main focus.

Firstly, I think the Ministry for Peace has performed effectively in four pivotal areas. It has engaged, informed, motivated and inspired our youth to become active members in acknowledging the value of peace. It has woven schools and communities together with a fabric of peace at events such as the Youth Peace Parliament, International Peace Day, a UN annual meeting, various peace functions for developing student initiative and also, importantly for myself,  a Peace ceremony at Hunters Hill High.

In my experience with these initiatives I have discovered that students not only become aware of the necessity and value of peace, but are inspired to take action to assist its development.  These moving and confronting peace days have contributed to the crystallization of a culture for peace. The days have taught students that society is at an interim stage where there is still evident an abuse of basic human rights, and this motivates students to take pro – active measures within their own lives.

In future years I think most key elements of the previous two year peace program should be retained, but I think there is also a great opportunity for us to build on these successful initiatives.

I believe one direction for the ministry of peace could be to continue propagating its message and grow its partnerships with all schools around the state. It is important in this endeavour that the ministry cater specifically to the world of teenagers.

As a premise for my later ideas, I have identified three general wants in the world of teenagers. That is to socialize, have simplicity in their lives and seek change. I am happy to say that the Ministry for Peace addresses the fundamental aspects of each. However, I think that they can build on all three of these.

How? Well I think that the Ministry of peace could orchestrate and administer the growth of peace awareness within school communities. I think that if the Ministry of Peace would provide a promise of assistance to keen and able students for implementing peace programs within schools, then it will be able to successfully boost the support behind peace.

The peace program, consistent with the wants of teenagers, would need to contain a high degree of socialization, an easy simplicity to its’ implementation and operation, as well as the potential for greater things if is going to engage students. I see the role of the ministry for peace in this is in the provision of resources, such as stimulating posters or public speakers, to effectively engage our youth and entice them to fervently participate in such programs.

The activities of these peace programs would target and limit anti – social behaviour within their direct communities, and disrupt patterns of bullying and delinquent behaviour within schools. It would also be about raising awareness and enhancing peace in local, regional, national and worldwide scales.

It is understood that many schools currently have social justice bodies that promote peace. The role of the Ministry of Peace on such occasions would be to liaise and provide a simple framework for the operations of these bodies, and also open further opportunities for socialization and creating change.

The scope of the ministry of peace will be broadened through this encouragement of peace at an elemental level. The assistance would hopefully cultivate the support for peace within schools to a stage where the schools are fertile grounds for students of caring and benevolent qualities.

I believe it would also be of significance if the Ministry of Peace further facilitated the connections between schools. On a wider scale the Youth Peace Parliament has already provided student communities with an opportunity to expand on their ideas and have them heard by other members of school communities. There is a possibility for improvement in also staging local events between smaller communities of schools which, for the most committed individuals, would progress to the larger realm, i.e. Youth Peace Parliament. This does not necessarily need to be a formal discussion format; perhaps an informal discussion between schools on their various peace initiatives would be a suitable alternative.

The events provided by the ministry can, with this theory, be organised into a pyramid, with events such as Youth Peace Parliament occupying the top tier. This would then connect with closer – knit school relationships and events. The formation of the base of this pyramid will perhaps provide many difficulties, but with the current growth of the Ministry of Peace it has already been demonstrated by the student populace that when, provided with the opportunity, they will participate in peace – building activities. After all, peace is most powerful and desirable state of being.

The base will, through the formation of manpower, carryover to the success of the ministry in the achieving of its objectives. The base should also be more effective at resolving conflict at embryonic stages.

The ministry, I am proud to say, already recognise the significance of eliminating the elements of conflict at micro – levels. Outlined in its objectives is stated that it aims to

  • Facilitate peace education programmes and the establishing of a peace academy

I think in these programmes there must never be an intrusion onto the autonomy of peace programmes. One of the essential elements in the success of peace is that students, out of their own commitment and passion participate in these programs. The ministry for peace must cultivate people’s altruistic nature  to entice students to join the ministry and ignite the passion and excite the intelligence of students, to raise awareness and engage pro – active individuals.

In addition to the peace program I have some ideas that I think have potential.

Firstly, Technology and social media must be included in the method of reaching the minds of our youth. Young people spend countless hours on the internet and it is of growing importance that the Ministry create ways to connect with students online. I am currently aware of the Ministries facebook and twitter pages, and my suggestion would be that, not too long in the future, there could be an online forum or blog set up for voicing opinions and constructive discussion.

Secondly, on the matter concerning school involvement, the ministry of peace could make suggestions to principals and teachers on how they can incorporate peace into their school policies, and possibly their subject matter in areas such as history and English. Units of work could be provided which cater for these subjects.

The future prospects of the Ministry of Peace are incredibly promising. I wish to add that I look forward to contributing to the achievement of peace both within the framework of my school, its surrounding community as well as on state and global levels next year.

“Before religion, race and creed everyone is human.”

 

Kym Cheeseman

MFPA Youth Peace Ambassador

Hunters Hill High