Is sustained world peace really possible in the 21st century? This is the question being addressed at a summit in the Malaysian city of Kuching. Global figures and representatives of the world’s most influential organizations from all sectors of society are taking part in debates, workshops and other activities to share their knowledge and experience. The focus is on how young people, in particular, can help to ensure that peace is possible for all.
Key speakers include the Chief Minister of Sarawak, the former Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, and the former child soldier turned pop star, Emmanuel Jal. Representatives from UNDP and other international organizations are among the participants.
The International Peace Summit has been organized by the Junior Chamber International (JCI) in partnership with the State of Sarawak which prides itself on its cultural and religious diversity. The Secretary-General of JCI, Arrey Obenson, explained that this was the reason for the choice of venue: “We are extremely proud to partner with the State of Sarawak, one of the most astonishingly diverse and peaceful places in Southeast Asia, to create a forum to work towards that most elusive but essential goal – world peace.”
The JCI has worked for over 100 years to bring young people together and demonstrate that with dialogue and hard work, anything is possible. The JCI says it hopes the peace summit will create a legacy of togetherness and propose innovative policies and methods which civil society can put into practice for world peace.
The summit comes at a time of heightened global tensions, with increased volatility in the Middle East and on the Korean peninsula. As governments around the world struggle to come to terms with this new geopolitical reality the JCI believes it is vital that civil society comes together. It hopes the summit will provide an international platform for dialogue and inspire people around the world to work towards long-term peace.
With almost every part of the world riven by conflict and discord, it is easy to be cynical about the prospects for peace. One has to give credit to the summit organizers for trying to convince people that peace might not be an elusive dream.