The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah, has urged youth to be soldiers and advocates for peace in their societies. He said that he has always been an advocate for peace and it’s reconstruction in areas where it has become uncommon, and therefore appealed to the youth to pick up the mantle.
Oulanyah was speaking at the fourth edition of the Aga Khan Model United Nations Debate themed; ‘Communication, empowerment and safety: insuring a balanced world for the future.’
The Country Manager of the Aga Khan Education Services, Malik Kotadia said that the Deputy Speaker was selected as Chief Guest because he has been a known advocate for the voice of the youth.
“Oulanyah rose through the ranks as a youth leader, so we deemed it fit that he comes to speak to the youth as an authority with that background,” Kotadia said.
Oulanyah said that youth should use platforms like debates and online presence with which they are conversantto promote peace. “We want the youth to be the soldiers of peace and to advance it; to do this we need a moral foundation of beliefs that advance peace,” he said.
The Deputy Speaker noted that people must always rely on each other to achieve peace, “A journey of life can be equated to a race which would be better if it were peaceful.
“There was a boy who was supposed to participate in a race in special Olympics but it was raining heavily and this would affect him. When the race started the boy collapsed. However his fellow participants stopped the race and came back for him and they all walked to the finish line together.”
Oulanyah added that nobody wins until everyone does. “We are better off all being winners than there being losers amongst us because then there will be no peace,” he added.
The Deputy Speaker said that the best way to go about anything in life is to join hands and efforts.
“There is a spirit of Ubuntu; which means I am because we are. The small things that divide us, which are race and skin color cannot supercede the blood that unites us as humans,” he noted.
Oulanyah added, “We heard of the World Wars and 1948 UN meeting that sat to declare no more wars because it had caused more harm than good.”
The Deputy Speaker also noted that there are rules of engagement in warfare where adversaries are not supposed to attack civilian installations but only military installations.
“Today, the war rules have changed and they don’t discriminate; children and women are attacked or used in war as tools of engagement; we need to change this attitude and be advocates of peace,” he added.
He said that today the world faces challenges which include climate change, political instability, terrorism, and uncontrolled movement of firearms which need to be resolved because they are threat to humanity.
“As you debate, focus on these issues and come up with resolutions which can be shared with the necessary authorities and possibly adopted on a wider platform,” he advised. He also urged the youth to exercise humanity in all their endeavours and engage in acts that impact positively on their surroundings.
“Do not bring negative energy into the equation. As youth, please ensure that you participate in activities that make a positive contribution to the society,” Oulanyah added.
“It means a lot what people think, how they think and how they translate what they think to action to make the world a better place”, he concluded.