Youth authors discuss disarmament during virtual event on World Storytelling Day
Through its #Youth4Disarmament initiative, the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) seeks to engage, educate, and empower young people to facilitate their meaningful contribution to disarmament efforts.
The “Spotlight Stories” section of the #Youth4Disarmament initiative’s dedicated website provides young people a platform to share – in their own voices and from their own perspectives – why the work of disarmament is critical to building peace and how they are helping to push the field forward.
A compilation of Spotlight Stories have been turned into a publication titled, "B flat ♭ , B sharp ♯ , Be inspired – Voices of Youth". The “Voices of Youth” book is a special edition of the “Civil Society and Disarmament” series and the first dedicated publication of the #Youth4Disarmament initiative. It aims to elevate the visibility of the youth authors’ contributions, amplify their voices, and encourage more young people to share their experiences as agents of change for disarmament.
Virtual Roundtable Discussion on “The Power of Storytelling: Voices of Youth for Disarmament”
To celebrate and promote the dissemination of the Voices of Youth publication, #Youth4Disarmament hosted a roundtable discussion with several of the contributing authors to share their stories and discuss the importance of storytelling as an avenue to engage and empower young people in disarmament efforts. The roundtable discussion took place on 20 March 2023 – World Storytelling Day and the International Day of Happiness.
The event sought to promote peer-to-peer and intergenerational exchange between the authors and participants to share their personal journeys into the disarmament field, discuss opportunities for future engagements, and provide guidance on ways to get involved. 80 virtual participants attended the event.
Speakers included Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Ms. Soo Hyun Kim, Political Affairs Officer and #Youth4Disarmament Lead, UNODA, Mr. Sunghoon Kim, Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations, Mr. Conleth Brady, First Secretary at the Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations, and Ms. Radha Day, Chief of the Regional Disarmament, Information and Outreach Branch, UNODA.
In their remarks, the speakers highlighted the important role of young people as leaders and agents of positive change.
During her opening remarks, Ms. Nakamitsu thanked the young people who contributed their stories to the publication, as well as the Republic of Korea for the strong political and financial support to UNODA’s Youth4Disarmament initiative. On the importance of storytelling for disarmament, Ms. Nakamitsu said that,
“Listening to individual stories of young people who strive to make the world a better place and hearing their collective calls for peace can also inspire us to do better, while empowering them in their pursuit of a more peaceful, just and secure world.”
Three members of the #Leaders4Tomorrow programme – Ms. Christelle Barakat, Mr. Musa Carew, and Ms. Zainab Rauf Tramboo – who had contributed to the Voices of Youth publication participated as panelists, together with Ms. Venessa Hanson, Social Media Officer at ICAN.
The youth leaders spoke about their entry into the field of disarmament and their story so far. Ms. Barakat reflected on the lasting influence of the stories of the hibakusha – the survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Mr. Carew spoke about his passion for youth engagement on the local level, including through his organization, Peace Drive. Ms. Tramboo mentioned the impact that arts and storytelling can have in engaging young people on disarmament topics. Finally, Ms. Hanson spoke about the role of social media in reaching beyond the traditional disarmament community. The roundtable discussion was moderated by Ms. Marykate Monaghan, Youth Outreach Consultant with the #Youth4Disarmament initiative.
The “B flat ♭ , B sharp ♯ , Be inspired – Voices of Youth” publication provided a creative outlet for youth authors to raise awareness on the importance of disarmament, non-proliferation, and arms control – and how young people are helping to push the field of disarmament forward.