IPRA United Nations team looks to the youth

IPRA's U.N. team is supporting young peace scholars' educational enrichment in their efforts as undergraduates, graduate student and community activists.
IPRA UN Team members Cyril Obi, Alejanro Molina, Heidi Boghosian, Sekou Odinga and Matt Meyer (2020)

The New York-based United Nations representatives of the International Peace Research Association, or IPRA, who have focused on disarmament, decolonization, and human rights issues, are now beginning their third year of a special focus on student and youth participation in peace, international and U.N.-related affairs. The IPRA U.N. Team, led by IPRA co-Secretary General Matt Meyer and long-time member Frances Peterson, is proud and pleased to welcome back Cyril Obi, program director of the African Peacebuilding Network and the Next General Social Sciences in Africa project of the prestigious Social Science Research Council. Other team members include Alejandro Molina of the Boricua Human Rights Network, Sekou Odinga of the Spirit of Mandela Campaign, and Heidi Boghosian of the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute. We are also excited about new collaborative efforts with the Global Network of Women Peacemakers.

IPRA UN Team member Frances Peterson at the General Assembly. (IPRA)

The youth focus of the U.N. team centers on spotlighting young peace scholars, who receive support and educational enrichment in their efforts as undergraduates, graduate student and community activists. The 2018 inaugural group included a visit to the U.N. headquarters in New York, and a lunch featuring presentations from recent George Mason Ph.D graduate Sixte Vigny Nimuraba of Burundi, and from IPRA former Main Representative Emily Welty, who was part of the core team of 2017 Nobel Peace Prize recipients from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. Welty continues to work closely with us, mainly now as a U.N. representative of the World Council of Churches. In 2019, the youth spotlight included students from Mount Holyoke, Temple University, Rutgers, Miami University and others.

Wampanoag Youth leaders Brian Moskwetah Weedan, Princess Daycia Frye and Abigail Peters (IPRA/Matt Meyer)

One special event of the 2018-2019 academic year was a collaboration between the IPRA U.N. Team and the University of Massachusetts/Amherst Resistance Studies Initiative. A multi-generational gathering of indigenous scholars, students and peacemakers came together to share experiences, discuss best practices, and think strategically about the future.

Those in attendance included international figures, such as Brian Moskwetah Weedan, a Wampanoag Mashpee tribal council member, Aquinnah youth coordinator, and advisor to the United National Indian Tribal Youth executive committee. Local and regional youth were also represented, such as Mashpee 2019 Pow-wow Princess Daycia Frye, Abigail Peters, and Nia Holley of the Nipmuc Nation. Another participant — poet Margo Tamez — was keynote speaker at the 2019 conference of the Peace and Justice Studies Association in Canada. As noted by the indigenous peoples from across the hemisphere and planet, “Peace requires resistance, and resistance has, can, and must take many different forms.”

This story was produced by IPRA Peace Search

Founded in 1964 to advance research on the conditions of peace and the causes of war and violence — with five regional associations covering every corner of the planet — the International Peace Research Association (IPRA) is the world’s most established multi-disciplinary professional organization in the field of peace, human rights and conflict studies.

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