ACCORD in partnership with The African Union (AU) Office of the Youth Envoy (OYE) convened an African Diaspora Intergenerational Dialogue (IGD) on the 15th September, under the theme: Youth Silencing the Guns (STG). This IGD was conducted as the last in a series of six regional IGDs, with the diaspora often being regarded as the sixth region of Africa. This was done to foster co-leadership on the theme of the year, Silencing the Guns under Agenda 2063. This theme was further unpacked into five different sub-themes and these included; a conflict free Africa; silencing poverty, hunger, silencing youth unemployment; silencing gender-based violence; silencing corruption; and silencing climate change.
The purpose of these IGDs is to solicit youth perspectives on the challenges they face, as well as their aspirations towards silencing the guns in Africa. The panel for this IGD was comprised of highly esteemed and prominent African individuals in the diaspora. They included the Permanent Observer of The African Union to the United Nations – H.E. Ambassador Fatima K. Mohammed, Outgoing President of UN General Assembly – H.E. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, Deputy Ambassador of South African Permanent Mission to United Nations – H.E. Xolisa Mabhongo, African Union Peace and Security Department Member – Ms. Mfrekeobong Ukpanah, High Commissioner of South Africa to Canada – H.E. Ambassador Sibongiseni Dlamini-Mntambo, and the President & CEO of African Renaissance and Diaspora Network Inc. – Dr Djibril Diallo.
The IGD identified the key roles and activities that African youth in diaspora can play to promote and advance the STG agenda; as well as the challenges and gaps that hinder the effective participation and contributions of the youth in diaspora to silencing the guns. It further discussed ways to foster intergenerational co-leadership on silencing the guns and the promotion of governance, peace, security, and development.
The recommendations extracted from this IGD are recommendations which do not differ greatly from the five regional intergenerational dialogues that preceded it. There remains a call for youth participation and inclusion in governance, youth leadership development, strengthening the understanding of ‘silencing the guns’ challenges; and enhancing of the implementation on ‘silencing the guns’ programmes.
However, more specifically, it was stressed that the African Diaspora Youth must be actively engaged towards furthering the ‘Silencing the Guns’ agenda, wherever they may find themselves in the world, through innovative outreach programmes. Dialogue processes must be established amongst the African Diaspora to coalesce the community and focus their attention on high-impact areas such as that of the STG Agenda. Additionally, inter-generational Dialogues (IGDs) that involve representatives of the youth, past and current leaders, including the diaspora, must be regularly convened on important issues concerning peace, stability, and development in Africa. A recommendation which garnered much support amongst the panellists was that of international campaigns being strategically designed, with the help of the African diaspora, to attract sustainable long-term international partnerships with governments and organizations that would serve to benefit the youth in Africa. A common recommendation of this series of IGDs surfaced again, in that evidence-based, measurable steps must be taken to incorporate youth in peace-processes, peacebuilding programmes and other development initiatives in the spirit of making co-generational leadership a reality.
This IGD was part of a series of six regional African IGDs convened by ACCORD in cooperation with AU OYE, Kofi Anan Foundation and the There is No Limit Foundation, under the auspices of the STG theme, and is in line with ACCORD’s strategic objective to strengthen, and develop, the capacities of youth to fully participate in peace and security initiatives.