s1100012On 8 November 2016, the World YWCA, the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Arab Federation for Human Rights hosted a side event to the Geneva Peace Week, on the role of religious leaders and youth in promoting peace. The event was part of the World YWCA’s overall vision to transform power structures to create justice, gender equality and a world without violence and war.

The key note speakers included:

  • Rima Salah, Secretary General, United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) ) and a dear friend of the World YWCA movement
  • Elaine Neuenfeldt, Secretary for Women in Church and Society Lutheran World Federation (moderator)
  • Christine Housel, Arab Federation of Human Rights
  • Carla Khihojan, Programme Executive for Youth Engagement in the Ecumenical Movement

Each panellist shared experiences from their work to illustrate their perspective on how we can all play a role in preventing conflict, shunning hate and nurturing a culture of peace with tolerance for diverse values & opinions.

“In this new era of building and sustaining peace, we can elevate the wider role of religious leaders and youth on the global peace agenda” said Rima Salah.

The panellists all agreed, with Christine Housel adding “We also need intergenerational collaboration and that religion cannot be ignored as an important part of life for many people.”

Carla Khihojan shared good practices and success stories on how to sustain peace in the long term by providing economic empowerment programmes for young people who live in difficult conditions and may become easy targets for radicalism.