Aja Musu Bah-Daffeh
The University of The Gambia UNESCO Club and The Legacy, jointly organized a symposium in commemoration of International Youth Day.
The occasion took place recently at the Law Faculty in Kanifing, MDI Road. This brought together students of tertiary institutions and youth leaders to commemorate the day.
The Secretary General and Acting Executive Director of The Legacy, Sheikh Omar Sillah, said as a youth-led NGO, it has recognized that young people are a major human resource for development and key agents for social change, economic growth and technology innovation.
He said the organization has its officials trained in YALI RLC in Ghana and now serve as one of the leading enterprise for leadership training. SG Sillah urged the young to be committed and ready to serve their respective communities for a better world.
“We the young people make up the largest population of the country and can lead the drive to break patterns of the past and set records straight for a more sustainable future,” SG Sillah said.
The President of UTG UNESCO Club, Omar Camara, said the global theme of International Youth Day 2017 is: ‘‘Youth Building Peace.’’ Therefore, he added, the program theme ‘Killing the Tribes for The Nation to Survive,’ cannot come at a better time than now, as the country has unfortunately witnessed some tribal and partisan conflicts in the aftermath of the Presidential and Parliamentary elections.
He said the country’s demography shows the current generation of youth is the largest in history and young people often comprise the majority in countries marked by armed conflicts and unrest. He said considering the needs and aspirations of youth in matters of peace and security is a demographic imperative.
Mr. Camara said young people’s inclusion in the peace and security agenda of society, is key to building and sustaining peace.
He noted “When youth are excluded from political, economic and social spheres and processes, it can be a risk factor for violence and violent forms of conflict. Therefore, identifying and addressing the social exclusion of young people is a precondition for sustaining peace”.
The Chairman of the National Youth Council, Dembo Kambi, in his commemoration statement, expressed delight that the council is ready to work with young people for national development. He spoke at length about the need for youth participation in the development agenda of the new Gambia.
The chief guest speaker, Thony Mikel Howard, a Liberian born international peace advocate and motivational speaker, applauded the organizers for staging such a productive program. He said the easiest way for Gambians to recollect their minds and stop tribalism, is by living according to the dictates of our national anthem.
Mikel urged Gambians to stop paying attention to unnecessary tribal sentiments and support the leadership of President Barrow in an effort to restore the country’s dignity as a museum of Peace in Africa.
The Guest speaker, Momodou Sabally, a former Presidential Affairs Minister and Head of Civil Service on his part said: “These are the challenges of our generation and we must do it now. With a fast evolving global socio-economic reality that leaves a lot to be desired, this is the time to create and control a prosperous Gambia for all and sundry without regard to tribe, region or religious orientation.”
He concluded: “We have very creative and enterprising young people in this country and if given the necessary conducive environment and support, they would thrive and prosper and also boost our nation’s prosperity. After all and having said this, there is no excuse for failure. We cannot afford to fail this nation. We are the youths. We are the world”.