Building Youth Capacity for Peace in Nigeria

 
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New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation is very to announce and report that Professor Sanjay Misra, a renowned Professor of Computer Engineering will deliver a Keynote Address at the 1st National Summit on Education for Peace and Development. The National Summit is scheduled to hold at the Jos Hillstation Hotel on Saturday, September 26, 2015.

The overall goal of the Summit is to provide a platform for the integration of principles, values and practices of sustainable development into aspects of education and learning that will facilitate behaviour change and create a more peaceful and sustainable future, in terms of environmental integrity, economic viability and a just society for present and future generations. The National Summit will provide a platform for peer-to-peer conversations that address the social-emotional competencies and practices that are vital for coping with the challenges of an increasingly complex work. The National Summit is deeply grounded in the philosophy that:

*‘Education of the heart’ will help foster caring, responsible and accountable global citizens.
*Cross-cultural conversations help people reach across the things that divide them — nationality, ethnicity, religious affiliation, wars and geography.

Professor Sanjay Misra is Full Professor of Computer Engineering at Covenant University, OTA, Nigeria. He has 21 years of wide experience in academic administration and researches in various universities in Asia, Europe and Africa. He is a software engineer and previously held academic positions at FUT Minna – Nigeria(as Head Department of Computer Engineering(Feb 2010-September 2011) and Head of Cyber security Department(Oct 2011-Sep 2012), Atilim University – Turkey, Subharati University and UP Technical University – India. He is also visiting professor at the University of Alcala – Spain(since 2011-), UCV- Valparaiso – Chile(since 2013-), UNICEN, Tandil – Argentina(since 2011-), and Atilim University – Turkey(since 2011-). His current researches cover the areas of software quality, software process improvement, software project management, object oriented technologies, XML, SOA, Web services, cognitive informatics, artificial intelligence, neural network, health Informatics, e-learning, cloud computing and cyber security. Prof Sanjay is coordinating/working/collaborating with several research groups (as visiting/adjunct/ professor/collaborative researcher) in various universities and industry around the world (Spain, Argentina, Turkey, Singapore, Chili, Brazil, Mexico, Norway, France, South Africa, Malaysia, Nigeria, Myanmar, Vietnam, India). He has author/coauthor in more than 150 papers– (with colleagues from nearly 20 countries) and majority the publications are in ISI Web of Sciences and got several awards for outstanding publications. Recently, Institute of Engineering and Technology(IET), United Kingdom awarded him ‘2014 IET Software Premium Award’  for Best Paper published in last two years. He has delivered 17 plenary and keynote speeches (IEEE, Springer, Elsevier sponsored conferences) and 30 invited talks (workshops/seminars/lecture) in various universities and institutions in more than 30 Countries. He is editor in
chief of the book series on Advances in IT Personals and Project management (IGI Global),
 author of 1 book and editor (one of) in 20 Lecture Notes in Computer Science (Springer), 5 IEEE conference proceedings. He is General Chair of 6th IEEE ICAST: 2014 and founder chair of 3 annual international workshops: Software Engineering Process and Applications (SEPA), Springer (2009-2015), Tools and Techniques in Software Development Process, IEEE (2009-2015), Software Quality, IEEE (2009), LNCS (2011-2015) and Software Metrics and Measurement, IEEE (2009). Presently, he is Editor in chief editor of International Journal of Physical Sciences, founder EIC of Covenant Journal of ICT and International Journal of Computer Science and Software Technology, and also serving as editor, associates editor and editorial board members of many journals (more than 20) of international repute.

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New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation is pleased to announce the hosting of the 7th International Conference on Youth and Interfaith Dialogue, from October 23-24, 2015, in Abuja, Nigeria. The theme of this year's conference is: "The Role of Religions to Build Peace & Security and Transcend Violent Extremism in Africa", 

The conference will engage participants in a dynamic experience of faith development as well as challenge them to positively respond to the universal call to holiness. Our world today more than ever before is faced with the challenge of overcoming the "faith divide" and the global citizenship divide in order to build the bridge of all bridges, the interreligious and international bridge that connects all humanity to God. The conference will create and promote interfaith collaboration and build bridges of trust, friendship and partnership among religiously diverse youth and provide a platform for local, national, regional and international collaboration. Conference participants will include Community leaders and activists, NGO  representatives, Political leaders, Religious/Spiritual leaders, Peace activists, Government representatives, Students, Cultural/Ethnic and Spiritual Community representatives, Human Service providers, Academics, Social Science researchers, Key participants from current or recent regions of turmoil in Nigeria, Visionaries and front-line thinkers in social-political principles, psycho-social-spiritual dynamics, and human consciousness and members of the interested public from Nigeria and around the world.

Conference objectives include to:

Ø  Raise the level, depth, and breadth of public dialogue and awareness on core issues. The conference examines dimensions and dynamics of "The OTHER" on individual and group levels, and considers how enemy identity is formed, perpetuated, and manipulated.

Ø  Identify and compile fundamental questions, dilemmas, and implications for further deep inquiry and examination in an expanding public dialogue, and to challenge embedded negative belief systems that promote adversarial perceptions of the "The Other."

Ø  Formulate findings and products to make available to all - through publications, media, the Internet, educational curriculum, networks, community based dialogue groups, etc.

Ø  Create Networking Opportunities to promote collaboration, action planning, and next steps following the conference.

Ø  Tap our shared wisdom, compassion, and responsibility as a community - from the local to the global - in developing practical applications. Participants are encouraged to develop and share practical recommendations and strategies for applying results to the current state of local and world relationships to promote increased understanding, sensitivity, and compassion as a means of countering and neutralizing hostility, particularly inter-group hostility.

Through this Conference, we will continue and sustain our modest efforts to promote an inclusive, compassionate community dialogue process that honours different personal experiences, perspectives, and narratives, while allowing for better expressing and listening to each other as we work together toward understanding and harmony.

On Saturday, November 29, 2014, New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation and Universal Peace Federation- Nigeria, in partnership with United Religions Initiative (URI-AFRICA) and the Bege Foundation, Jos, successfully hosted the 6th International Conference on Youth and Interfaith Dialogue and the Religious Youth Assembly, at the National Merit House, Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Maitama, Abuja, Nigeria.

The Conference was attended by 120 religious youth leaders and adult mentors from  Islam, Pentecostals, Eckankar, Rosicrucian Order, Catholics, Brotherhood of Cross and Star, the Unification Movement, Deeper Life and other faith based and interfaith civil society organizations, political and community leaders, etc.

The Theme of the 6th International Conference on Youth and Interfaith Dialogue was: “The Role of Religions to Build Peace, Security and Counter Violent Extremism in Africa”. The conference engaged the participants in a dynamic experience of faith development, challenged them to positively respond to the universal call to holiness as well as created and promoted interfaith collaboration, built bridges of trust, friendship and partnership among religiously diverse youth and provided a platform for local, national, regional and international collaboration. The 6th Conference on Youth and Interfaith Dialogue and the Religious Youth Assembly (RYA) ended with the resolution by religious youth leaders making a determination and commitment to work together beyond their religious denominations for the sake of national peace and unification.

After thorough deliberations on the presentations at the 6th International Conference on Youth and Interfaith Dialogue and the Religious Youth Assembly in Abuja, participants offered the following proposals:

  • There is an urgent need for the establishment of a Federal Ministry for Interreligious Affairs and the creation of National Assembly committee on interreligious affairs to respondto religious issues
  • The Federal Government of Nigeria needs to be commended for the establishment of the national mosque and national church in Abuja. However, there is the need to provide a platform for the recognition of the voices and activities of other religious groups in Nigeria and a national interreligious center should be established in Abuja and in each state of the nation as the worship place for all religious groups.
  • The Ministry of Education needs to work with other stakeholders to develop a national curriculum on interreligious education for families, schools and worship centers
  • To complement the efforts toward promoting national unity and integration through the National Youth Service Corps scheme, the UPF initiative of Religious Youth Service needs to be promoted and adopted by the religious institutions in Nigeria as a platform for religious youths to serve their communities and the nation and the government should consider integrating the Religious Youth Service scheme into the National Youth Service Corps scheme so that other youths in the country can have an opportunity for community service.
  • There is an urgent need for the establishment of national interreligious youth council as the lower chamber for religious youth leaders engagement to complement the present efforts of the National Interreligious Council (NIREC) which has no youth representative at the moment
  • A formal request should be made to the federal government of Nigeria to look into the issues of promoting interreligious pilgrimages and sponsorship of religious youth leaders to participate in the Interfaith peacebuilding courses to be trained as young interreligious leaders
  • All religious groups in Nigeria should be mobilized to participate in the 2015 world interfaith harmony week in the first week of February 2015. Participants also expressed concern about the increasing wave of religious extremism and called on all religious youths in Nigeria to embrace dialogue as a strategy for resolution of conflicts instead of embarking on violent killing of fellow citizens.

At the Conference, three (3) individuals were recognized and honored with the PEACE HEROES AWARDS, for their outstanding efforts, work and commitment to peacebuilding, social justice and positive change in Nigeria. The Individuals were:

  1. Alh. Salis Abdulsalam Muhammad, Founder/CEO of Displaced Women and Children Foundation/Face of Peace
  1. Ema Miroslava Billings, Mediation Training Coordinator, Search for Common Grounds-Nigeria
  2. Hon. Idris Halilu, Caretaker Chairman, Tafawa Balewa Local Government Council, Bauchi State, Nigeria

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Dear Friends,
Greetings, peace and blessings to you. I hope this update finds you well. Thank you most sincerely. I am very pleased to report to you that from August 13-23, 2014, I was in New York, at the invitation of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), as Resource Person/co-facilitator at the 2014 UNAOC-EF Summer School. Participants were hosted at the Education First (EF) historic 25-acre American campus in Tarrytown, New York, which boasts on site residences, student lounges, a fitness center and swimming pool.

The UNAOC-EF Summer School is based on the conviction that youth are a driving force for positive social change. The week-long Summer School brought together Seventy (75) young intercultural leaders, selected from 73 countries, to address pressing global challenges, within the context of cultural and religious diversity. Lasting global change comes from collaboration across borders. By attracting youth from a multitude of backgrounds, the UNAOC – EF Summer School advances the search for shared solutions to the next level. The highly interactive program immersed participants in the essentials of global citizenship. Seminars, workshops, and roundtable discussions challenged participants and increased their impact as leaders in their fields.

I joined other Resource Persons from the UNAOC Intercultural Leaders Network, facilitated the daily Discussion Sessions and also led the “Building Alliances Session”. During this Session, facilitators, working as a team, gave participants an overview of their own experience of “Building Alliances” in their communities/countries. Resource Persons facilitated group-work exercises that gave participants the opportunity to:

1. Integrate the notions and practice the skills discussed; and
2. Reflect on how they can apply them or not to their own contexts
Presentations exposed best practices and lessons learned in the following areas:
1. Peacebuilding; negotiation; mediation; reconciliation and forgiveness; promoting social justice and opportunities for minorities, migrants, or other marginalized groups; and
2. Examples of building trust and mutual respect between different groups.

Among the major highlight of the Summer School included a guided tour of the United Nations headquarters in New York City. Participants toured the General Assembly Hall, the ECOSOC and explored a variety of exhibits detailing the history of the UN and learnt about how the UN addresses issues such as disarmament, peace and security. Participants also had the priviledge of an audience with the United Nations Deputy Secretary General, Jan Kenneth Eliasson. Participants also had a picnic at the Central Park in New York and a Boat Ride to the Statue of Liberty.

Dear Friends,

We are very pleased to report to you that from June 1-6, 2014, Executive Director of New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation, Emmanuel Ande Ivorgba, was in New York City at the invitation of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) to participate in a workshop aimed at developing operational guidance and guidelines on young peoples’ participation in peacebuilding. The workshop, organized by the Sub-Working Group on Youth Participation in Peacebuilding of the United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD) which is composed of United Nations (UN) entities such as the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), non-governmental Organizations, academics and young adults, was conducted at the Girls Scouts Office, 420 Fifth Avenue, New York City, USA.

This guidance is intended to be concrete and evidence-based, as well support the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of successful youth programs on the ground, and to turn the recently launched Guiding Principles on Young People’s Participation in Peacebuilding into concrete measureable actions. Key objectives of the workshop included:

  1. Agreement on key issues and parameters for operational guidelines on young people’s participation in peacebuilding, including selection of thematic sections
  2. Agreement on the key elements of the process for developing the guidelines on young people’s participation in peacebuilding, including consultation methodology, key stakeholders, timeline, and any additional capacity requirements.

United Nations Agencies, Donors Organizations, International and local youth-based, youth focused Organizations represented at the workshop included: Office of the Secretary-General Envoy on Youth, Office of SRSG CAAC, UN Alliance of Civilizations, UN DESA Youth, UNDP, UNFPA, UN-HABITAT, UNICEF, UNIDO, UN PBSO, UN WOMEN, Search for Common Ground, Baha’i International Community, Communities Without Boundaries, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP), World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scout, World Vision International, Center for Youth Work (Serbia), Open Society Foundation, USAID, Association Nigérienne pour La Promotion des Jeunes, Chanan Development Association  (Pakistan), Youth in Action for development (Sierra Leone), New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation (Nigeria), Peace Spiral Project – Culture of Peace, Interculturality and Human Rights, N, ational Council of Educational Promotion – CONAFE (Mexico), New England Conservatory, etc. The workshop also provided an opportunity for New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation’s Executive Director to make presentation on the peacebuilding and programs with young people to the UN Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD).

The UN Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD) is co-chaired by Cecile Mazzacurati, Policy Officer, Youth and Gender at the UN Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO)/UNFPA and Lakshitha Saji Prelis, Director, Children and Youth Programmes at the Search for Common Ground.

New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation also attended a preparatory meeting with Isabelle Legare, United Alliance of Civilization’s Programming Coordinator at the UNAOC Office located at 405 Lexington Avenue, New York, USA.

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Project Leader

Dr. Ivorgba Emmanuel Ande

Jos, Plateau State Nigeria

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