Around a hundred youth volunteers from around the world will take part in the second International Conference on Youth Volunteering and Dialogue, which will be held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris from 25-27 September. This year’s theme is “Preventing Violent Extremism and Strengthening Social Inclusion.”
Organised by UNESCO with the financial support of the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Programme for a Culture of Peace and Dialogue, this conference aims to highlight the importance of youth volunteers in tackling worldwide challenges. It will also provide a platform for exchanging ideas to influence the international peace and development agenda, and to reinforce international collaboration between young volunteers.
The idea of the Conference is to promote solidarity, empathy, critical thinking, social engagement and civic participation. The discussions will focus on four main themes – refugees and migration, the importance of intercultural education, the role of the media and social media in constructing positive dialogue, and youth engagement with cultural heritage and the arts. Participants will be initiated in different techniques, such as dramatic arts workshops, the concept of the “human library” – a technique to counter discrimination – and the role of sport in combating violence.
Key partner organisations for this initiative such as the United National Volunteers programme, the Scouts, the King Abdulaziz Centre for National Dialogue will be represented at the highest level, as well as the Coordinating Committee for International Volunteering and the UNESCO field offices of Nigeria, Thailand, Lebanon and Zimbabwe.
Volunteering can help reinforce young people’s feeling of belonging, their motivation and skills, all of which are key elements in constructive dialogue between and within communities. Young people have an essential role to play tackling the challenges linked to development, particularly in the current international context with the proliferation of extremist discourse and violence.