Online Toolkit

Part 3 - The Peace Bag Partners, Projects, and Peacebuilders

The Netherlands

UNOY - United Network of Young Peacebuilders is a global network of youth peace organisations that contribute to its members' work through capacity building, advocacy and campaigning. The vision of UNOY Peacebuilders is "youth committed to building together a world in which peace, justice, solidarity, human dignity and respect for nature prevail". The mission is to connect young people's initiatives for peace in a global network of young peacebuilders, to help empower their capacities and increase the effectiveness of their actions. The main areas of action are networking, training, empowerment for action/support to youth projects, campaigning and advocacy, and practical research on the role of youth in peacebuilding. It is composed of independent organisations working together in an action-based campaign and other activities to fulfil its mission. The network is non-hierarchical. Member organisations are not branches or representatives of UNOY Peacebuilders. They preserve their own identity, goals and strategies to deal with their local and regional challenges.

Youth Advocacy Team on the Culture of Peace
Peace Advocacy and Campaigning at the United Nations

In 2005 and 2006, the United Network of Young Peacebuilders organized Youth Advocacy Teams with a focus on the Culture of Peace and youth participation in decision-making.

The YAT 2005, in cooperation with Fundación Cultura de Paz, successfully lobbied for the number of signatories of the Culture of Peace Resolution to increase from 66 in 2004 to 105 in 2005. They also drafted an amendment to the resolution that was passed by the General Assembly, commending civil society and young people for their activities in further promoting the international decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence.

In 2006, the Youth Advocacy Team met with the representatives of 67 permanent missions, in many cases the ambassadors themselves, as well as representatives from several organs of the UN. They managed to move the UN closer to a culture of peace by including an amendment to the 2006 Resolution on the Culture of Peace.

The amendment includes the culture of peace in the mandate of the Peacebuilding Commission. The YAT also managed to increase the number of co-sponsors to the 2006 resolution from 105 to 114. They gained recognition for the efforts of the youth to mobilize a change by the Ambassador of Bangladesh, and were recognized in the UN news agency Media Alert and several other official UN press releases.

Finally, the Global Youth Report on the Culture of Peace was included in the high-level report of Alliance of Civilizations, and as a "decisive contribution to the Culture of Peace", the creation of a Global Youth Leadership Fund that was eventually launched in 2008.

The YAT delivered the World Civil Society Mid Decade Report which, was compiled by Fundación Cultura de Paz to give UNOY Peacebuilders more publicity. UNOY Peacebuilders were explicitly recognized in the speeches of the Representative of the European Union: "The European Union pays particular tribute to the United Network of Young Peacebuilders. Their work is an example to us all and evidence of the role that civil society can play in advancing a culture of peace." Adam Thomson, rep. of EU, at the UN General Assembly, 20 October 2005.

Since then, UNOY Peacebuilders and partners have done local follow-up meetings and projects. In 2010, UNOY Peacebuilders was part of the youth team that compiled the End of Decade Report for a Culture of Peace.

Methods used: Lobbying and advocacy work.

Culture Clash4U is a foundation for young people, engaged in projects aimed at promoting interculturalism and youth participation in the Netherlands. Their aim is to create an environment in which different cultures respect and interact with each other, living together in peace. Members have different cultural backgrounds, including 12 nationalities spanning 4 continents!

CC4U has operated for over 4 years, and in that short time has organised and successfully completed over fifty projects, including: debates, events, movies, music performances and plays; in collaboration with Den Haag Marketing (Peace Hague in 2009), The Hague OCW (Pangea Festival, Street Life, Summer Clash), and Culturalis (Comedy Club, open stage). In addition, CC4U has also completed three development projects – in India, Nepal, and Kenya. [52] "Samen vormen wij Culture Clash 4CC4U organiseert en voert uiteenlop"

STREETLIFE: the intercultural talent show Culture and arts, intercultural dialogue

The project STREETLIFE gathered young people from 15-30 years of age from different cultures, races and backgrounds, and created an artistic talent show in the Netherlands.

The aim of the project was to promote intercultural dialogue through talent, and to raise awareness of youth issues, while providing young people with the opportunity to collaborate.

Activities: Young people signed themselves up for a talent show with the theme of "Cooperation and Collaboration." In their performance they were able to show their opinions, express their thoughts, and deliver a message on the topic through dancing, singing, rapping, stand-up comedy, or showcasing any other talent.
The contest was divided into categories, with a jury deciding on the finalists. At the end of the project, one final show was organized in the theatre. Here, the public was able to see the talents of the young people in their area, and to start the dialogue on cooperation and collaboration.

Method used: Talent show.

Results: The project gave young people a platform to express themselves and show their talents. It also made them think about the topic of "Cooperation and Collaboration", and its importance in peace education and conflict resolution.

Meet a Peacebuilder:

Vrede! – My name is Roosmarijn. Being born in the Netherlands, a wealthy Western-European country with a liberal character, peace is the norm and violence, the exception. However, when I grew older I soon learned that the peace I consider to be normal is actually quite extraordinary. In many parts of the world violence is the order of the day. This knowledge inspired me to learn more about peace. I chose to study conflict studies, because I thought that to know peace, you must know conflict. This is true to a certain extent, by learning about the origins of conflict I also learned about their prevention and solution, but this is too limited a view. Because peace is so much more than the opposite of war. It is tolerance, respect and inclusiveness. Peace to me means being open-minded towards everything you hear, towards everything you read and towards everyone you meet. Something which I think young people are especially good at. Above all, peace is accepting differences and treating everyone equally in all our diversity.

The country

There are issues in Dutch society that prevent a culture of peace. There is an increasing problem of 'discrimination' as allochtoons (immigrants and their descendants) feel alienated in integrating themselves between two cultures, while autochtoons (ethnic Dutch) feel their traditional values are being threatened. The Dutch government is mapping out a way of solving these issues, including spatial problems.

Hosting the peace capital of the world in The Hague, the Netherlands has a number of institutions and organisations working on the culture of peace with young people. The government is also working on tackling youth unemployment and apathy. Yet even with these challenges, young people are still actively involved with current issues. If and when significant socio-political issues arise, young people organise themselves whether in networks, organisational (political) parties, groups, and councils to have their voices heard.

People of 200 different nationalities live in Amsterdam, and The Netherlands has the highest number of part-time workers in the European Union (four in ten people).[53]