Introduction to the Universal Peace Federation
Today’s Youth, Architects of Peace?
Written by Robin Marsh
The youth of today are architects of peace but they are paying a high price for their desire for a better, more fair and just world. To a standing room only Ballroom in Universal Peace Federation HQ, Lord Jack McConnell addressed the issue of peaceful, youthful idealism and the injustices in the world. These clashed once more resulting in the tragic murder of Tawfik Bensaud, the eighteen year old Libyan activist, in Bengazi last month.
Organised by Dare2Lead and Tutu Foundation together with UPF-UK, the event featured many Libyans who knew Tawfik Bensaud. The testimonies and speeches regarding this tragic loss were very moving. The second part of the programme allowed those who wanted to share and commemorate Tawfik Bensaud's life.
John Loughton, founder of Dare2Lead and the one who initiated this event at short notice, emphasised that young people were disillusioned by the pantomime nature of politics of the House of Commons and Prime Ministers Questions but politics was too important to ignore.
Khoja Huda and Aya Amead gave a passionate testimony to Tawfik Bensaud and the idealism he represented.
Sherif DHAIMISH, reporting on the event in 'Libyan Youth Voices', (Link to full article here) wrote 'Huda Khoja, Tawfik Bensaud's cousin, delivered a moving speech at the event stressing the continued resilience and vision of young civil society in Libya.
“As a youth, how can we propagate peace? Nowadays, we still can’t reach peace in our hands. So many other questions. As a youth how can we make a worldly change in this phenomena? A person showed me through his life story, an answer for all these questions. Tawfik showed me that we can raise the voice of peace in a simple way. Just behaving peacefully as individuals.”
She paused before continuing her brave, intimate account of her cousin. Despite losing his father and his home during the ongoing violence, Tawfik “didn’t allow his grief to overwhelm or frustrate his spirit”, she continued. “He knew he was a target, but from what I see, his passion exceeded his fear.” Huda’s speech conveyed no sign of Libya’s youth slowing down as a result of recent events, and instead, they have ignited the necessity for further action and participation from people around the globe.'
Guest speaker Lord Jack McConnell, former First Minister of Scotland, praised the bravery of Libya’s youth and placed Tawfik and Sami’s death into a global context. Dare2Lead founder John Loughton reflected on the bigger picture, highlighting how there are youths from all walks of life who share Tawfik’s values.
“Hope. Tomorrow can be bright when the past was dark,” He said. “You can shoot our bodies but you can’t kill what we embody…youth can redefine the paradigms of politics.” (Link to full article here and Livestream Video )
Twitter handle #YouthPeaceUK