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A call for peace from future leaders

Maajid Nawaz

(The Jakarta Post) – This year’s One Young World Summit was the most global ever with 1,300 delegates from 196 countries voicing their concern in unison about real issues, including ongoing terrorism attacks around the world.

The delegates, who have worked on alleviating global threats locally for the past few years and were invited to share their ideas and works with their worldwide counterparts in Bangkok, Thailand, stood up against terror on the last day of the summit on Nov. 21.

At the Peace and Security session, all of the counsellors and delegate speakers reflected on terrorist attacks in Mali, France, Lebanon and Iraq in the week before the summit started in emotional speeches.

The keynote address, given by Maajid Nawaz, the co-founder of the Quilliam Foundation and a former Islamist, contained his insight into the mindsets of young people radicalized by the Islamic State (IS) movement and other terror organizations.

For a first step in finding a solution, he said, a “Voldemort effect” had to be introduced.

“We have to be able to name the ideology in order to defeat it,” he said.

Libyan delegate Fatma Elzahra Elshhati has worked to advance freedom of speech in her country since 2011 and said all that she was doing was making sure that journalists were heard and that censorship did not destroy their integrity.

“Too many voices are confronted with too many weapons in Libya and those with weapons have a seat at the negotiating table,” she said.

Israeli Noam Shuster also received a standing ovation for her emotional speech about Arab-Israeli relations.

She co-founded Interpeace where she promotes collaboration between different stakeholders in order to work towards a sustainable peace building process.

Palestinian delegate Eman Hamdan raised her hand at the end of Noam’s address and said that she would be returning home to tell people that the speech that inspired her most at the summit was from an Israeli.

The last speaker of the session was Francois Reyes from France who set up think-tank Réveil Citoyen (Citizen Awakening) in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January.

The latest horrific scenes in central Paris, he said, had completely erased the think-tank’s progress so far in generating understanding, himself claiming that the victims were killed by “cowards who wrongly believed that they killed in the name of religion”.

“[However,] being here restored my confidence that we can overcome intolerance. I will continue to work towards limiting extremism, both in the form of Islamism and in the form of the right-wing extremism that is more and more prevalent in France.”

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