Panel Discussion – Perspectives on Youth Volunteerism in Preventing Violent Extremism

Wednesday, 2 October 2019 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

“Media plays a pivotal role in promoting and combating extremism. Today, countering extremism has become difficult from the precedent that has been set in the past. Little triggers that are highlighted in the media penetrates society in a bad way. It is critical to get more youth involved in print media and investigative journalism. People are losing their sense of responsibility to report on social media. We need to see how we can address violence within our home fronts – without demonising minorities and looking at successful interventions that can promote non-violence among youth.”

– Kamanthi Wickramasinghe, Journalist

“One of the main problems I see in youth through my experiences in the last decade is that there seems to be a reluctance in addressing violent extremism. It is by acknowledging the problem that we can find a solution. We are part of the system that needs to be broken down. We fail to identify that we have the potential to change the world that we are living in. The moment that we identify that we can change is the turning point. First, we need to do things for our generation.”

-Krishan Balaaji, District Rotaract Representative, D3220, Sri Lanka and the Maldives

“There’s a lot of scepticism going on towards youth-led initiatives. Youth are not taken seriously in society. There are multifaceted issues that Sri Lanka faces. We must try to understand the realities of grassroots and go beyond the statistics. Some of the youth have different priorities in life. They might be interested in peacebuilding efforts but getting food on their table comes first.”

– Dishani Senarathne, Member of Youth Peace Panel.

“The youth force has to be channelled into something positive. At our organisation, we train the second generation to take over and get them involved in the decision-making process. We also encourage the managers to give the responsibility to youth. It is a difficult call but the private sector has a responsibility to push their youth into the deep end of the pool. We are a sensitive nation. If we can we coach the youth to use their emotions consciously they can convey the right message to the society as agents of change.”

– Niroza Gazzali, Chief Process Officer, Expo Freight Ltd. (EFL).