Ayesha Hashem selected to represent Afghanistan in programme to empower, connect and accelerate the work of young leaders preventing violent conflict.
15th Jan 2019, LONDON: Ayesha has been named a One Young World and European Commission Peace Ambassador – an initiative developed to accelerate the efforts of young leaders in preventing and countering violent extremism, building peace, and promoting conflict resolution globally.
Ayesha is a human rights activist, policy specialist and development enthusiast working on gender inclusive growth and sustainable development issues in Afghanistan including The Imam Initiative Project which has trained over 5000 Imams across Afghanistan to advocate for the social, political and economic rights of Afghan women.
Ayesha was selected to join the Peace Ambassador network as part of a nationwide search for the world’s most impactful young peace-builders. In the two years since the initiative was launched, One Young World and the European Commission have identified 120 young leaders from 97 countries building lasting peace. The work of Peace Ambassadors focuses on both the direct and indirect causes of violence – ranging from countering the harmful effects of environmental change to promoting social inclusion.
As a Peace Ambassador Ayesha was invited to participate in the annual One Young World Summit, the global forum for young leaders. Held in The Hague, The Netherlands the Summit brought together 1,800 delegates from every country and sector. Other participants included former UK Prime Ministers John Major and Gordon Brown, Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus and Nobel peace prize winner Tawakkol Karman.
In March 2019, the Peace Ambassadors will be gathering again in Kigali, Rwanda, for ‘United Futures: Lessons from Rwanda’, the One Young World Caucus on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism.
Other One Young World Peace Ambassadors include:
● Satta Sheriff, Liberia – Founder of Youth in Action for Peace and Empowerment, an NGO dedicated to defending and protecting the rights of Liberian children and vulnerable groups. Satta has won numerous awards for her work campaigning for changes to rape laws, promoting children’s rights, and ensuring safe spaces for Liberian girls.
● Irwin Iradukunda, Burundi – A social justice activist leading advocacy work in the fields of human rights and social development. His work focuses on marginalised communities, including the LGBTQI community and sex workers across Africa.
● Achaleke Christian, Cameroon – Founder of Prisonpreneurs, a rapidly-expanding initiative that was established to counter one of the biggest causes of violent extremism: poverty and lack of economic opportunities. It provides employment to young people in prison, many of whom have been radicalised by Boko Haram.
● Ahlem Nasraoui, Tunisia – A nominee of for the UN’s Intercultural Innovation Award, Ahlem is fighting the causes of terrorism in Tunisia through the Young Leaders Entrepreneurs – a nationwide campaign promoting the economic empowerment of at-risk young people. Her hackathons and mentorship schemes provide opportunities to opportunities to people suffering from unemployment, and the long era of rigid censorship and silencing.
● Hyppolite Ntigurirwa, Rwanda – Hyppo witnessed his father’s murder during the Rwandan genocide at just seven years old, but has chosen to forgive the killers and dedicate his life to advocating for peace. His Be The Peace initiative promotes inter-ethnic friendships, working educate and unite the post-conflict generations in Rwanda.
● Zar Li Aye, Myanmar – A human rights lawyer in Myanmar working to give people a fair trial in a system where 90 per cent of defendants are not allowed a lawyer. With a focus on improving the position of women and LGBTQI groups, Zar Li has lobbied her government to decriminalize homosexual activity and has hosted workshops that bring together lawyers from across Myanmar to improve attitudes to such issues.
Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, said: “The European Commission is delighted to partner with One Young World on the Peace Ambassador programme for two reasons – firstly, because more than 600 million young people are currently living in fragile and conflict-affected areas across the globe. And secondly, because young people themselves have a crucial role to play in preventing and countering violent extremism, peace-building efforts and conflict resolution.
“The ambition for the Peace Ambassadors is to encourage and empower young leaders to play an active role in building cohesive and peaceful societies – which the European Commission believes is key to achieving sustainable peace.”
Kate Robertson, founder of One Young World, said: “Young people have a pivotal role to play in sparking the new movements that lead to positive change, and in seeing them through. The Peace Ambassadors selected over the last two years are living proof that this is the case.
“They are all doing outstanding work to build a safer and more peaceful world in the face of some of the biggest challenges humanity has ever faced – from the spread of violent extremism to the catastrophic effects of climate change or rising socio-economic inequalities.
“We are delighted to be working with the European Commission on the Peace Ambassadors initiative, which champions the vision and energy of young leaders the world over.”